sustainable BUSINESS spotlight
Showing how seriously you take your sustainable values can be reflected in your business practices and it can start with your website.
Communications data storage alone will soon have a bigger CO2 footprint than the entire aviation industry, even with the promised use of renewables.
According to The Ecologist, the number of data storage centres worldwide has grown from 500,000 in 2012 to over 8 million in 2020, and would have to increase continually to accommodate 5G and the internet of things. The commitment of some of the big IT companies to renewables, while welcome, seems unlikely to compensate for huge infrastructure and data increases worldwide.
WHAT CAN WE DO AS PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES
How many email addresses have you had over the years? How many of them still exist but operate as junk or simply unused email addresses? The providers that host them still have to store all that information that's no longer read, reviewed or deleted. Storage centres are therefor deeply clogged with unnecessary data using precious energy resources to hold your emails and information while needing constant cooling and monitoring during the process.
The first thing we can do is delete all unused email addresses, social media pages and irrelevant webpages. Instead of updating an apple plan to accommodate the endless photos on a smart phone, go through and edit what's no longer needed - in the words of Mary Kondo, remove anything that doesn't spark joy! Special photos can be printed using services like Snapfish, or use an external hard drive to store important files and photos.
WHAT IS A LOW IMPACT WEBSITE?
I first became aware of low impact websites when I came across an organic underwear company called Organic Basics. These guys really impressed me by taking their responsibility seriously and allowing it to touch each and every aspect of their business. Instead of product imagery, they used simple, low weight illustrations and icons with the option to view products as low res photography ahead of making your purchase.
I was just as inspired when I read an article by fellow creative Andy Davies from Creatives for Climate when he educated the community on how to reduce a website's carbon footprint. As a creative, our websites are often among some of the largest because our living is made from showcasing our previous work. Rarely will you get a job from a new client unless they have reviewed your portfolio first, so the conundrum is how to reduce the impact of a site when imagery is essential to the work you do.
Andy was so helpful in advising the best ways to shrink the carbon footprint of the Roccoco site. Although it's still very much a work in progress, the first step was to reduce the size of all imagery and animation. Ensuring that the site provider was powered by renewable energy was also important as well as being conscious how much work to showcase.
WORKING SUSTAINABILITY INTO other areas of YOUR BUSINESS
The idea of applying sustainable practices to each and every part of a brand really speaks to me as a conscious creative. Having recently worked on a full rebrand for At Home Estate & Lettings, I was delighted to be invited to help develop their three pillars of responsibility as well as redesigning their website and the interior design and branding of their two offices.
When approaching the interior I ensured that every contractor knew we were going for low impact from start to finish, meaning old carpets were recycled with natural, sustainable and compostable options as replacements, recyclable and/or upcycled seating was used as well as concertina office partitions made from recycled paper. The end of life of each and every product used was considered so that minimum impact was made when the business moved into their new premises.
No matter the industry, there are always ways to reduce our impact and even if sustainability is not a primary value of your brand, it should be a primary value of our humanity - dissonance is no longer an option when we are so well informed by those that care enough to share their expertise and I hope that others are inspired as I was by people like Andy to deep clean their digital footprints even if just to feel the lightness of removing too much information.