Topic Environment

Digital sustainability

The environmental cost of our digital world is not often considered when trying to reduce our impact, but there are many ways we can make websites and other digital technologies more sustainable.

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Making the ethical choice

Well run digital projects are kicked-off with some form of discovery around users and their needs and, subsequently, design decisions are made to satisfy these users.

Digital sustainability is part of a more ethically conscious way of delivering digital products. Thinking about users, but also the impact of these decisions on wider society, wildlife and the planet.

In practice

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Digital sustainability is good practice

There are many aspects of digital sustainability that should come as standard when working with an experienced and competent web team. Optimising imagery, utilising caching and delivering a lightweight codebase will all lead to a reduction in energy consumption each time a page is loaded.

The desire to deliver immersive, animated online experiences is understandable, but often this requires the use of heavy Javascript libraries, autoplaying videos and a large number of media and font files. All of which increase energy consumption.

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A balancing act

It will always be possible to do more to reduce impact, but consideration needs to be given to the purpose of of website. It would rarely be appropriate to remove all imagery and styling from a website, regardless of how much it would improve the carbon footprint.

Instead making conscious decisions on colours, typography and content while knowing the potential impact forces us at least consider counteracting this with real-world activity such as supporting conservation projects or advocating for improved infrastructure.


Measuring a websites carbon footprint

While it’s only one consideration, it is possible to calculate the carbon emissions of a single we page view.

While this doesn’t take into account the energy usage on a user’s device or any other environmental impacts, it does give a clear indication of whether a website is sustainable or could be improved.

→ Check out your website’s carbon footprint at

Audit your existing website

Without the budget to rebuild a website and it’s architecture from the ground up, it may seem impossible to reduce the environmental impact, but any improvement is better than none.

The first step is to carry out an audit to understand the existing setup and make recommendations for ‘easy wins’ that will make a difference.

→ To book a sustainability audit of your website, email [email protected]