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This is something that we hear a lot as a digital sustainability consultancy speaking to multiple organisations about including digital within their emissions reporting and as part of their Net Zero or other carbon reduction strategy. 

It’s become clear that it should be. 

Digital has become a part of our everyday lives and something that almost all businesses need to be able to work and thrive, but it’s also become a huge polluter.

An ever-increasing problem 

The internet and its surrounding industries are responsible for more emissions than the aviation industry and are now predicted to be responsible for 5.5% of the world’s emissions, as well as using more than 20% of the world’s electricity.  

To put that in another context, if the internet was a country, it’d be the 4th highest polluter in the world! When we founded Aline, just two and a half years ago, it would’ve been the 6th highest, which shows the extremely rapid growth in its usage and the emissions created. 

The biggest issue is that not enough people are talking about it and not enough pressure is applied, regardless of the benefits of being more digitally sustainable.

A real opportunity 

What gets me the most is that this is not just a missed opportunity to be greener, but a chance to actually do better with digital. Whether it’s adopting sustainable design principles for your website which widens the market thanks to increased performance and impacting SERP rankings, or delivering better marketing campaigns by trying to ensure that interaction is higher and less impressions are wasted. 

Increasing efficiency within our digital operations should be something we should all be doing - from something simple like not sending “thank you” emails with full image-based signatures, to the more complex issues such as incorporating best practices with digital products and services including your own website. 

While websites are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital sustainability, single web pages can be estimated with the click of a button. Give it a whirl and test a page from your website by visiting Beacon to see its current environmental impact. 

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