How companies can reduce their digital carbon footprint

How companies can reduce their digital carbon footprint

In the office and at home, we are all equipped with computers, tablets and smartphones. But we underestimate the environmental impact of their production and use. Did you know that a single Internet search consumes approximately 0.3 Wh of energy and contributes to the release of 0.2 g of CO2 into the environment? In other words, a single Google request = 35 min of lighting. And again: building a computer requires no less than 240 kg of fossil fuels, 22 kg of chemicals, and 1.5 tonnes of water. Now is the time to act for carbon neutrality!

Digital sobriety: a business imperative

The above-mentioned figures demonstrate the urgent need of a collective dynamic towards a sustainable digital future and a responsible energy. Unfortunately, many businesses have no idea how many resources are needed to maintain their IT assets and servers. In addition, they are not fully aware of the multiple opportunities to reduce their digital footprint to be more sustainable in their activities. In order to play our part in preserving our planet and ensuring the sustainability of the IT industry in the future, it is time for businesses around the world, large and small, to go green and reduce their digital footprint.

Why companies should achieve carbon neutrality

The goal of becoming carbon neutral enhances a commitment to a sustainable future and an understanding of the urgency of climate change. According to a 2014 report, companies that set climate action as a priority have 18% higher ROE than other companies that do not adopt strong climate action policies, and 67% higher than companies that refused to share their environmental policies.

Companies are developing innovative models to empower themselves. Microsoft has also achieved its carbon neutrality goals by charging its internal business divisions a carbon fee for their emissions. These fees are used to buy carbon credits around the world. Microsoft has invested in forest carbon projects, notably in Washington State and Indonesia.

It’s a win-win situation: companies help ensure a sustainable world while attracting new segments of “eco-conscious” customers through a relationship of trust.

How your business can reduce its digital carbon footprint starting from today

The process towards carbon neutrality can involve a multitude of initiatives, ranging from the switch from paper to digital and the bookmarking to favorites of regularly used websites to avoid repeated internet searches, to the use of wind power and reuse of groundwater to cool servers. But there is more you can do to reduce your business’ digital footprint.

Here are some examples of how you can play your part: 

  1. Digital equipment should last longer, much longer (> 4 years). Did you know that a smartphone can be used for 5 years and a laptop for more than 10 years?
  2. Choose refurbished devices and products, for example on marketplaces like Back Market
  3. Encourage employees to delete software and unnecessary files still present in  their computers (which, in addition, slow down the IT assets!)
  4. Reduce consumables and recycle waste: reducing consumables, for example, means reducing printouts for paper and ink. Print only what is useful (and possibly in black & white and double-sided)
  5. Make donations to a re-employment actor and also participate in the promotion of digital inclusion
  6. Limit the number of recipients of your emails: according to ADEME, sending an email to 10 recipients multiplies the impact on climate change by Avoid the “reply to all” function when it is not strictly necessary.
  7. Optimize your own website: You can start decluttering and streamlining your website’s digital assets by removing all unnecessary plugins and bulky integrations to reduce load speed and bandwidth usage.
  8. Prefer shared files: instead of sending emails every time you make a small change with a member of your team, leave your comments on a shared document in the cloud. In this way, you can save sending dozens of emails.
  9. Choose an ecological web host: in fact, the servers stored in data centers are energy intensive, they run at full speed and must be constantly powered. Ecological web hosts offer plans as varied (shared servers, VPS, Cloud, dedicated, etc.) and qualitative as standard hosts.
  10. Last but – of course – not least: choose the electricity that has the least impact on the use phase. How to do it ? First, you have to choose a green energy supplier, and promote responsible electricity solutions to your employees and colleagues. elow’s “Marketplace” feature has been developed to help you navigate the jungle of green offers on the market.

elow to optimise your business energy efficiency

Also, unplug anything that can be. Indeed, any connected device continues to consume, in particular your internet box (would you leave the light on when leaving your apartment?). Did you know that the electricity that powers all our IT equipment comes from different production sources that emit more or less CO2? There are indeed high-emitting sectors (gas, coal, fuel oil, etc.) and low-carbon sectors (nuclear, hydraulic, wind, solar and bioenergy).

With elow and its ultra simple and intuitive network indicator, you know in real time whether the electricity supplying your company’s IT equipment is low, medium or very carbon-intense. As a result, you and your employees could choose the right time to unplug your computers and reduce the carbon footprint of your digital activity. If the moment is optimal, elow recommends you to connect your device to the power supply, if the moment is not great, to use your device battery as much as possible. Finally, elow calculates in real time your behavior impact and the associated avoided CO2 emissions. Try for yourself!

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