The Path to Sustainability: Cutting Your Business’s Digital Carbon Emissions

Can your brand be successful and save the world at the same time?


Our blue marble is in a precarious place, and people are more aware of it now than ever before. Your brand can (and should) be a reflection of that concern and desire for action. 


But how?


Well, if you’re an online only company, you’ve already got a leg up over the brick and mortar competition. However, there are always ways to help your planet and push for something better. 


Let’s start with some definitions: Your digital carbon footprint.


The internet requires vast amounts of energy, despite its everywhere/nowhere qualities, specifically from creating infrastructure (both hardware and digital), powering and cooling massive local servers, and storing your data. Despite its name, “The Cloud” is not invisible, nor is it lighter than air. In fact, it could account for 15-20% of electricity demand in some countries by 2030.


And, while you may think that working, and doing business, on your computer has nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions, the fact remains: you get your energy from somewhere. And that demand for energy to drive faster computing, cloud sharing and endlessly streamed videos is ever-increasing globally. And, as your company grows, so does your digital carbon footprint.  


But there are ways to mitigate it, and even benefit financially from cutting back in smart, environmentally conscious places. 


Here’s a few….

  • Reduce Data Storage

If you haven’t needed it in more than a year, chances are you will never need it again. So delete those old files! There is little room for sentimentality on today’s internet, and your company should always be looking toward the future. 

  • Green Storage

If your company is responsible for a large amount of data storage, it would benefit you, and your world, to look into green data storage centers. Green data storage is designed to minimize carbon footprints, while not diminishing computing power. They accomplish this by reducing space requirements and decreasing water use, among many other ways. 

  • Closing Tabs

On a personal level, minimizing the amount of background work your computer does is a great way to use less while doing your job. Any open tabs that require constant animation or streaming amount to an unnecessary use of energy. Similarly, if you’re not using your computer for a long period of time, consider switching it off.

  • If It Ain’t Broke….

We all have a strong desire for the newest and best computing hardware and software, but an upgrade may not always be absolutely necessary. Maintaining your IT equipment for as long as possible, and having it repaired when needed, rather than replacing it, does more good than you’d immediately think. Well treated IT equipment can last 3 years or more. 


While the above short list sounds good in theory, you’re likely to have one logical, important followup question: 


How does this benefit my business?

  • Cost Saving

While you may not see evidence of this immediately, curbing your digital carbon footprint will result in lower energy and operational costs. Trimming the fat in areas where you can will reflect positively on your monthly operating costs and allow you to spend the extra funds in areas that help your business grow. 

  • Regulation

Whether you approve or not (we hope you do,) many countries and regions are adopting stricter regulations regarding climate action and adherence to emissions standards. If your business gets out ahead of this, you won’t have to worry about fines and penalties.

  • Morale

Your employees are more likely to support you, and feel proud to work with you, if they know you are willing to put the interests of your planet ahead of your company. By taking steps to reduce your digital carbon footprint, you will also be impressing the importance of your actions upon your employees, and inspiring their continued respect and allegiance. 

  • Going Global

Companies that demonstrate continued commitment to sustainability and reducing their digital carbon footprint will potentially be seen as more prepared for success on a global scale, especially in regions with more stringent regulations. 


Reducing your company’s digital carbon footprint is incredibly important, not just for your planet but for your future. As you reduce your footprint, you are not only taking responsibility for the effects you’re having on your planet, but for the future generations that will be here after we’ve had our fun in the sun. 


They deserve a better world, and your business can and should do its part to give it to them. 


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