If the internet was a country, it would be the 6th largest emitter of green house gases. Source
We are all worried about the environment. We all care about it. If you are an online content creator you might ask if it is even possible to be sustainable on the web. You might think it is nonsense. But you can actually achieve a sustainable website.
Good Practices for your sustainable website.
Let’s start with sustainable practices. We all know websites run on servers, which in fact run on electrical energy. The more CPU, memory and network intensive your website is, the more energy it will consume. Long-story short, make your website less resource intensive. This does not only reduces the amount of energy your website consumes, but also improves your SEO and website performance. This will allow you to have more visits and reduce the cost.
Chose a provider that will ensure the sources of energy are clean.
The most impactful decision will be which service provider you chose and where it is located. Many countries do not have policies for green house gases. Sadly, the us went out of the Paris agreement for climate change. The US is the second producer of green house gases after china. Take this into consideration when choosing a data center provider. If you chose Canada over the US, you will know for sure that about +90% of the energy comes from renewables in certain regions like Quebec. If you chose Germany over China, you will know about 40% of the energy comes from renewables.
This is an example of energy sources in Canada. Where 60%+ comes from renewables.
Now, if your service provider lets you know which percentage of renewable energy they use and sources of it, go for it. Many providers are very transparent in this area. There are even some web hosting companies claiming to source 100% of their energy from clean sources.
What is sustainability?
Sustainability is not only limited to the environmental impact your website produces.
Sustainability encourages businesses to frame decisions in terms of environmental, social, and human impact for the long-term, rather than on short-term gains such as next quarter’s earnings report. It influences them to consider more factors than simply the immediate profit or loss involved.https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sustainability.asp
What influences your sustainability?
- How much you pay your staff. Are they winning a fair wage? Can they afford to live?
- Are you using copy-right material that belongs to other artists or content creators? Make sure you cite them or pay for them. Content creators earn a living wage through, well, the creation of content. So make sure you are paying for their services. They work hard for it.
- Use a sustainable service provider. Make sure the providers with which you interact with give living wages and care about the environment. See our commitments here
- Educate people. The most powerful tool into making this world a better place is education. If someone does not acknowledge they are probably doing something wrong, they will not know how to change it.
- Respect your consumers and your customers. Be aware of their rights. Care for them.
- Do not publish content that might jeopardize your customers integrity.
- Do not bombard people with advertisements.
- Care about people’s privacy and respect it.
- Be sure to keep the information safe. As I said, care about your customers privacy and well-being.
All in all, having a sustainable website is something you can accomplish. It is just common sense and it is not hard. Just respect content creators, your customers and the society where you live in. Earning quick cash by using copy-right material or not paying your employees a fair wage might seem the quickest and easiest way to go. But it is not. Your employees will not be satisfied and will not work as good. Many people will not visit your website often if it has high load times, bad service or you do not respect customer rights. Do what is morally right. Follow good practices.