But the internet is actually responsible for 4% of global emissions. Because, the internet consumes A LOT of energy. And of course if you advertise via print or other physical tools that also impacts global emissions. But today we are changing that. There are three main things you can do:
1. Choosing Product. This won't come as a surprise. The first and most obvious thing you can do is work with businesses or products that are already sustainable. Not necessarily to the degree that they promote sustainability. It doesn’t need to be branded as sustainable to be so. It just needs to be a better option than the ones already out there. To get good guidelines on what might be considered as sustainable I highly suggest following the SDGs. Ask yourself… "Will promoting this have a positive or negative impact on the planet?”. Of course this applies to both your own business if you’re developing a new product or if you’re an advertiser choosing what customers to work with. It is worth noting here that the market is demanding sustainability and the businesses who are not will most likely be hit by hard regulations soon enough. Meaning they won't be stable clients anyways.
2. Data Usage. To reduce our carbon footprint when it comes to advertising we need to consume less energy. You see, when we publish things on the internet it is being stored in a database somewhere in the world. And the bigger files you publish the more space on the database is needed. Therefore, more energy is being consumed to power the database. So what can we do about this? We create ads that consume less data. Let me give you an example…
We have two images both 300x300 pixels in size, yet one image creates a larger file than the other. This has to do with the complexity of the image. So simplicity is key. Which is a major part in customer acquisition performance as well. Keep it stupid simple. Your potential buyers care about getting the value they desire, and getting it as fast and efficiently as possible. I’m not saying you should do black and white ads or just a plain black text on a white background… Although that would be kinda cool. I’m simply telling you to consider the following four factors when adding media;
- Image Type
- Pixel Resolution
- Graphic Dimension
- Color Depth
These factors will have the biggest impact determining your digital carbon footprint. Aim to make them as low as possible. But simplicity isn’t the only thing you’ll win from this you’ll also make your ads load faster which means more exposure. These same principles apply to all marketing activities, especially your website. Bonus tip: to measure your websites carbon footprint you can use this tool: https://www.websitecarbon.com/
3. Energy Source. The source of energy used to store our data also has a great impact on our carbon footprint. Here is a list of the most common energy sources and their impact on the environment;
As you can see above, the energy produced by coal for example has a far larger carbon footprint than for example nuclear energy.
But what are you supposed to do with this information, you can’t just choose what energy sources everyone uses. That is true. However you can choose what providers to work with. By simply spending 30 seconds to have a look at a businesses ”transparency report”, ”sustainability policy”, ”CSR statement” or whatever other relevant document you might find you should easily find what source of energy they are using. If they are not transparent or aware of their environmental impact then you should consider if you even want to work with them at all. But let’s say they’re a small business and they haven’t had the time or knowledge to write such documents… Then you could either search for their energy provider or partners. For example, we use Webflow for our website and with a quick search you can find out that Webflow uses the AWS Cloud. And with a quick additional search you will find that the AWS Cloud is using over 65% renewable energy. It may seem like an extra step, I get that. Trust me, I value my time extremely highly as well. But taking the time to do this doesn’t just create hope for a better future for you children. It doesn’t just make you feel a little bit better about yourself. This is also something that makes employees excited. This is something that gives purpose and purpose drives action!