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Cut your digital carbon footprint

Woman outside holding her phone and looking up in the sky
Woman outside holding her phone and looking up in the sky
February 29, 2024
Three-step approach to digital ESG

Every email, every video call, every document saved to the company servers — it all has an environmental impact. That’s why organizations need to expand their green thinking beyond how much paper they use.

Reducing your digital carbon footprint isn’t overly complicated. Start by focusing on three areas: infrastructure, data and design.

1. Infrastructure and green data storage

The number one offenders are data centers and servers.

  • Switch from a private data center to the cloud.
  • Look for a cloud data center that invests in renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, and purchase energy credits to reach carbon neutral.
  • Reduce your power consumption by replacing legacy devices with modern, energy-efficient ones.

2. Sustainable data management

Examine your data strategy to make it lean and less energy intensive. Experts say that between 30% and 50% of the data companies store is either duplicated, trivial or obsolete.

  • Implement data deletion policies, such as removing old emails after two years.
  • Calculate your data storage costs, including the energy that goes into protecting that data from hackers.
  • Consider automating data management to:
    • Improve content visibility (e.g., ensure content is tagged and stored correctly).
    • Deduplicate data.
    • Automatically apply data retention rules.
  • 3

    of greenhouse gas emissions come from digital activities

  • 7

    is how much digital energy consumption increases each year

3. Sustainable software design

Companies can also reduce their digital carbon footprint when designing software by reducing data center space and energy usage.

  • Factor in strategies such as implementing efficient cache policies, detecting and fixing unintended loops, limiting computational accuracy to realistic user needs and focusing optimization efforts on features with the highest power consumption and usage.
  • Development teams can make choices to prioritize ecofriendly frameworks and languages when building systems. For example, PHP uses seven times more energy than JavaScript, while C and C++ are considered the most energy efficient.
  • Designers can also make ecofriendly design choices by using standard system fonts, image compression, text-based communication, darker backgrounds and more.
  • Sarah Williams
    Sarah Williams
    Senior manager
    Sarah is always focused on the future. The future of our planet and the future of our clients. As a key member of our ESG team and a CPA, Sarah leverages her passions into creating long-term, quantifiable sustainability strategies for clients.
    Contact me


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Want to get started?

We can help craft a digital strategy that lowers your carbon footprint while helping drive growth. Reach out, and one of our strategists will get back to you.