• Emma Hewlett

Think beyond your packaging: reduce your digital carbon footprint


Emma Hewlett

My latest guest blog post is by Emma Hewlett. In this blog Emma discusses our digital carbon footprint, and how we can reduce it.


It's a topic that really interests me, as often digital is portrayed as the 'green' option, but there's more to it than that.



Messages about the environmental impact of our household waste have taken hold the past couple of years. As a small business owner, you may think carefully about your packaging: the inks you use, how it’s sourced, whether it can be recycled or composted, etc. Considering supply chains and packaging are great moves forward in reducing our environmental impact.


But did you know that there are other ways to reduce our impact that go beyond packaging? Do you ever think about where your data goes every time you open an email, send a WhatsApp message, comment on someone’s Instagram post or have a discovery call over Zoom? The fact is that everything we do online has a digital footprint and is stored somewhere physical that requires energy to keep it there.


Our digital carbon footprint is huge! In this post I’ll share some easy-to-action suggestions for reducing your daily digital impact. If everyone does their bit and exercises some conscious thinking when entering the digital domain, collectively we can make some difference.


Digital declutter

Delete what you don't need Take 5 mins, on a regular basis that feels manageable to you, to delete stuff that you don’t need anymore: emails, junk emails, files, photos, WhatsApp messages, etc.


Unsubscribe

I’ve been doing this a lot lately to try to keep my spam folder and inbox a little less crazy. Your reading needs change and something that you once subscribed to, may not be relevant any more. Unsubscribe to reduce your digital footprint and help the sender with their marketing at the same time.


Reduce your data use

Turn your data off when you’re out and about

Using your Wi-Fi is more energy efficient that using 4G, so save your internet browsing and streaming for when you can log in to Wi-Fi.


Choose phone call over video call, or turn your video off

We’ve all become avid users of video call software such as Zoom, Google Meets and Teams. They definitely have their place and I’ve enjoyed using them the past year. However, having your video on uses a huge amount of data. In a call where you’re not interacting directly with the speaker, turn your video off and just listen.


Know your website

Find out the carbon footprint of your website

Use websites like digitalbeacon.co and websitecarbon.com to find out how much carbon your website creates and to read tips about how to reduce it.


Think about the images on your website

Are they all necessary? Could you save them as a smaller file type? There are some super cool websites that compress the data size of your images. You literally just drag the image onto the website and they give you a new file to upload – it looks exactly the same but carries a much smaller digital carbon footprint. Try tinypng.com.


Read how I reduced the carbon footprint of my website by 31% here.


Green web hosting

Find out whether your website host uses renewable energy. If they don’t it can be easy to make the shift to a green web host. Some of them even take your email account with you, all for a small transfer fee (less than £100). Green-hosting.co.uk is one example.


Your supply chain

If you source recyclable packaging for your products, the idea of a green or ethical supply chain won’t be new to you. However, this supply chain also extends to the companies you choose to invest with, outsource to or collaborate with.


There’s a lot of noise about green and ethical investments at the moment. If environmental values are important to you, choose your banking and insurance products to reflect this. There’s more choice out there now.


Working with likeminded business owners who focus on keeping their environmental impact low isn’t just great for your networking. Outsourcing your finances, proofreading services and social media strategies to business owners who use renewable energy, invest with green banks, have green web hosting, etc. means that your business supply chain has a lower environmental impact.


Next steps

There’s a lot you can do to reduce your digital carbon footprint that can be achieved quickly and easily. The trick is to bring consciousness and curiosity to your business and be open to the possibility of doing things differently.


If you would like to add an ethical proofreader to your list of suppliers, please book a call to see how I can help you: https://www.emmahewlettproofreading.co.uk/contact/. Alternatively, come and say hello on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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