What’s this all about?
We’re the BIMA Sustainability Council. This website is a list of articles,
tools and resources which help you reduce the environmental impact of
your digital estate.
Why do we care about the environmental impact of the digital industry? Because it’s significant; the global emissions from the digital industry are on a par with those from the aviation industry at about 2% of global emissions. But unlike aviation industry emissions which have slowed for obvious reasons, emissions from the digital industry are increasing year on year and are simply not in the public consciousness in the same way.
However, we also care about the environmental impact of the digital industry because it’s what we have most agency over.
We can influence the impact of the digital industry more than anything else. We’ve all made personal choices around our diets, how our house is powered and where we keep our money; but our biggest influence is in the industry in which we work for 40+ hours a week.
To illustrate the point of influence, a developer called Danny van Kooten recently rewrote a piece of code he built to connect WordPress and Mailchimp; he shaved off a tiny amount of weight from his code but because of how much the code is used by other websites he has cut enough emissions per month by more than the equivalent of stopping 23 flights from London to Sydney.
Since mid 2015 average page weight across the internet as a whole has increased on desktop by 54% and on mobile by 127%
If you think about how far technology has come since 2015; the iPhone 6s was released in September of that year. Instead of matching the innovations in processor power with innovations in code minimisation, compression and user experience, websites track us more, scrape more data from us, show us more ads, distract us with more videos.
Whilst there is a whole load more that the data centre providers should be doing to empower their customers to make more environmental based decisions, the focus of the list on this site is really on the organisations who have and/or build websites.
We, as people who use websites, have very few options when it comes to making decisions about what sites to use based on the environmental impact. We don’t have the same access to visual cues or data that we have with physical products.
With websites we don’t have that option. Therefore, we rely on the owners of the websites to be doing things the right way. We also rely on agencies who build websites to be advising their clients on how best to minimise their impact.
We hope this list of resources is wide ranging enough to have something for everyone from people who have just heard of this to experts, from developers to designers, from editors to marketers.
The great thing about a low emitting website is it’s a win win for everyone. If an organisation is looking across the full range of ways to reduce the environmental impact of their website, then the site will be faster to load, easier to use because it’ll allow you to do what you came on to do without distracting you and it will cost less for the organisation to host and maintain it.
Ultimately, we want to create the equivalent of the accessibility standards for sustainability.