18 septembre 2023

8 best practices to reduce digital pollution in business

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If the internet were a country, it would be the 3rd biggest polluter in the world, or 2 to 3 times the environmental footprint of France (and we are not the most exemplary on this subject). This is therefore an important aspect to take into account when you want to reduce your daily carbon footprint and adopt a more ecological lifestyle in order to protect our beautiful blue planet.

But then what link with the protection of the Ocean?

Digital technology is a big consumer of energy. In 2019 it was already:

But the figure that interests us most is its global greenhouse gas emissions, which amount to 3.8%, more than civil air transport! ✈

Because greenhouse gas emissions mean climate change. And the latter directly impacts the Ocean in many areas such as:

And the consequences are multiple (rising water levels, impacted marine fauna and flora, weakened coastlines, etc.).

At Act! we do everything we can to ensure that companies have as little impact as possible on the environment and help us protect our Ocean. This is why we are going to give you 8 tips to reduce your digital impact in the office.

→ If you want to discover the link between the Ocean and the climate in more depth, you can book our “Ocean and climate change” masterclass or the climate fresk. These two activities are possible in person or remotely.


8 good practices to reduce digital pollution at work

We will start with what is simplest to implement, and end with the most restrictive actions.

  1. Close your tabs. Your pages are constantly updating automatically and therefore continually consume energy. ☛ Using the favorites bar allows you to use 4 times less energy.
  2. Turn everything off when leaving. Your digital tools (computer, screen, etc.) but also your box. ☛ The annual consumption of a box is equivalent to that of a refrigerator.
  3. Sort your emails. By storing only the emails you need, you will reduce the burden on data centers. Emails that remain in our inboxes pollute. ☛ The subject of emails deserves an article in itself as it can be a source of pollution (I'm preparing that for next time).
  4. Adapt the resolution of your videos to your screen. On a mobile phone a resolution of 240p may be sufficient and 720p on a laptop. ☛ In 2018, watching online videos generated more than 300 megatons of CO2 (a country like Spain).
  5. Store your files locally, rather than on a Cloud. ☛ Transporting data over the internet consumes twice as much energy as storing it for 1 year.
  6. Eco-design your website. This involves designing sites that consume less energy and are more respectful of the environment. ☛ This is what we chose to do at Act!
  7. Choose a web host that uses green electricity (and local is even better). ☛ 25% of greenhouse gas emissions generated by digital technology come from data centers.
  8. Avoid buying new and keep your digital tools as long as possible, although it can be complicated to intervene in this type of decision in large companies. ☛ It is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions generated by digital technology, i.e. 47%.


Do your best, without feeling guilty

At Act! we are convinced that every little gesture counts, but we are also aware of the implication that this can generate. Because even if you take all possible steps to reduce your digital pollution, the greatest responsibility lies with the digital companies themselves.

Using the Impactco2 tool we can see the orders of magnitude of our digital uses. In order to construct this distribution, it was necessary to take a reference to calculate the carbon impact of a person's uses. That’s 70 emails per week, 25 hours of streaming and 10 hours of videoconferencing.

Comparaison Pollution NumériqueComparison created by Sébastien RÉPÉTO, you can read his full article here.

We can therefore see that it is the construction of digital devices that generates the most digital pollution. So take your time to implement as many actions as possible according to your constraints and those of your company, the important thing is to do your best.


For further

Check out Archives’ stunning infographic here.

Our sources are Greenpeace, WWF, HelloCarbo and ADEME.

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