Posted on September 18, 2008
Thanks to Al Gore's 'The Inconvenient Truth' the latest buzzword on everyone's lips is carbon footprint. That may be well and good but I can hear you asking 'how does this relate to my business and my bottom line'? Well you'd be surprised to know that you have a lot to gain from finding out.
There are many ways to minimise your organisations' carbon footprint but one of the most practical ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by starting with your website. Given that your online ‘shopfront' is the public face of your company in the virtual world, it offers you the chance to not only market your business globally but it is also a great opportunity to exercise your commitment to sustainability.
Your Website And Carbon Footprint?
"Computer servers are at least as great a threat to the climate as SUVs or the global aviation industry" - New Scientist Magazine, December 2007
It's no secret that web servers require specialised operating conditions and a constant supply of electricity, the majority of which is generated through burning fossil fuels - the primary cause of climate change.
Every website on the internet is hosted on a web server which typically remains switched on 24 hours a day for the entire year. These machines process large amounts of data and as such consume vast amounts of energy to function.
According to Security Space , in Australia alone there are around 173, 422 web servers. Each web server consumes around 100 Watts of energy and is responsible for almost a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions every year. It translates to the equivalent of as much carbon dioxide as 35, 000 cars!
Five Good Reasins To Make Your Website Green
In case the financial incentive of a more energy efficient IT policy isn't enough to persuade you to green your website, here are five more good reasons:
1. Reduce greenhouse gases and slow global warming.
2. The internet is the single greatest communications tool ever invented – so let's make it as green as possible.
3. Being green is better for business - increasingly consumers demand green credentials from the companies they buy from.
4. By helping spread green awareness you can positively influence others to do the same.
5. Several countries are introducing legislation that will make businesses accountable for lowering their carbon emissions - offsetting your website is an excellent, visible first step.
The most obvious way of greening your website is by offsetting the carbon emissions to create less impact on the environment. Becoming ‘carbon neutral' as the term is now phrased, is one of the main ways this can be done. But what does carbon neutral actually mean? According to Ark Climate,
"carbon neutral means you have reached your CO2 output by as much as possible and then paid an offset provider to take responsibility for your remaining unavoidable emissions. The offset provider uses your money to fund a program which either sequesters (absorbs) an amount of CO2 from the atmosphere equal to your remaining emissions or introduces energy efficiency measures elsewhere which reduce the amount of CO2 that would otherwise have been sent into the atmosphere. The cost of such measures would be covered by you on a $ / tonne of CO2 basis."
Fortunately there are a number of web design companies in Australia that specialise in carbon neutral websites, one of which is Online Now who have developed a 100% Australian technology called BluBeez, for people to create their own cost effective, carbon neutral business websites.
Go Green And Attract More Customers
Websites are an important business investment and a powerful marketing tool in today's world. If your website is as green as your business then you can't help but attract more customers through your sustainable choices in advertising, web hosting, and web designers.
Having a carbon neutral website sends a positive message to the rising number of conscious consumers that your company cares about the environment. These consumers, also known as LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability) consumers make purchasing choices that reflect their desire for healthier and more sustainable lives.
According to the New York Times, LOHAS is ‘the biggest market you have never heard of' and international research indicates that there are hundreds of millions of LOHAS consumers across the world. In Australia it's estimated that there are 4 million adults (26% of the Australian population) that are LOHAS aligned and they aren't confined to a particular demographic – they are literally everywhere. So the chances are high that these consumers will at some point come into contact with your brand and your website.
By undertaking to make your website carbon neutral you are not only directly and effectively helping to reduce greenhouse gas levels but you are also giving your business an advantage in attracting these conscious consumers who want to spend money with companies that are seen to be doing their bit for the planet.
In this brave new low carbon world can you afford to ignore the rising swell?
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