We're taking action on climate change

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We're taking action on climate change

As a humanity-led digital product agency, we recognise the impact our industry has on the environment, and our responsibility to take action. That’s why we’re launching The Green Report, a service that takes the digital skills we harness as a team, and uses them to do more.

The aim of The Green Report is not to demonise digital or to advise companies to build less, but to make digital processes better, smarter and more efficient. To not just raise awareness of the danger of digital pollution, but provide tangible, trackable recommendations to positively impact the environment, and in turn, your bottom line.

Crafted bespokely to each client’s requirements, the report is designed to take an inner look at companies and help educate, advise and work towards the ultimate goal of reducing their digital pollution.

To give you further insight into The Green Report and how it added meaningful value to a business on a global scale, we’ve showcased a case study on the process, procedures and results that provided long term environmental impact.

This example alone reported saving 79,000kg of carbon, and ~$1million. If that’s what we can achieve in four weeks, imagine what could be done next.

If you’ve got questions, or you’d like to know more, please reach out.

The brief

There’s no doubt that large companies make an impact on people and the world around them. But in changing times, many senior business leaders are keen to understand exactly what that impact means for the environment - both now and in the future.

Using the methodology behind The Green Report, we were tasked with exploring the current carbon footprint of a leading communications business and their contribution towards digital pollution, along with potential, tangible solutions. They also asked us to help them come up with ways of empowering staff and end-users to be more environmentally conscious in their behaviours, resources, choices, lifestyles and attitudes.

Why?

Climate change is the key issue facing humanity today. The clock is ticking on the decade of action and we now have less than 10 years to avoid irreversible damage to the planet through increased global temperatures.

Many companies have measures in place already to improve sustainability and empower staff to make green choices, but most do not address the full impact of digital pollution, nor are they aware of the solutions available.

To empower companies to understand their carbon footprint and find ways to reduce digital pollution, we’ve created The Green Report. Designed to educate and propose tangible solutions, it can help large businesses cut greenhouse gases, migrate their energy to renewable sources and increase sustainability on a large scale. We can help leaders understand the impact of their products, services, processes and behaviours on digital pollution and how to innovate in an agile way. Ultimately, The Green Report can help businesses effect real, long-term change.

These are ambitious targets and we know that change needs to take place on a large scale, at a human and technology level, both inside and outside the company.

That’s why as part of The Green Report, we work closely with business leaders to help individuals within the company understand:

  • why carbon footprints matter
  • what impact their behaviours have on the environment
  • how they can make positive choices to reduce their digital waste
  • and where to find the resources and tools they need to make a difference.

We reviewed internal tools, processes and systems and calculated their environmental impact. End-users would need to be educated, guided and empowered to take actions that could create change.

There was a lot to do.

ReportStat1 Green report statistics

What is digital pollution?

ExGreenStat Mike Berners-Lee quote

To put this into context… the internet emits roughly 1bn tonnes of CO2 per year. 2019 worldwide flights produced 915m tonnes of CO2. If the internet was a country, it would be the sixth largest polluter.

The Green Report - kick off

So, where to begin on a project of this scale? First, we needed to have some big conversations. We worked alongside key stakeholders to understand the technical landscape and find out where energy and resources are currently applied to run end-user applications.

The next step was data. We set up workshops and got access to as much relevant insight as we could. We looked into industry averages to provide a benchmark we could measure against. And we started to form a clear view of how and where changes could be made.

Then, we shared our findings with relevant stakeholders, with some clear and decisive actions that we were confident would make a difference.

Our findings

Through extensive research, focus groups, analysis and insight gathering, we learned a lot about the company’s existing practices, impact and culture. We calculated their carbon footprint and looked at their digital pollution contribution.

We found that from within the company culture right through to end users, there was much more that could be done to reduce their carbon footprint and increase sustainability. The Green Report needed to make an impact. So, we collated our findings and developed our own formula to cutting digital pollution – The Four Cs.

The four Cs

Culture - We outlined a few key actions that can be implemented to help increase environmental awareness within the company culture. We want to embed climate consciousness into the DNA of every employee. And that starts with change at the top. More visibility of policies around climate change and an update of design standards.

Cloud - Automation, optimisation and sustainable practices are key to Cloud based success. More consideration about procurement and budgeting is vital. It’s critical to review existing tools, systems and processes and find opportunities to make them ‘greener’.

Code - There’s a need to lighten the load on code. Best practice and a more sustainable approach to requirements gathering will reduce the digital footprint of their code. We’re going to help optimise page performance, weight, speed and overall efficiency too. Emissions on mobile are higher than fixed line, so this is an area of focus.

Customer - More customers should be encouraged to go online and when they do, the company needs to ensure its technology is sustainable. When measuring online performance, it’s important that any business considers sustainability within their KPIs. For example, whilst dwell time may be a useful commercial KPI, it’s not great for emissions! Changing the KPI structure can reduce digital pollution. There’s also an opportunity to calculate emissions based on customer device usage.

Next steps

As with every Green Report, next steps will be designed around your needs, and your report outcomes. In this case, our first step is in helping senior leaders to reduce their own footprint. Then we’ll:

1. Set up a sustainability steering board

We’ll start with recommendations for quick wins. Then, we’ll spend more time looking into the Four Cs and put together an implementation plan to turn the recommendations into actions. We’ll explore ongoing initiatives and get closer to roadmap planning.

2. Establish the carbon footprint and profile of each business area

We’ll dig deeper into our estimates and put some real numbers against them.

3. Employee carbon footprint app

Reporting, ongoing engagement and regular communications will be critical to success, and this is something we can build at Digital Detox – sustainably.

4. Partner on community engagement and environmental causes

Start making a difference locally, before scaling up globally.

5. Join other relevant communities

This will be useful for idea generation, sense checking, sharing, insight and inspiration.

Final thoughts

We’re delighted to continue working with large businesses on this hugely important and high impact initiative. For us, focusing on climate change is not a box ticking exercise – businesses have a vital responsibility to take action on their own carbon footprint, and, they can use their voice and influence to encourage customers, staff and other businesses to do the same. The Green Report is a partnership between companies who genuinely want to make a difference, and a passionate digital agency with the right skills and experience to help them do it.

We can’t change everything. But we can all change something.

ReportStat2 Green report statistic