The web is a vastly complicated system that powers the ability to read an email, browse a website, or watch the latest hit series on Netflix. It’s always on and can be accessed on TV, computers, and mobile phones involving Wi-Fi routers, local telecoms, national repeater stations, and global data centres. Energy is consumed at every stage by the devices accessing the web and the infrastructure that makes it possible.
An excellent article was published in 2018 on Nature.com explaining that if the internet were a country, it would be the sixth most polluting country with annual emissions similar to Germany.
I won’t repeat what has already been said by Greta and her environmental army. Still, I think we can all agree that we need to take action now, and without delay, to transition to a cleaner, sustainable way of living.
As designers and developers of the modern web, Accent has a responsibility to help create an efficient, socially responsible web powered by renewable, sustainable energy.
At the risk of scaring everyone reading this article, we’re at a critical environmental crossroads to choose the future we want.
Is a Zero Carbon sustainable future for the web possible?
Call me a dreamer, but I believe we can build a sustainable web accessible to all, 24/7, which is faster and potentially more enjoyable.
Accent in recent years has decided to focus on digital, so creating a sustainable internet needs to be part of our job description. People shouldn’t have to use a Diet Coke version of the internet that uses half the current full-fat online experience resources. Instead, it’s our responsibility to create online solutions that make the future we all need.
The stakes are high, and it will take time. An all-or-nothing attitude, nothing less than perfection, is unrealistic as I can guarantee nothing is perfect. However, we owe it to the world to see how close we can get. The challenge is understanding and accepting our roles in creating a sustainable web, whatever our job or industry.
Small changes worldwide have a significant impact. One practical example of a positive change is in the advancement of image compression technology that delivers image quality at a fraction of the size reducing the carbon footprint of the webserver and the web browser.
Rest assured Accent is looking into these types of sustainable optimisations and will be happy to discuss these with clients in the near future.