Sustainability

Sustainability & my carbon footprint

Sustainability and sustainable business mean different things to different people…

Doing business sustainably, but also having a business that is sustainable and viable.

One definition of sustainability is “doing business without negatively impacting the environment, community, or society as a whole.”

[I go into more detail about the definition of and differences between Ethical Marketing and Sustainable or Green Marketing in this Q&A with Hey Me]

Another definition of sustainability is “the ability to maintain or support a process continuously over time.”

As an Ethical Freelancer I use ethical best practice, but I’m also making my business more sustainable and working with others to make their business more sustainable too.

Sustainability, my commitment to it & my business

Basically, this covers:

  • My carbon footprint, including my website’s carbon emissions, & its reduction / offsetting
  • The platforms I use & work with / work on
  • How my business impacts others & the planet (otherwise known as ‘The 3Ps’: people, planet & profits, or “triple bottom line”)
  • The affect it has on my own – as well as my colleagues’ & clients’ – health & well-being too

My website’s carbon footprint & emissions

I’ve taken positive steps and made my website more sustainable and faster to load. I’ve removed large photos and images, and for logos I’ve reduced the file size.

Because of this, the carbon results for gilesmetcalfedigital.co.uk are positive.

I updated my website recently, so the figures have changed a bit as a result, but are still decent.

First visit (i.e. not cached):

CO2 – 0.062g SIZE – 201.09 KB

Return visit:

CO2 – 0.018g SIZE – 56.56 KB

“Overall this web page has been graded A+ when it comes to its carbon footprint”

“This website is hosted using renewable energy or carbon offsets*”

*My website is hosted with a provider who provide green web hosting by default.

Given 1500 monthly visits to my website, and a 40-60 split between new and returning visitors, its carbon footprint is 53.23g per month. This is equivalent to:

  • Driving 0.09 miles in a Tesla Model S
  • Watching 1 hour of Netflix in HD

1 tree is needed to offset this CO2 in a year (trees have been planted off the back of my involvement in various carbon reduction events and initiatives and I subscribe to Tree Wilder, and I plant elephant grass through my subscription to Carbon Trap).

I ran this website through yet another website carbon audit, and the results were even better (i.e. lower):

Full Website Emissions Audit:

Homepage – 0.05 grams of CO2 per page view

About page – 0.05 grams of CO2 per page view

Sustainability page – 0.04 grams of CO2 per page view

The other pages on my website rated 0.04 grams of CO2 per page view, too.

“All pages audited are within the minimum recommended limit of 1 gram of carbon per page view. The website is green hosted.”

“Overall status – Low-Carbon”

“Status Code Legend”

This website is hosted Green - checked by thegreenwebfoundation.org

Improve sustainability & your eco credentials at your business too

If you want to take action to improve sustainability and your eco credentials at your business too, you can’t ignore your website.

Reduce the carbon emissions from a website by reducing the amount of electricity used to load, send, and view a web page. Then, ensure that the resulting electricity required to do it is from clean, renewable resources.

The carbon footprint of a website has been “a thing” since around 2018, yet it’s still not that well-known.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to make your website leaner and greener.

Now that I’ve taken those steps myself, I’m offering this as a service to clients too. So, I’m keen to speak to anyone who wants to optimise their website, reduce its carbon footprint and make it greener.

A guided Website Sustainability Audit Session is only £99, and you’ll see how your website rates via different tools, run a full audit on your entire website and discover areas for improvement.

Book it at – https://calendly.com/giles-metcalfe-digital/website-sustainability-audit

The Sustainable Web Manifesto

I’ve signed the Sustainable Web Manifesto. Will you sign it too?

If the Internet was a country, it would be the 4th largest polluter

Digital Waste

I’ve made positive changes to reduce my digital waste, and my impact through device use as part of my work and lifestyle. I don’t upgrade my phone every two years anymore. I am keeping my devices like my smartphone and laptops for as long as possible, basically charging them and using them in an energy efficient way that also minimises CO2 pollution through device use and power consumption.

Reducing atmospheric carbon & supporting bio-diversity

I am a Champion Trapper, and Proud Member of Carbon Trap, fully committed to reducing atmospheric carbon and also attracting and protecting bio-diversity wildlife species through elephant grass and wildflower planting.

My membership captures and stores carbon from the atmosphere through the planting of elephant grass here in the UK with the co-operation of landowners across the country. Elephant Grass reduces harmful greenhouse gases and slows the effects of climate change. This process also improves soil health, as well as supports the rural economy.

Perennial elephant grass (Miscanthus x Giganteus)

Carbon Trap practices regenerative agriculture and plant perennial elephant grass. Lasting for well over 20 years, the elephant grass captures carbon from the atmosphere and locks it away in the cane and the soil.

The cane is harvested yearly and, subsequently use it to supply material for sustainable projects. In industry sectors such as construction and packaging. The cane is 48% carbon (4.8 tonnes to the hectare @ 10 tonne yield) and used for energy for carbon neutral solutions or locked up in other products, particularly construction materials, animal bedding, textiles, and plastics alternatives.

Alongside the biodiversity elephant grass provides, Carbon Trap also plant wildflower areas within the crop for the bees, butterflies and birds that are vitally important to our ecosystems.

Carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration is the natural process for the long-term removal or capture of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. During photosynthesis the plant absorbs CO2, sucking it down through the plant into the soil. Consequently, it remains locked up, preventing the build-up of greenhouse gasses in the earth’s atmosphere. That mitigates or reverses global warming.

Newly planted trees take more than 20 years on average before they even start becoming carbon neutral. When they reach maturity, because trees get cut down for timber, burnt in forest fires or left to rot.

Elephant grass traps carbon in the cane, soil and surrounding root systems by year two. Then, it contributes quickly to positive carbon capture and consequently impacts climate change for the better.

The soil sequesters carbon, on average, at 1 tonne per hectare, which is the size of an international football pitch, per annum.

See the Carbon Trap FAQs for more information.

Member of Carbon Trap

Tree Wilder

I also subscribe to Tree Wilder, who “carefully select and shape forest projects to achieve meaningful, lasting outcomes for biodiversity”, “support wetland restoration projects achieving enormous benefits to nature and substantial water quality impacts” and “fund exceptional renewable energy projects to break the fossil fuel addiction”.

I am a TwoWilder subscriber, which saves up to 10 tonnes of CO2 per year (the average offset needed by one person) and helps protect the planet:

  • Protecting and restoring inspirational, wild landscapes for rare and endangered species
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting renewable energy projects

See Through Carbon

See Through Carbon is an accurate, free, open-source, transparent carbon auditing standard. Presently, there are seven pilots running, including for SMEs (Pilot 1), and Live Music (Pilot 2).

I am a volunteer Carbon Auditor (Digital) for See Through Carbon. Particularly focusing on how a business or organisation’s website and digital activities contribute to their overall carbon footprint.

The Association of Sustainability Practitioners

The Association of Sustainability Practitioners (ASP) promotes learning that transforms behaviour from unsustainable to sustainable practices. An international community of sustainability practitioners with a wide diversity of skills and practices, learning and acting together to create truly sustainable futures.

I am a member of the ASP. I’m keen to learn more from other practitioners and to share ideas about how to advance sustainable practices.