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Have you ever considered how your website design choices could impact both the planet and your bottom line?
Environmental sustainability has been marketed as a practice big corporations should begin implementing immediately due to the startling effects of climate change.
However, sustainable web design not only benefits the planet, but can improve your business practices by increasing engagement with younger demographics and preparing your company for the future.
Are you interested in discovering how your online presence can play a part?
Why should I care about sustainable web design?
Your younger customers already know why
Millennials and Gen Z are statistically among the most environmentally conscious consumers.
Studies show that 75% of millennials’ buying habits, and 90% of their investment are both influenced by sustainability.
With millennials making up the largest workforce in history, it is essential that your business appeal to their interests through your website’s design.
For most of your consumers, your website will be their first contact with your brand, which makes it a great place to start implementing sustainability.
As a bonus, it’s a nice feature to show off and differentiate yourself from competitors.
However, in order to begin using sustainable practices, it’s important to first understand where your business’ web design lies on the scale of sustainability.
Is your website fighting climate change, or contributing to it?
Technology has a constant carbon cost
Our world’s increased reliance on technology is a major source of carbon emissions.
Something as simple as running a laptop increases your carbon footprint, and that’s just to keeping it running. If that fact worries you, consider the amount of energy data centres use to run your website.
Using devices to access the internet and wireless networks, storing data, and the reliance on servers all take a toll on the environment, and are responsible for around 3.7% of greenhouse emissions.
With our reliance on technology increasing by the day, your company must begin to incorporate sustainable business practices as you prepare for the future. Doing so will yield many benefits, including cost savings.
Saving the planet also saves your budget
When companies save on energy, they also feel some relief on their bottom line.
Plus, investing in sustainable development creates a higher demand for it, thus creating more jobs opportunities that stimulate the economy.
A strong economy creates a wider market of customers. All of whom will know your purpose-driven business is dedicated to protecting the planet.
How do I implement sustainable web design?
The best companies are adaptable; they not only anticipate change, but make it work in their favour.
Incorporating sustainability is one of the best ways your business can do so – appealing to the voices of today while preparing for tomorrow.
So, how can you upgrade your website’s sustainability practices?
The answer is easier than it seems!
Make small sustainable web design wins
There are many small steps you can take to limit the carbon impact of your website’s design.
Replacing locally hosted photos with embeds from existing sites, as well as limiting unnecessary underlying code, can make a huge difference.
If you must include your own photo, simply compress the image quality. Tools such as ImageOptim or SmallPDF make this easy. This also aids in saving precious storage.
Modern formats such as .webp are quickly seeing wide adoption in web browsers, and can help compress photos even further.
Using hosting sites for video embeds instead of local hosting is another easy tip. For example, Youtube has been carbon neutral for six years and matches all of its energy use with renewable investments. Plus, by 2030, they intend to be completely carbon-free in manufacturing districts.
Change to a green web hosting provider
The type of hosting your website runs on is also relevant to your business’s carbon footprint.
These hosting companies typically run large data centres where your website is stored. A green hosting provider ensures that this machinery is run as efficiently as possible.
The more efficient, the lower the emissions.
Green hosting can also balance a website’s energy consumption with renewable energy.
This can include but is not limited to: planting trees and other plants, purchasing climate credits, and energy conservation measures in data centres. Some hosting providers even provide 300% carbon offsetting!
Hold yourself accountable
At the end of the day, you don’t want your company to be outdated and left behind, as more and more businesses shift their web design to sustainable practices.
Appeal to your burgeoning market of environmentally conscious customers, and implement sustainability into your website. Gemini can help you make the change affordably, as well as ensure you are respecting your customers’ accessibility and privacy requirements.
The planet is changing, but is your business changing with it?
Kayla Monteiro is a talented, socially conscious MA Creative Writing graduate and freelance copywriter based in Manchester.