How to Perform a Website Sustainability Audit

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In 2023, 59% of companies started using more sustainable materials and 55% started using energy-efficient machinery. Over 6,000 companies became certified B Corps and over 8,000 companies and countries have commited to reaching net zero by 2050. 

These statistics make it clear that sustainability is on the forefront of business owner’s minds these days, however one aspect of sustainabilty that is often overlooked is the environmental footprint of a company’s online presense. Being that 4% of all global greenhouse emissions is from the internet, we believe that this is something every eco-friendly business should consider in their sustainability strategy. 

Conducting a website sustainability audit is the first step for eco-conscious businesses looking to minimize their digital carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing a thorough website sustainability audit.

What is Website Sustainability?

Website sustainability refers to the practice of designing, developing, and maintaining websites in ways that reduce their environmental impact. This involves optimizing user experience, improving efficiency, and ensuring that web services are powered by renewable energy sources.

Why does website sustainability matter? Well, as we mentioned above, the internet’s environment impact is significant. Data centers, which store and manage website data, consume large amounts of electricity. According to a study by the Shift Project, digital technologies account for approximately 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that is increasing by 9% each year.

That statistic is alarming.

Steps to Perform a Website Sustainability Audit

Assess Your Hosting Provider:

Your website’s sustainability starts with its hosting provider. The energy efficiency of data centers and the source of the electricity they use are crucial factors. Choose hosting providers that use renewable energy sources and that employ energy-efficient technologies such as advanced cooling systems and server optimization. Our top choices are WPEngine and GreenGeeks.

Analyze Website Performance & Efficiency:

The efficiency of your website directly impacts its energy consumption. Faster, more efficient websites use fewer resources. You can optimize your page load times through image optimization and browser caching, and reduce resource consumption through code minification and lazy loading.

Evaluate Website Design:

The design and structure of your website also affect its sustainability. The harder it is for your website visitors to find the information they are looking for, the more energy is used in the process. This is why transparency is a key factor in sustainable web design.

Regularly Review and Update:

Website sustainability is an on going process. Schedule in quarterly review aduits to assess performance and identify new areas for improvement. It's also a good idea to stay updated with the newest technologies and best practices in website sustainability.

Tools and Resources for Website Sustainability

Sustainability Tools:

You can use the Website Carbon Calculator** and Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your carbon consumption and website performance.

Ideally your website will recieve an A on the carbon calculator and green scores for performance,  accessibility, best practices and SEO on the PageSpeed Insights.

**Note that the carbon calulator does not recognize all green hosting providers, and that we have found this part of the calculator to be inaccurate.

Learning Resources:

If you're interested in learning more, check out our article on website sustainability and why it matters, as well as the Sustainable Web Manifesto website.

Final Thoughts on Website Sustainability Auditing

Conducting a website sustainability audit is a critical step for eco-conscious businesses committed to reducing their environmental impact. By evaluating your hosting provider, optimizing website performance, simplifying design, and regularly reviewing your strategies, you can significantly lower your website’s carbon footprint. Not only does this contribute to a healthier planet, but it also enhances your brand’s reputation and aligns with the values of your eco-conscious customers.

Take action today and make website sustainability a cornerstone of your digital strategy. Together, we can build a more sustainable internet for the future.

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