TheSustainable Post

Really Good Work: The Digital Sustainability Experts Helping Businesses Go Green

Really Good Work
Image Source: Drew Minns

Technology is designed to enhance our quality of life, but its benefits often come at the cost of environmental impact, highlighting the need for sustainable practices.

Digital sustainability started to catch on in the late 2010s, but even today, not every business is adopting greener practices online. While companies are slowly beginning to reduce their digital carbon footprints and embrace sustainability, the progress is still gradual and there's much more to be done.

Drew Minns is the founder of Really Good Work, a creative consultancy studio based in Hamilton, Ontario that specializes in digital sustainability. He believes more businesses need to make necessary changes sooner rather than later.

“We’ll seem biased here, but there is absolutely a lack of action,” says Minns. “Despite digital sustainability having zero negative impacts on a business, many companies are unwilling to modernize their systems.”

Minns explains that his company, which he founded in 2021, aims to educate businesses on ways to reduce their online carbon footprint and take advantage of the inherent benefits to their costs, operations, and marketing.

He notes that even prior to launching Really Good Work, he’s spent 20 years designing eco-friendly websites for clients like Shopify, Four Seasons and Mejuri.

Really Good Work reports that the digital sector's contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is significant, amounting to around 3.7%, a figure that continues to rise. For context, aviation accounted for 2% of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2022 (according to the IEA).

Minns points out that despite the perception of the internet as something intangible, every piece of data traverses through a physical network powered largely by non-renewable sources.

Recognizing these environmental implications, Really Good Work identifies two crucial areas where websites can make a substantial impact: image size and the method of content delivery to users.

Really Good Work
Image Source: Drew Minns

“Images and other media are the largest file types that we’re all storing in data centers. Any time data is transferred from one location to another, it requires energy,” Minns explains. “With large images, your website will load like it’s on dial-up internet, but you’ll also require your users to create a large carbon footprint to interact with your brand.”

A simple and effective way for a company to reduce their digital carbon footprint is to resize images, Minns explains.

You'll not only improve your users' experience but also lower your environmental impact. Fortunately, there are many free online tools available to help you achieve this, like

“Another great option is to create a dark version of your app or site,” he says. “Believe it or not, darker colors use less energy on devices that have OLED screens, such as iPhones and Android devices. By requiring less energy to use your site, you’re allowing users to extend their battery life and charge less frequently.”

The process of delivering a website to a user also has a significant environmental footprint.

A large number of websites, approximately 474 million, are built using platforms like WordPress and remain active today.

While WordPress is excellent for managing content easily, each visitor triggers the server to build and deliver the site. Minns explains that while updates aren't frequent, this process, which can be slow, may impact SEO and Google ranking.

“Switching to modern tools like statically generated sites is recommended for cost savings and up to 93% greater energy efficiency,” he says.

Working with specialists like Really Good Work can bring significant benefits, including cost savings over both short and long terms.

As consumers increasingly demand sustainable practices from companies they support, those that adopt digital sustainability will stay competitive and unlock modern benefits that their competitors won't have access to.

By making small changes to their digital practices, businesses can make a significant positive impact on the environment while also improving their bottom line.

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