No company today should turn a blind eye to the issue of sustainability. At RAIDBOXES we have been taking this seriously from the very beginning – for example with our implementation of Green hosting. Because "the Internet", WordPress and WordPress Hosting consumes a lot of energy. How ecological can the network be? And are sustainable approaches authentic? An overview of the current discussion.
Simon Kraft aka @krafit is a primary rock of the German-speaking WordPress scene. In his blog he deals intensively with the combination WordPress & sustainability. Also at WordCamps and WP MeetUps he is currently speaking on the subject regularly. On the WordCamp Stuttgart 2019 there is a separate topic area on "Sustainability and Performance".
Simon writes in his article:
"Internet operations already account for just under 10% of annual global energy consumption. By 2030, this figure should rise to over 20%."
Currently about 34 percent of all websites worldwide are running on WordPress. This means in concrete terms: How performant WordPress works is one of the factors that will determine the future of our planet.
"We have to counter a trend of increasingly complex and overloaded websites ... We already have all the tools for climate-friendly websites in our hands. We just have to be consistent in using them."
With these words Simon takes us all to task. In WordPress the web and the climate it lists concrete measures:
- Remove unnecessary ballast from your website. Especially those areas that send a lot of data through the net. For example maps from Google Maps. Or social media integrations that connect to the networks every time a page is viewed.
- Are picture galleries and oversized feature images really necessary? For example, when I was updating our latest SEO post from extensive .gifs made significantly slimmer still images. Technically, they depict the topic just as well but at the same time minimize the loading time. Also the feature image to this article is quite deliberately at a very low .jpg quality level.
- Muck out yoursPlugins. That makes WordPress not only saferit also increases the speed in many cases.
- You develop Pluginsand Themes? Then Simon some special tips for you. Simplify code, update or remove old code libraries. Every byte that is not transmitted saves resources.
WordPress Developers in particular can achieve much more here than they are aware of. Because their source code is used on a large number of websites. All the traffic that results from an unthought-out development is thus increased!
You run websites or an online shop with WooCommerce yourself? Then you can also make an important contribution. See our articles
Tip: Simon Kraft is still looking for helping hands to make WordPress more sustainable. For this purpose he has launched wpforfuture.org . The site is not live yet. But you can subscribe to the newsletter, which will let you know about the start.
What we are rarely aware of when it comes to sustainability is that our behaviour when "surfing" has a major influence on what our personal climate balance looks like. Ranting about SUVs, pillorying air travel and streaming every conceivable series on Netflix & Co. at the same time? This fits together only to a very limited extent.
If you really want to make a commitment to climate protection, then you should put the following points, among others, to the test
- Do I really need to upload every file, every photo and every backup to the cloud?
- How long must the files be there? Do I regularly delete old data statuses?
- In which cases is a local backup sufficient, a classic one to USB or an external hard drive?
- How often do I use formats like live streaming or data-intensive games?
- Is it possible to disable certain features that increase traffic but which I can do without?
- What do I download to Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or Netflix and similar services without ever actually seeing or hearing it?
- Are there materials in the office that I download again and again? Can I save them locally?
Your user behavior in social networks also plays a role. Do I really have to reload my timeline on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Co. every 5 minutes? Do I run Autplay from YouTube in the background? Even if some of these tasks should only consume a small amount of data volume: All in all - and viewed over all users - a gigantic data load quickly accumulates.
The search engine takes a different approach Ecosia. It is technically based on Bing from Microsoft. The difference: the profits generated are used to support reforestation projects. Similar to RAIDBOXES. For every WordPress website that you host with us, we plant a tree for you. More on this later.
Ecosia is based in Berlin. The company promises the following key points for sustainability:
- Transparency: The search engine publishes monthly reports. This shows how much money has been raised and what percentage of the income goes into tree projects.
- CO2-neutral: Through separate projects Ecosia is not only climate-neutral, but also climate-positive. Also Google strives the use of renewable energies, but admits that there is still room for improvement.
- Privacy: Ecosia claims to protect your privacy. For example, by not permanently saving search queries or not passing on the data to advertisers. Indirectly, this also reduces electricity consumption.
With the action green leaf the project goes one step further. Search results of sustainable companies and initiatives are highlighted with an appropriate symbol:
The search engine works with eco-labels like aid shipyard , natrue.org together. Alternatives to Google still have an absolute niche existence. But the first discussions on the market power of the Internet giants are already underway.
Tip: Maria Steinberg lists further digital ways to plant trees.
The t3n sees it in a current Article for online merchants very pragmatic:
Ignoring climate change will be expensive. That is why retailers must become climate-neutral.
The author sees this as a "responsibility towards future generations". But it is also a responsibility "from a PR point of view". That's one way of looking at it. If it actually helps the environment.
You use or WooCommerce, WordPress respectively, to operate an online shop? Then the guide of the t3n is quite exciting for you. Among other things it deals with the following topics:
- What can shop owners do to become climate neutral? Just as Amazon is already getting a green coat.
- Is the compensation of accruing emissions only an interim solution?
- When can the justified accusation of greenwashing arise?
- What advisory services are available on sustainability and climate protection?
- In which specific areas can Co2 be saved? For example, when purchasing green electricity, when shipping or in the vehicle fleet.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel if you want your online shop to be more ecological. We have collected exciting articles on the topic of "Green online shops" for you. You can get great inspiration from the webshops mentioned therein:
- The most sustainable online shops [ecowoman.com]
- Shopping with a clear conscience ("Naturally Handsome")
- Online shops for fair fashion (Magazine "Become" by Weleda)
Web hosting devours energy. This not only affects the servers themselves, on which your WordPress or WooCommerceproject. The infrastructure of a data center also requires a lot of resources. As a hosting provider, we also need electricity for our office, marketing and for our employees' travel. For example for the WordCamps.
You want to offer your customers a particularly fast portal? That's understandable. But then you use a high-performance web hostingbut which consumes more energy. In return, features like a server-side caching for reducing the data load.
Green hosting cannot make the energy required obsolete. But it can provide a balance. In principle, there are three options to do this:
- Ensure that the electricity used comes from sources that are as "clean" as possible
- Support projects that minimize CO2 emissions
- An overall sustainable corporate philosophy
We at RAIDBOXES nutzen for our Green hosting all three variants. Because step by step we want to do more for the common good. With our programmes for renaturation, we not only work in a climate-neutral manner, but are even climate-positive:
- We support Eden Reforestation Projects (short: Eden). The non-profit organization works in regions that are particularly affected by climate change and global deforestation. With the help of our customers, we have been able to plant over 13,000 trees so far.
- RAIDBOXES uses 100 percent electricity from hydropower. We are aware that not all green electricity is the same. That is why we pay attention to fair conditions with our energy partners.
- In addition to compensating for green WordPress hosting, we are gradually implementing a corporate philosophy that focuses on sustainability in all areas.
- These are, for example, points such as our vision on Open Source and Equal Opportunitiesthe concept of the Holacracyenvironmentally conscious products and materials for our office or the support of home office and remote work.
Tip: As an agency you have even more leverage: develop your projects for free, recommend our WordPress green hosting, earn top commissions and even have trees planted for them. See our FREE DEV Partner program.
You can find out more about our campaign "Plant, Prevent, Protect" in this video:
Eden relies on local residents or workers for their projects, which are paid for by the donations. This is another reason why we have chosen this partner. The organisation makes an active contribution to the fight against poverty. And this is an essential part of our approach to the issue of sustainability.
How "green" is your behaviour on the net? You have questions or further tips? You can use the comment function. Do you want more current articles on WordPress and sustainability? Then follow us on Twitter, Facebook , or subscribe to our newsletter.
Picture: Becca Lavin