05.06.2024

Cleaning Up Your Own Backyard

In case you’re new here, you might not know how important adopting sustainable business practices is for us. But claims and blog posts alone don’t make the world greener, so we looked inward to see what we could do to optimize our digital presence even further.

Doug and Kresten in Portland
Our digital life leaves a carbon footprint with a very tangible impact.
Managing Director, Adapt USA, Doug Sisko

Realizing Our Impact

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again - the digital world has a carbon footprint too. In fact, 4% of carbon emissions come from it (not including AI)! That’s greater than all commercial airline emissions combined. Every piece of data we handle, every website we design, and every digital service we provide contributes to carbon emissions. Our primary web page, for instance, weighed in at a hefty 12.61MB, emitting 2.97 grams of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per new visit. To give you some context, the median CO2 footprint of the top 1000 websites is just 0.6 grams per visit, according to the 2022 Web Almanac. This meant our website was emitting nearly four times more CO2 per visit than the average.

Taking Action: Optimizing Our Website

We started with a deep dive into our website to figure out what was making it so heavy. High-resolution images, large video files, and unnecessary scripts were the main culprits. One major change was switching our videos from autoplay to hover-to-play. This simple adjustment significantly reduced data usage, as videos no longer automatically loaded and played without user interaction. By compressing images, optimizing video content, and cleaning up our code, we managed to reduce the page weight from 12.61MB to 3.84MB. This brought our emissions down to 0.50 grams of CO2e per new visit—17% less than the median of the top 1000 websites.

Commitment to Ongoing Improvement

A field of green

Sustainability isn't a one-time project; it's an ongoing commitment. We set up regular audits to monitor our website’s performance and carbon footprint. By continually assessing and optimizing, we stay aligned with best practices and can adapt to new technologies that further reduce our environmental impact.

Badge displaying our Carbon Control efforts

Our Progress and Vision

Today, our website emits just 0.50 grams of CO2e per new visit. To put that into perspective, it would take 808 visits to our site to equal the emissions of driving a car for one mile. While this is a significant improvement, we see it as just the beginning. Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our digital presence—it's ingrained in our company culture and operations.

We align closely with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by prioritizing green energy, sustainable and accessible web design, and by working closely with the Blue and Green economies. The internet can feel intangible, but it has a large carbon footprint. 

We’re proud of the progress we’ve made, but we also know that the journey towards a fully sustainable digital footprint is ongoing. As technology evolves, so too will our strategies for reducing our environmental impact.

Take a Look In the Mirror

We encourage you to take a look at your own backyard and join us in this vital effort. By taking a close look at your digital carbon footprint and implementing sustainable practices, you can make a meaningful impact on our planet. We want to bring all industries into a greener digital space. Let’s create a more sustainable (and beautiful) digital world, together!