It doesn’t look like it, but a website pollutes! Yes, digital pollution, you know? In this article, we invited the web agency Hippocampe to answer our questions about the criteria of an eco-design and an eco-responsible redesign of your websites.
What is eco-design?
Eco-design is the integration of the environment at all stages of the development of your products or services. The idea is to reduce your environmental impact as much as possible, while finding an economic, social and technical balance (according to the AFNOR definition of eco-design, dating from 2004).
Eco-design on the web is the same thing. An eco-designed website or a website redesign is therefore a more ecological website, also integrating social, economic and technical dimensions. Since it is about finding the right balance between visibility, conversion and income, and respect for the environment and human beings.
Why do we talk about balance? Because we are aware that it is not easy to be 100% eco-responsible. It would mean having no online presence and living as a hermit in the mountains.
So when you have a company and you need visibility on the web, you inevitably pollute. Now, the objective is to reduce this digital pollution as much as possible. And this at the level of the commitments that you can and want to take at the level of your company.
Indeed, you must adapt your environmental commitments on the web according to your stakes, your DNA and your values. It is better to do a little, and well, than too much and badly.
And you can start with a website design or a redesign of your site eco-designed, thought according to your issues.
Why go for an eco-responsible website design or redesign?
Let’s start with the obvious: it’s better for the environment. Well, it’s not necessarily obvious…
To make it short, a website is a space that stores information in the form of resources (file, image, …) and in a database. Your users interact with these resources (e.g.: download, subscribe to a newsletter, …). For all this to work, you need a server (often hosted in a data center). Your server needs energy to save and process all this information. So the more information you have to store and process, the more energy you consume. The more you need, the more servers you need. But electronics uses rare earths which are extracted with polluting processes.
So yes, the web pollutes. We explain in the following part the actions that can reduce the pollution of your sites.
This allows you to support your positioning and your ethical commitments in this sense. With an eco-responsible digital presence, you go to the end of your commitment, through your actions. This necessarily sends a positive message to your ecosystem.
Yes, a company committed to the planet gives a better brand image. Especially now, with the rising awareness of climate and global warming. People want to commit to more ethical consumption behaviors. So it’s only natural that they turn to brands with a strong positive impact. So if your targets perceive you as eco-responsible, that’s pretty interesting, right?
And let’s not forget the impact on your web performance. An eco-designed site is a faster loading site. It gets a better GTMetrix score (a platform that analyzes the speed on your website). This directly impacts your SEO and therefore your visibility. So, SEO strategy and web performance go hand in hand with eco-responsibility.
Actions to implement to make your websites more eco-friendly
At Hippocampe, we have been working hard as a team to implement our first eco-design actions. We let you discover our progress to inspire you. Because the idea is that everyone should apply them to progress towards a more ethical web.
It starts with the choice of your partners. Choose eco-responsible partners. For example, hosting companies using green energy for your servers, eco-friendly web agencies (cuckoo), and always in the same perspective, suppliers with zero waste production processes…
The same goes for your digital tools. Choose tools, software and technologies that consume less energy. For example, you can buy reconditioned computers.
As far as your graphic universe is concerned, start with a more refined design. The more images, animations and videos you put on your site, the heavier your page will be to load. And therefore the more energy it consumes (hello CO2 emissions). Of course, we are not talking about going back to the basic HTML page with just text. It’s about finding the right balance between engaging user experience and eco-responsibility.
And while we’re on the subject of images, you can optimize them so that they are less heavy to load. So more eco-friendly.
A lighter site, faster to load, and therefore less energy consuming, is also due to the way you program. If your code is clean and sober, you are on the right track!
Generally speaking, it’s about making a choice. Whether it’s in the content you produce, the tools you use, the way you program… Here again, it’s a matter of balance between your goals and your commitments.