How to ensure your website follows sustainability goals, and is consistent with what it preaches.
Introduction: What is Sustainable Development and Why is it Important?
As defined in the Sustainable Web Manifesto, a sustainable website should have the following characteristics:
This Manifesto can be applied to any software development; web development or mobile but for the sake of simplicity and this article, we will focus on Web Development and Websites.
Sustainable Websites and Web products are applications that are technically optimized in a way they are efficient in terms of electricity use, development quickness, resource planning and assignment, and code quality. Those products also can qualify for umbrella terms like greentech, cleantech, and eco-friendly web products.
The main aspects in terms of Software Development for Sustainability are:
Using open-source software and libraries
Following web standards
Writing reusable code and maintaining documentation
Server optimization in terms of minimizing server load
Using CDNs to limit the extensive exchange of data over long distances
Hosting powered by renewable energy
Talking about sustainable websites and web products we also need to take into account the product GOALS, ETHOS, and IMPACT. In order to help us qualify them we need to first investigate what the original founders had in mind while creating their application.
Goals, Ethos and Impact, in short, let's call it “GEI” for Sustainability. GEI should align with Sustainable goals, the best examples are Sustainable Development Goals by United Nations, which are:
Good Health and Well-Being
Clean Water and Sanitation
Affordable and Clean Energy
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Responsible Consumption and Production
Life Below Water
Life on Land
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Partnership for the goals
Most companies will align themselves with at least one of the “Goals” and this is what we should look at when researching those websites to see if they are consistent.
While researching and discussing Sustainability topics we must also bring up the Economic, Environmental, and Social “triangle”.
Economic - it must be profitable, but also stable, efficient, and able to grow.
Environmental - must consider pollution, biodiversity, resources, and many more.
Social - must bring positive social impact, and empowerment, and can cooperate with institutions and government.
These three pillars of sustainability can be split further, but if we only achieve two out of three pillars then we have:
Social + Economic Sustainability = Equitable
Social + Environmental Sustainability = Bearable
Economic + Environmental Sustainability = Viable
Handful of Amazing Websites and Web Products that allow you to have a Sustainable impact on the planet.
https://www.abundanceinvestment.com/ - allows Users to make a positive impact through investing in private companies and councils in the UK that need cash for the green transition. Local authority securities let you support real climate projects that benefit the whole community — from energy efficiency to EV charging and solar power. They bring you investments in businesses that they believe will deliver greener solutions for the future, or accelerate cutting carbon emissions.
https://www.mossy.earth/ - highly recommended, allows Users to invest monthly small amounts to help retain ecosystems and have a positive environmental impact on a global and local scale (and they have a youtube channel!). They work with one mission in mind, to restore wild ecosystems, support wildlife and biodiversity and help fight climate change.
https://sustainlab.co/ - Corporate site for large companies that must comply with the ESG standards. SustainLab is a SaaS Sustainability Management platform that automates the collection, processing, and visualization of sustainability data, to help companies spend less time on data handling and more on accelerating change.
https://www.quentic.com/ - Similar to Sustainlab. Quentic is a modular, cloud-based software solution that you can use to easily keep track of all requirements in occupational and environmental safety, sustainability, and quality. The numerous functions help you document, evaluate and control company processes while bringing all EHSQ and ESG stakeholders together in a unified system.
https://www.climatecamp.io/ - SME and Corporate Emission management system, ClimateCamp is the collaborative SaaS sustainability platform, connecting with suppliers on real emissions, targets, and reduction projects.
https://selflessly.io/ - Tool for companies to give better, more inclusive options for all employees to support their favorite causes. Allows employees in taking time to volunteer individually, request an employee matching gift, or set up a day of service.
What are the Sustainable Websites and Web Products in the Market?
Some of the examples of Websites and Web products specializing in Sustainability with clear Goals, Ethos, and Impact in their design and communication. We highly recommend reviewing each one of them, naturally these are only a few examples in the ocean of sustainability websites.
GoDaddy Hosting – Best variation in practices to minimize carbon footprint
A2 Hosting – Best for longest offsetting (since 2007)
Ionos – Best for solar data centres
* presented based on https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/web-hosting/green/
How to Choose Which Sustainable Website and Web Product Development Company to work with?
It’s important to choose the right company to work with to ensure that your website or web product is built with sustainability in mind. Several factors need to be taken into consideration like EES (Economic, Environment, and Social) or “GEI” mentioned previously.
You should look for someone that will validate and ask about the profitability or economic outcome of your product but also research companies that share the same values as you. Preparation of your brand vision and values will limit any accusations of greenwashing by your product and its marketing. Customers are quite conscious of it and sooner or later someone will raise the issue if you are not consistent as a founder, or as a company and don’t follow the same values that you preach.
atEnbi as a company is changing its goals to be more sustainable, and this article is our first step on that path. Some of the websites shown above are my personal picks, and for example, I’ve invested small amounts in the Abundance Investment company through a site like Seedrs. It brings me joy to see them succeed.
We are always happy to discuss sustainability, ideas, and products, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
If you need any help with validation, estimation, or audits, let us know!