How to reduce your digital carbon footprint

Footprints in a digital landscape

You may not think your internet and email usage is having a significant impact on the environment, but it does. Every time you send an email, browse a website, stream a video, or download a file, you are using energy and emitting carbon dioxide. In fact, the global carbon footprint of the internet and data centers is estimated to be around 3.7% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the aviation industry.

How does this happen? The internet relies on a vast network of servers, routers, switches, cables, and devices that all consume electricity. Some of this electricity comes from renewable sources, but much of it is generated by burning fossil fuels. The more data you use, the more electricity you need, and the more carbon you emit.

So how can you reduce your carbon impact when using internet and email?

Here are some tips:

  • Unsubscribe from newsletters and spam emails that you don't read or need
  • Avoid sending unnecessary emails or attachments - consider if all the cc’s are necessary
  • Compress large files before sending them or use cloud storage services that reduce data transfer
  • Delete old emails and files that you don't need anymore
  • Use energy-efficient settings on devices to consume less power and data
  • Turn off your devices or put them in sleep mode when you are not using them
  • Support green internet service providers such as Ecosia
  • Use cloud services and online tools instead of sending attachments via email, send links to files
  • Limit use of Chatbots and AI

Every byte counts – so by following these simple steps, our actions collectively can make a difference for the planet.