How to reduce your digital carbon footprint at work?

European projects 20 March 2024

Did you ever wonder what could be the environmental impact of your digital activities at work? It may be stronger than you think! Diminishing your digital carbon footprint on duty can be achieved quite easily by adopting simple measures and practices. Discover the new kit for professionals to find all the tools you need to start.

eGreen - Photo by George Milton

The importance to assess your digital carbon footprint

For decades, digitalisation has been transforming our societies, integrating progressively our daily practices at work. While the convenience of digital devices is undeniable, the environmental cost associated with constant production and use of these devices has to be assessed.  The hidden impact of our digital activities – our digital carbon footprint – contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. If one looks at all the stages in the life cycle of a digital device – production, use and disposal – it seems clear that the impact of the digital world goes far beyond global warming. Producing, using and disposing of digital devices also has an impact on biodiversity, health and the socio-economic situation of people on every continent.  

The good news is that reducing your digital carbon footprint at work is achievable through rapid and easy-to-implement measures.  Adopting such an approach not only benefits the environment but may also contribute to cost savings and facilitate resource management in your organisation. 

Addressing every aspect of your digital activity 

To reduce your impact, you first have to identify which practices may be the most polluting and consider which can be changed or improved. From emails, to streaming platforms, social media and production of digital devices, multiple subjects should be address to understand the scope of the environmental impact of the digital sector. 

For example, a single email has a carbon footprint of about 4 grams of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent), and it can go up to 35g for an email with only a single attachment. Likewise, watching 10 hours of high-definition videos uses more data than the entire English Wikipedia. Beyond usage, producing a digital device requires significant use of raw materials. On average, 200 kg of materials are excavated to recollect only a few grams of usable minerals. All of these facts demonstrate the extent of the digital sector’s overall carbon footprint, and how it concerns many practices and sectors. To reduce the impact of your digital activities, you should assess needless practices and adopt simple measures to enable change.

Adopt small and simple measures

To discover easy-to-implement measures, check the kit for professionals developed as part of the eGreen project. It provides facts, tutorials and checklists to support you in reducing your daily digital carbon footprint. General information and facts were selected to inform you about the important notions to know about a specific theme and its related challenges. Tutorials will also support you to implement simple solutions rapidly. On a separate page, you will find dedicated checklists to help you adjust and adopt eco-responsible approach to your daily work.

Checklists also provide advice dedicated to organisations to enable impact on another level. They provide solutions to reduce rapidly the environmental impact of digital technology on a larger scale by involving organisations in the process and making recommendations for internal policies that can be implemented gradually (for example, recycle systematically electronic devices that do not work and cannot be repaired, implement rules to ensure the sustainable use of digital devices). 

The themes were carefully selected to cover the daily professional use of digital technology: emails, cloud storage, internet security, production of devices and more. Depending on your field of work and priorities, you may want to focus on one or several subjects at the same time. It is advised to implement measures gradually and opt for the most convenient approach for your work / impact on the environment balance. 

Share and disseminate this kit with colleagues within your organisation to initiate a movement toward the adoption of green digital practices!   

 Discover the new kit to reduce the environmental impact of digital technology here 

See also

Kit : Reducing the impact of digital practice on the environment

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