Is your business counting the hidden cost of web hosting?

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Is your business counting the hidden cost of web hosting?

News

Thinking

With the effects of global warming growing ever more apparent and the ramifications of climate change leaving its impact throughout every continent, the call for everyone to play their part to reduce carbon footprint – be that at a corporate or individual level – has never been louder. The demand for corporate sustainability (companies to actively reduce their environmental cost or carbon output), corporate responsibility has never been more urgent.

Whereas corporate and social responsibility (CSR) has been previously a commitment to adopt greener practices, pressure on companies to offset carbon emissions has expanded from boardroom initiatives to the heart of government policy. As individuals reevaluate the frequency in which they fly and their personal imprint on the environment, few will know how much of their carbon footprint extends into internet usage as well.

Sustainable Web Hosting

The internet is one of the largest producers of carbon today. In fact, everything we do online, be it streaming music or watching movies, even replying to an email amounts to a few grams of carbon spent powering the infrastructure of the services we will use.

Multiply this by the fact that in 2020, more than 50% of the world’s population will have access to the internet in varying degrees, some countries shall see usage surge by as much as 30% due to the coronavirus pandemic and the nationally imposed lockdowns forcing much of the workforce to work from home.

Even before the 2020 health crisis, IT carbon amounted to between 5-9% of the world’s electricity use and almost 4% of global greenhouse emissions. To put that into context, each person’s yearly internet activity will, on average, produce 400g of carbon dioxide across the countless data centres servicing that usage.

Whilst the environmental impact of air travel is often viewed as a primary contributor to greenhouse gasses, it is far less known that data centres produce the same amount of CO2 emission as the airline industry. Acknowledging data centres have a significant role to play, the EU wants all of them ‘climate neutral’ by 2030.

Although it is expected in 2020 data centres will generate 533 million tonnes of CO2, thankfully a growing number are already transitioned to carbon neutrality.

Carbon Neutral Infrastructure

Along with many well-known brands and firms large and small striving to attain Certified B Corporation status in an international effort to create a community of businesses to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2030, hosting providers are taking significant action as sustainability in the very fabric of the internet is becoming an ever-greater priority.

Whereas traditionally, data centre servers require high power consumption and have been cooled by chilled water, the ethos today is to employ a combination of fresh air and evaporative cooling. This has also seen the relocation of entire data centres to colder climates – Scotland and Iceland have both seen new centres built for eco-friendly hosting.

The resulting lower use of energy has awarded those data centres the added benefit of being able to offset energy use with renewable sources, such as wind farms and biomass. Consequently, green hosting providers are among the first truly carbon neutral businesses in the UK.

So central has carbon neutrality become in corporate strategy, British Standards Institution (BSI) have created a special certification in partnership with The Carbon Trust to define a certifiable green standard for data centres and similar industries. Known as PAS 2060 (Publicly Available Specification 2060) this is awarded to UK companies that can prove are 100% carbon neutral.

With the lower cost of green data centers extending beyond a clean conscious and an enhanced corporate reputation, every business owner has the responsibility to seek more from their hosting by choosing providers with proper green credentials.

Crowd’s commitment to sustainability

Since 2019, Crowd has been phasing its hosting offering to green providers and makes these available to every new client as standard. Clients on legacy hosting environments will be transferred to greener provision throughout 2020. These most simple steps towards a cleaner, greener world can deliver genuine CSR impact.