On to a more sustainable internet

22 Jun 2024 | entrepreneurship, web design

Recently, as a web designer, I signed the Sustainable Web Manifesto. With that, I declared my commitment to a more sustainable Internet. Why is that necessary? And how do I do that as a web designer? You’ll read about it in this article.

Why is the Internet unsustainable?

“If the Internet were a country, it would be the fourth largest polluter in the world.” That result came from a 2021 study by Freitag and other scientists. Everything we post online ends up in a cloud or with a hosting company. And what is in a cloud or with a host is also back on a server or in a data center. And all those servers and data centers run on electricity again. So the Internet needs a huge amount of energy!

What is the Sustainable Web Manifesto?

We can apply a number of measures to make the Internet more sustainable. So you can find more and more web designers and other IT professionals who are environmentally conscious online. You can find them in the Sustainable Web Manifesto, an online commitment statement to take steps toward a more sustainable Internet. Web designers who draw this, then, are making a huge effort to build sustainable sites.

What does the Sustainable Web Manifesto say?

The Sustainable Web Manifesto actually consists of six pillars: clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative and resilient. Below you can read what is meant by these six principles. As a web designer, I signed this manifesto in June 2024. So, as a sustainable entrepreneur, I try to act according to this manifesto as best I can. Some steps I have already been able to take, others are work in progress.

How do I apply the Sustainable Web Manifesto?

I’ll go over the six pillars with you:

Pillar 1: clean

This is about using green energy. My home office runs on green power, so does my hosting according to my host. Still, I am considering switching to an even greener host.

Pillar 2: efficient

By this we mean using as little energy as possible. WordPress websites can be made as energy-hungry as you want. However, I chose a low-energy site: minimalist design without frills, quiet colors, a common font, optimized photos, a limited portfolio and not too many other graphic forms. In this I am going to take further steps.

Want to know more about sustainable web design? Then read about how I make my own website sustainable here.

Pillar 3: open

Providing accessible information and services and control over one’s own data. I share my knowledge about a more sustainable Internet in my blogs, which are open to everyone. You get control of your data through my cookie banner. Those who subscribe to my mailing list also have full control over their own data.

Pillar 4: fair

Not misleading or exploiting users. That seems more than logical to me. For example, all the buttons in my cookie banner are the same color to avoid the suggestion of deception and my prices are transparent.

Pillar 5: regenerative

Commitment to an economic system aimed at restoring and renewing the natural resources that make our economy run. I commit to sustainable web design, write about a more sustainable Internet, travel mostly by train within Europe, but can take further steps in this.

As a sustainable entrepreneur, I lead a part-time nomadic existence. Sustainability and nomadism can indeed go hand in hand. Find out how to be a sustainable digital nomad here.

Pillar 6: resilient

Providing products and services to people who need them most. I am currently working with sustainable professionals, NGOs and schools. This way I contribute directly to society.

See, quite a chore to work on. Perhaps good to know: I see these primarily as directional indicators of the sustainable course I am taking with my business. I am a sustainable entrepreneur, not an activist standing on the barricade.

Sustainable business is a form of business with impact. Want to know more about this? Then see how you can become an impact entrepreneur yourself here.

Conclusion

Because the Internet is much more polluting than you might think, it can always be a good idea to be mindful of your online activities. As a sustainable entrepreneur, I take this one step further: I follow the six basic principles of the Sustainable Web Manifesto. Specifically, I do this by building sustainable websites for clients and writing about making the Internet more sustainable.

About Jochem

I am Jochem Oomen, web designer and photographer. My goal is to help sustainable entrepreneurs, organizations and schools gain more customers, participants or students. I do this through sustainable web design and minimalist photography. Read more about me here.

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