We recently welcomed Gaël Duez, a digital sustainability strategist and founder of the Green IO podcast, to host our webinar discussing the environmental consequences of our digital world and critically what businesses can do to mitigate their impact.
The electricity consumption of the digital sector is becoming a growing concern, with the International Energy Agency confirming 1,600 terawatts was consumed by the sector in 2021 – that’s roughly the same amount as India, the world’s third largest electricity consumer.
It’s not a surprise that with 1.2 billion smartphones sold in 2022, end-user devices account for almost half (45%) of all electricity consumption by the sector, followed by networks and data centres.
But why is this a problem? Because the world’s electricity production remains reliant on fossil fuels, indeed, as much as 60% of production is using our finite resources and releasing Greenhouse Gases (GHG).
Did you know 70-90% of the carbon footprint of your smartphone happens before it’s taken out of the box?
So, what can businesses do to reduce their impact on the sector? There are several quick wins to consider first, and although these are individually small changes, they can have a much larger impact when implemented consistently across businesses;
Reducing electricity consumption
These practical steps are just the beginning towards minimising the environmental weight of data consumed within the digital sector. But should we always be thinking digital first? Lifecycle analysis is a powerful tool to support decision making for sustainable development, guiding you to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of a product or process. For example, it takes 20-40 times the amount of water to make a single e-reader than a book and 60% of downloaded e-books are never opened and are therefore consuming unnecessary data.
At APS, we’re committed to tackling your sustainability challenges, whether that’s for product designs, a new technology platform or printed materials. At every stage, our team will work with you to make sustainable and practical recommendations. Talk to us today, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Further still, consumers are increasingly placing their business with brands and seeking out products that they believe are actively making a positive contribution to the planet.
Recognising this trend, many companies have been swift to capitalise on this growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products. However, a deceptive practice known as “greenwashing” has developed on the back of the resultant surge in green marketing…
Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers by making false or overstated environmental claims in hopes to win over the eco-conscious customer, while undermining authentic efforts towards sustainability. Untrustworthy claims made by greenwashing brands divert attention and resources away from authentic sustainable activities, creating a negative impact on both consumers and the environment.
Consumer aware – company beware
Consumers are becoming ever more vigilant and critically analyse environmental claims made by companies to avoid falling victim to greenwashing. They do this by being able to pinpoint vague terminology or lack of certifications to authenticate company claims.
Companies that actively pursue sustainability are more likely to be fully transparent with their customers and consumers by sharing and celebrating their efforts through data, recognised third-party certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or EcoVadis, they are more likely to provide regular updates on their environmental goals, sharing and boasting of their achievements.
Therefore, customers and consumers are becoming increasingly observant to the absence of transparency by brands and making more conscious decisions on where to shop. As the momentum behind greenwashing increases improved guidelines and procedures by governments and regulatory bodies are needed to hold dishonest businesses accountable.
Most importantly for the customer and the environment, companies should be accountable for their corporate responsibility. They can do this by investing in eco-friendly initiatives and providing transparent, up-to-date, accurate information to consumers to help build consumer trust.
It is important to the customer and the environment, that companies are accountable for their corporate responsibility. They can do this by investing in eco-friendly initiatives and providing transparent, up-to-date, accurate information to consumers to help build consumer trust.
Through collective efforts by companies, consumers, and the government, we can uncover greenwashing practices and encourage a shift towards genuine sustainability, safeguarding our planet for future generations. Combating greenwashing requires collective action from consumers, regulatory bodies, and responsible businesses, beginning with consumer education, learning about greenwashing practices and recognising accredited certifications, we can enable everyone to make informed choices.
Request the visual PDF of the Unmasking deceptive greenwashing article here.
Last week, we were delighted to host a webinar on, ‘The New Focus on Sustainability in Retail’ taking a look at the challenges facing the sector today, and finding out how they can take their customers with them on their sustainable journey.
“Boring retail is dead, but sustainable retail is flourishing”.
We don’t need to remind you of the acceleration of digital trends over the last year, but one thing that retailers must take away from the changing landscape is the new focus of consumers. A recent survey by Deloitte, Shifting Sands, observed that consumers do value sustainable and ethical brands with 43% valuing sustainable packaging and 44% valuing waste reduction from brands. Importantly, the data also showed that 50% are willing to pay more for environmental and ethical brands.
But making sustainable decisions has never been more difficult for brands
Often brands are left with more questions than answers regarding their sustainability strategy; with government legislation constantly evolving, retailers and brands set their own initiatives and targets plus changing opinions and trends from consumers. Even knowing which accreditation to align your brand with can be a minefield when there are 456 eco labels globally, across 25 sectors and 199 countries. Download a copy of our webinar to find out more about how you can tackle the challenges facing retailers today.
Or, if you would like to start your sustainability journey with an experienced partner who can help guide you through everything you need to be considering, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch at email@example.com