Making real progress on climate initiatives requires a commitment to standards and process rigor. This is why organisations seeking climate-positive website accreditation follow a streamlined and guided process to demonstrate their commitment. The accreditation process helps ensure that the standards are consistent and transparent, and by requiring renewal, it encourages continuous improvement.
As part of the requirement for climate-positive website accreditation for your website, it's important that the website is green-hosted. This means that the hosting provider uses data centres powered by renewable energy to run their services. By selecting a hosting service that is entirely powered by renewable energy, you can significantly reduce your website's emissions. By using a green host, you can reduce the carbon emissions of a website by about 9%. If you're searching for a new hosting provider, the Green Web Foundation's database is a great place to start. It features nearly five hundred hosting companies worldwide that have a proven commitment to using green energy in their data centres.
Should your website be on standard hosting, or even if it's green-hosted but not reflecting as such, an additional 10% will be added to the overall carbon footprint. This measure ensures that responsibility is taken for the site's environmental impact.
The first step is to calculate the amount of carbon produced by your website. This can be done by multiplying the number of monthly page views by the average emissions per page view. For example, a website with 5,000 monthly page views and average emissions of 1g of CO2e per page view would result in roughly 60 kg of carbon per year. The same website with 500k monthly page views is estimated to emit 6 tonnes of carbon per year. For accredited websites, even if the average carbon is under 1g per page view, each page view is counted as 1g to account for more carbon than estimated.
In terms of taking responsibility for these emissions, insetting is recommended. Insetting involves taking measures within your business to capture or reduce the carbon emissions it produces. Think of insetting as an internal carbon offset, where a company makes eco-friendly changes in its own operations or supply chain. You are expected to recognise the carbon footprint of your website and factor that in when you have taken steps to reduce your organisation's carbon footprint.
If insetting isn't feasible, as a last resort, consider offsetting your emissions by investing in projects like reforestation or renewable energy. If you haven't taken responsibility for your website's annual carbon footprint, we step in at the 6th month of accreditation and take accountability through high-integrity nature/community projects (Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard), adding additional buffers to ensure that the website has a clear net positive impact.
To maintain the integrity of the process, the standard for calculating and taking responsibility for emissions has been set by the scientific advisory board and is subject to regular review and progression.
The energy consumption of a website is closely tied to the amount of data that is transferred during page loading. The calculation of websites' carbon emissions is guided by our colleagues, using a standardised public methodology that incorporates CO2.js from The Green Web Foundation. A website's carbon emissions are estimated using several factors, which include data transfer during page loading, internet data energy intensity, data centre energy source, and electricity carbon intensity. The carbon calculation based on CO2.js measures the data transfer and multiplies it by data on energy consumption to determine the carbon emissions. Additionally, certain website visitors may have already cached website files on their devices are factored in and adjusted for subsequent visits accordingly. The carbon intensity of grid electricity is based on the international average reported by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
At EFWA, beyond our dedication to research, development, and innovation, we stand alongside our industry colleagues, harmonising a unified and up-to-date approach to measuring website carbon emissions. Our active involvement includes being a founding contributor to ComputerWeekly's IT Sustainability Think Tank and providing steadfast support to our fellow industry members and collaborators through participation in the W3C SustyWeb Community Group. Whether it's sharing knowledge, exploring new ideas, or collaborating on initiatives, we believe that working together is the best way to achieve our goal of creating a more sustainable cleaner greener internet.