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.
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 50 kg of carbon per year. The same website with 50k monthly page views is estimated to emit 1/2 tonne of carbon per year.
In terms of taking responsibility for these emissions, we recommend insetting over offsetting. Insetting involves reducing emissions within your own activities and processes, such as implementing regenerative farming or reforestation practices. However, depending on your business model, insetting may not always be feasible.
In such cases, offsetting is another option. Offsetting involves supporting projects that reduce emissions elsewhere, such as rewilding or reforestation efforts. You can go beyond the actual carbon footprint for the year and achieve below-zero emissions for your website through high-integrity, science-backed Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard nature solutions that remove carbon, restore biodiversity, and improve livelihoods. Alternatively, you can directly support Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard projects that meet the same high-integrity standards.
It is recommended to take responsibility for your website's emissions annually based on the page views of the website. An additional buffer of 25% is added to this amount of carbon footprint to ensure the website does have 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, we support our industry peers in researching and developing a unified and up-to-date approach to measuring website carbon emissions. We are actively supporting our peers, and collaborators in the industry through the W3C Sustainable Web 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.