Derbyshire creative agency champions low carbon sites to help protect environment

An award-winning Derbyshire creative agency is playing a vital role in the battle to protect our planet with its mission to champion low carbon websites.

Claire MacDonald, co-founder and director of MacMartin full-service marketing agency, is leading the company’s innovative strategy on the design and build of low carbon websites, saying it is a key component in the fight against climate change.

Claire said: “It’s perhaps not that well known that if the Internet was a country, it would be the world’s sixth biggest polluter.

“Clearly, we all use the Internet all the time and it’s great for lots of things. But given the UK’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050, I think it’s surprising the profile of our digital footprint is not higher. There’s an awful lot in the Government’s strategy about energy usage when it comes to buildings and transport, but nothing about our digital footprint which is actually extremely significant.

“At MacMartin we believe in going about our business in a meaningful, ethical and sustainable way. We are encouraging our clients to capitalise on the benefits of a low carbon approach to their websites and we’re pleased to see more and more of them coming on board.”

Claire, who has been delivering a fascinating presentation to leaders of businesses and organisations in Derby about energy efficient sites, said there are lots of practical ways that anyone who runs a website can make it much more environmentally friendly in terms of lowering CO2 emissions.

MacMartin’s advice includes things like compressing images and ensuring they are the right size; not using autoplay video that starts when a site uploads; removing unnecessary downloads, and restricting font types – all simple to implement steps which will reduce a site’s CO2 emissions.

Other measures include switching to hosting servers which use green energy, and using data centres that are as close to home as possible and not halfway across the world.

Claire said: “Very few people probably realise the enormous energy impact that a website has, but also how with little effort, this can be significantly reduced.

“The size of the average website has increased a lot over the last ten years, from 803kb in 2012 to 2,284kb in 2022. That’s a 284 per cent increase.

“Data centres, too, are a huge deal. They use one per cent of the world’s electricity. We think of the ‘cloud’ as being innocent, but actually it is rooms full of machines, not only using power to run but requiring water to keep cool. In fact, how many people are aware that our digital activity causes far more CO2 emissions than the aviation industry?”

Now MacMartin is on a mission to demonstrate that low carbon websites are not only possible, but in many cases actually preferable.

Claire said: “We really believe, and can demonstrate, that low carbon websites perform just as well as high energy ones, if not better. And we also think there are other benefits: ask most people what they find annoying about websites and they will often say it’s frustrating when they have to wade through endless information or watch pop up videos they didn’t ask for.

“Low carbon websites are about paring back on unnecessary information and gimmicks and just creating smooth-running pages that give people what they need with a great user experience. We can still provide stunning looking sites, without it costing the earth.”

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