Sustainability Update + 2022 Action Plan

30 March 2022

If you know us, you'll know we're big advocates for sustainability. We're not experts and we're not perfect – but we're learning a lot. And we hope that by sharing what we're up to, we can help others to help the planet.

Here's an update about how we're getting on with that Sustainability Pledge, followed by a list of the new things we'll be working on throughout 2022.

Sustainability Pledge 2021 Update

In December 2020 we published our Sustainability Pledge for the following year, setting out our actions to become a more sustainable company. We haven't managed to do everything we set out to – but we did some extras to make up for it.

Here's the warts'n'all update:

😐 Review our – and our clients' – website hosting

Done! Sort of. Reviewing hosting providers revealed that truly 'green hosting' is a lot more complex than simply finding a provider that uses energy from renewable sources. In short, we've made progress but this is going to be an ongoing thing.

As it's such a complex topic, we've written about it separately – The mysteries of 'green hosting'.

❌ Explore more ethical analytics and tracking tools e.g. Matamo

We've not done this. No excuses, we just haven't had time. (But there's a big nudge to review this now, with Google's Universal Analytics being retired next summer.)

😐 Promote the use of tree-planting search engine

Done-ish. Ecosia is used by a few of us here, and I regularly share the link to it during online events. But, ultimately, people are sticking with Google because the results are better/more relevant.

(I've also started using DuckDuckGo when Ecosia's not quite up to it. It's not specifically 'green' but it is nicer than Google. Thanks for the intro, Sam!)

✅ Review Supercool marketing emails to reduce their impact on the environment – while keeping them high-impact in terms of being informative and interesting!

Done! I've drastically reduced the use of images in our newsletter. This means it takes less processing power to send, and to view – which saves energy. I also keep the database pretty clean, so we’re not sending out emails to folks who aren't interested.

I can't say whether or not I've kept our emails high-impact in terms of being informative and interesting though – join the Mailing List now and decide for yourself!

✅ Regularly review our progress, and any new opportunities to be greener

Done! Oddly, the things we didn't pledge to do have probably had the widest-ranging impact. I guess that's the good thing about keeping sustainability front of mind – you spot new opportunities all over the place. This is what we've done outside of our pledge:

✅ Keep planting trees and protecting woodland to celebrate launches

Done! Just this month we've planted and preserved trees in Hertfordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire to celebrate new website launches.

Sustainability Action Plan 2022

I'm a bit later than planned sharing this, so we've already ticked some things off this year's list:

  1. Recalculate our carbon footprint – done! ✅
  2. Publish a 'green hosting' update – done! ✅
  3. Explore more ethical analytics and tracking tools
  4. Create Supercool's Guide to Sustainable Meetings
  5. Request Sustainability / Environmental Policies from all suppliers
  6. Technical R&D projects – it's early days so I'm a bit light on detail, but we're looking for greener ways to handle images, and creating a nifty tool to help clients analyse the carbon impact of their websites
  7. Move all clients to Content Delivery Networks
  8. Review Digital Ocean's progress, and investigate new green hosting providers as they emerge

Of course we'll also keep planting trees for every new website launch, and sharing free, available-to-all resources.

(Here's a new one: I wrote chunky article all about how to make your digital engagement as environmentally friendly as possible – for the Digital Heritage Hub which launched in April 2022.)

We have a list of more things we can do, if there's time. And if not, we'll add those to next year's list. This is not the kind of project with a nice clear end-date, so I'm intending to share our progress along the way.

Interested in making your website greener?

Bookmark our handy collection of resources, articles, links, and tools:

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