Carbon neutral websites? 8 ways your marketing department can contribute to Net Zero

Carbon neutral websites? 8 ways for marketing to help get to Net Zero

Posted by Maddy Leslie Picture of Maddy Leslie on 17 March 2022

If you’re committed to Net Zero by 2050, 2030 or even 2025 (like Articulate Marketing), then that’s one heck of a big goal. Lionel Messi 2007 big.

A goal like Net Zero can leave you unsure where to start. How do you prioritise your efforts? How can you measure progress? How can individuals in your business contribute?

One way to approach it is department by department. Take Marketing. Your trusty marketeers are best placed to identify opportunities to reduce waste and make marketing more sustainable.

Here are some suggestions.

1. Manage campaigns from home

Not every department can work from home, but Marketing sure can.

Offices are a major contributor to your carbon footprint, not to mention travel to and from the office.

With the appropriate tools (see our list of remote working tools) you can set up your marketing department with an efficient and effective remote working environment.

For reference, we use this setup:

2. Carbon offset commutes to events

During 2020’s lockdown, the overall carbon emissions from commuting fell to around 30 percent of what they’d been beforehand.

The daily commute is a major contributor to emissions. We definitely recommend offsetting this for each employee if remote working isn’t an option. But Marketing also has to commute to meetings, events, conferences... these trips add up. And there’s no grey area here — the business is responsible for all that CO2. Try a carbon offsetting service like Climate Care.

3. Use laptops

Match the device to the job-to-be-done. Laptop computers consume up to 80 percent less electricity than desktop computers. Other than heavy-duty graphic designers and developers, most members of your marketing department won’t need a desktop for tasks like writing and publishing content.

Bonus tip: Source hardware from a green IT supplier like HTG.

4. Commit to no paper

We’ve talked about how to cut paper out of your business over on our sister site, Turbine.

Suffice it to say, the less you print, the fewer trees need to be cut down. And trees are vital to keeping global warming under control. So keep things digital, and store them in the cloud. Microsoft’s cloud storage is a great option. Microsoft is carbon neutral and aims to remove from the environment all the carbon the company has ever emitted by 2050.

5. Opt for a carbon neutral website

This is a newer concept that is coming into fashion. To get a carbon neutral website, use the Green Web Foundation’s hosting directory to find a list of sustainable website hosting providers. Or take a look at company pages like HubSpot’s to see what actions website hosting providers are taking to offset carbon.

DIY is an option, too. You may not think much about it, but optimising your website page speed, user experience and even fonts will make it more energy efficient. In fact, you can take the direct approach and offset your website’s carbon by planting trees or engaging third-party developers who can include carbon offsetting in your bill.

6. Aim for Net Zero Ads

WPP, the world's largest advertising company, found that 55 percent of its emissions came from the ad distribution media it uses for clients. For comparison, their office accounted for 1.7 percent.

The power required to serve programmatic digital adverts to thousands of users — which are bid for in an automated auction-based system by hundreds of competitors — is huge. So, if you want to run an ad campaign on LinkedIn, you better consider its environmental impact. Set aside budget to offset your adverts, use careful targeting to avoid waste and work with ad agencies that have signed up for the UK Advertising Association’s Ad Net Zero policy.

7. Make sustainability a target

Only one in 10 UK businesses measure their carbon footprint, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.

Dedicate at least one of your quarterly marketing objectives to sustainability. Just as you might put ‘Get 20 percent more leads’ on your to-do list, put ‘Offset all carbon emissions’ on there, too. Then, implement metrics to measure progress to that goal.

You could even formalise this further, such as by proactively implementing a Climate Action Plan for Marketing. Your boss will thank you for your initiative, trust us.

8. Use climate-aware third-party suppliers

Suppliers are included in your Scope 3 emissions, including inbound marketing, social media, press and ad agencies.

Take the time to choose your suppliers wisely. Look at their sustainability pages on their websites and see where they are on the journey to Net Zero. Work with people whose values align with your own, not the ones that offer the biggest discount or turn up with the flashiest PowerPoint.

Share the Net Zero message

Your marketing department is the voice of your business. So, it’s best placed to share the Net Zero message.

Although this activity won’t directly contribute to Net Zero for your organisation, it makes a difference if you can spread the word to your audience. Your clients and prospects are probably in the same boat as you and would appreciate your perspective. For example, if you provide cloud migration services then you can talk about how cloud hosting is more sustainable than on-prem.

Use your platforms to spread awareness. And share your journey (and this article) with #NetGoodMarketing.

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