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Brief Published: 4 Dec 2020

Can We Have a Sustainable Relationship with the Internet?


CO2 emissions from small online activities add up faster than we think; if every adult in the UK sent one less ‘thank you’ email, it could save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year (BBC Future, 2020). We spotlight new initiatives that highlight and offset internet carbon consumption for conscious customers.

  • Green is a Neutral: Debuted in May, browser extension Neutral lets users track their carbon footprint when shopping on Amazon. Available on Chrome and Firefox, it reveals the emissions for a product over its entire life span – from creation, to transport, to eventual disposal. To encourage greener consumption, Neutral equates product emissions to real-life climate scenarios, such as the corresponding weight of glacial ice melted. Consumers can pay to offset the carbon footprint of their internet shopping via Neutral – so far, users have offset more than 53,000kg of CO2. 
  • Checking Conscious Credentials: Consumers can check the sustainability of a website with The Green Web, a Chrome extension launched in July. The add-on flags the eco status of websites in search pages with emojis – a green smiley face indicates that the server of that website is running on green power, while a grey sad face reveals sites powered by fossil fuels. 
  • Making the Grade: Created by Certified B Corp Mightybytes in October, web app Ecograder provides a ‘sustainability score’ for any website submitted. The score is calculated by looking at factors like how quickly users accomplish on-page tasks, how swiftly they can navigate the site, and whether the server is powered by renewable energy.