“Even Digital Businesses Have A Climate Role To Play
I thought, well you know, the best way to find out whether it is possible to run a business in a sustainable way is to start a business and try and to do it.”
In my latest video, Tom speaks with me about his realisation that even wholly digital businesses have a climate impact, their journey to building a sustainable business, BCorp certification and the importance of action on climate for all our futures on Earth.
My Thoughts on the Conversation
Tom’s story is inspirational and is a great example of how curiosity can help make this world a better place, and couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. As I write this, world leaders have gathered in Glasgow for COP26 to talk about the climate crisis. Tom’s story provides insights into how even a series of small, incremental steps taken by all of us, can have a sum greater than their parts.
Tom’s journey started with the realisation that, actually, even digital-only businesses have a climate impact, and despite the common wisdom of the time, this impact is non-negligible. In fact, as Tom mentions in the interview, the combined carbon emissions of the Internet is currently equal to that of Germany — the 7th largest country-level contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
This is astonishing. As mentioned previously on this site (article link below), each and every digital action we take has an environmental impact. In the simplest of terms, you can think about this from the point of view of the amount of electricity it takes to run your computer. If you turn your computer off it uses almost no energy. When you turn it on, it takes energy to wake up, and then will settle down into a rest state (or sleep) if you leave it alone. In this state it still uses energy to keep it ready and alert, maybe waking temporarily to keep the clock in time, to check for emails or when a social network pings you. When you watch a movie, the computer is busy using energy to run the hard disks, to power the screen, to use the processors to decode the video and to exchange data over the wifi. In essence, the more you use your computer (or smartphone) the more energy it consumes.
All of that energy needs to come from somewhere.
Watch the interview here https://wellthatsinteresting.tech/building-a-sustainable-business/