Websites generate as much CO2 as more than 1,000 towers around the world

Posted on September 22, 2022 at 17:13Updated on September 22, 2022 at 17:23

Websites, such as those on, generate COtwo and consume water. But how much exactly? This is what Razorfish France, the digital agency of Publicis, and the GreenIT collective wanted to know, looking at the 90 most representative websites of the French economy, including those of the CAC 40, the main commercial sites, media and public services. To do this, the two partners have launched the first barometer to measure this impact. Their findings, released Thursday, are final.

Every year, websites in France reject 8 million kilos of CO equivalenttwo that is, up to 1,140 times around the world (45 million kilometers travelled). These sites also absorb 119 million liters of water, that is, the average consumption of a French person for… 2,244 years. ” It was necessary […] create an electric shock by provoking comparison, so that each company can measure itself against market standards”, explains Charlotte Dollot, general manager of Razorfish France.

The eco-design of websites (depending, for example, on the number of kilobytes generated or the number of round trips with servers) was also analyzed. Result: the 90 sites studied have an average score of 29 out of 100, which corresponds to an E rating (on a scale from A to G). But there are disparities. Overall, utility websites perform better (37 out of 100) than the average and CAC 40 companies (34 out of 100).

7% of GHG emissions in 2040

In any case, the study comes to fill a gap on the subject. It is true that the impact of digital technology on the environment is beginning to be relatively well documented. According to a recent Senate report, digital is today responsible for 2% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in France and potentially 7% in 2040 if nothing is done (i.e. more than 5% of air nowadays). But these studies focus mainly on devices such as smartphones (79% of the digital footprint, according to the latest study by Arcep-Ademe), data centers (16%) and telecommunications networks (5%).

But the two issues are linked. “If we want to keep our team longer, websites need to be lighter,” explains Frédéric Bordage, founder of GreenIT. What triggers obsolescence is the greed for web pages. Problem: a Web page weighs 155 times more today than it did ten years ago.

complex equation

To reduce the bill, GreenIT and Razorfish recommend simple actions, at home and in business: reduce the weight of images sent as attachments, optimize the JavaScript code, simplify the user experience (UX) but also change the culture in companies, by training employees. . The CPME, which represents French SMEs, has just taken up the issue and has published a series of recommendations.

“75% of the energy consumption of computer equipment occurs during periods of inactivity, recalls Alain Assouline, president of the digital commission of the CPME. When you put a PC screen to sleep, you don’t save power. As far as French SMEs are concerned, the equation is complex: they must go digital to catch up with their counterparts in Europe, while lowering the bill.

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