Online Shopping? Beware of the digital carbon footprint

The transition from fashion to digital is not as sustainable as we might think.

The longer we spend online, the greater the demand for electricity. By 2020, global Internet usage will increase by 40%. A study by Yale University shows that digital activities are proliferating, from online shopping to attending fitness classes to meeting at Zoom-the hidden environmental costs that require an additional 42.6 million megawatt-hours of electricity.

Henry Cavy Madani (Kaveh Madani) said: “Pandemic-related digital transformation has important environmental benefits, such as reducing travel-related carbon emissions, but the transition to a digital-centric world is not like people’s It’s as clean as you think.” Hart Rice, a senior researcher on the Middle East Research Committee of the Macmillan Center for International and Regional Studies at Yale University, led the study. “We want to provide people with the information they need to make the right choices so that they don’t develop habits that are harmful to the environment and difficult to destroy.”

Digital carbon footprint
The study predicts that if remote work and other physical distance requirements continue until 2021, the world will generate an additional 34.3 million tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The study said that to make up for this, a forest is needed, twice the size of Portugal.

Data released by Save on Energy shows that due to the large number of fast fashion searches on Google, which major city in the UK has the largest carbon dioxide emissions and which brands have the largest digital footprint.

Based on the number of site searches of online retailers and their emissions per site visit, London may have the highest total carbon dioxide emissions overall. It is estimated that the capital emits more than 9 million grams of carbon dioxide per month on average. This is roughly equivalent to 9005 kg of carbon dioxide, or flying from London Heathrow Airport to Perth and back and forth twice. Birmingham and Liverpool are in the top three.

It was found that Boohoo produced the highest carbon dioxide emissions per visit, at 7.21 grams. Followed by Nasty Gal with a weight of 5.18g, Forever 21 with a weight of 4.80, Fashion Nova with a weight of 4.48g, and Misspap with a weight of 4.17g. Each visit to Asos and Zara emits the least CO2, at 1.23g and 1.43g respectively.

According to data from Save on Energy, followed by the UK’s most searched online fashion retailer, with an average monthly search volume of 5,100,000. Asos, Matalan, Bohoo and Newlook entered the top five.

In order to find out which online fashion retailer may be the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions, Save on Energy analyzed the total number of searches for each brand and the number of grams of CO2 generated per visit to its website. Based on this, they assumed that every search led to a visit to their website, and they estimated the fashion retailer most likely to generate the highest carbon dioxide emissions per month. Next has the highest monthly emissions of 14,127g. Boohoo (10,815 grams), Asos (3,075 grams), New Look (2,716 grams) and H&M (2,628 grams) are the countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions.

Fashion needs to adopt a framework based on green IT solutions
To make the website’s carbon content lower, this means using sustainable digital solutions to update the design and user experience (UX), such as switching to dark mode and using smaller images to reduce data transfer, page weight Unnecessary page views. Switching to web hosting powered by renewable energy will also reduce the digital footprint.

In terms of granularity, each Internet search consumes about 0.3 Wh of energy and helps release 0.2g of CO2 in the environment. Regarding the UI and UX of the website, many best practices are recommended to make it more environmentally friendly. Rethinking website construction practices will have a positive impact on climate change.

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