Sustainable web design and e-commerce

Sustainable web design and e-commerce: Taking an iterative approach

Sim de Roemer
06th December 2023

In the ever-changing landscape of the digital world, there's a common misunderstanding that digital inherently carries a green footprint. However the reality unveils a different narrative. Although digital may bypass packaging or transportation, it con

According to Tom Greenwood's insights on sustainable web design, a substantial portion of the energy used by an average website is dedicated to transmitting data through telecom networks. Fabio Torlini from WP Engine reveals that a typical data centre consumes as much electricity as Maidenhead, a town with sixty thousand people.

With this in mind, it's tempting to consider a radical overhaul when confronted with the environmental impact of your digital footprint. But here at Thursday, we advocate for an iterative approach—small changes that add up to significant improvements. So, what can you do?

Here are 7 examples of actionable steps you can take today:

1. Measure and Acknowledge:

  • Carbon Footprint: Start by measuring your website's carbon footprint. Understanding the baseline is crucial for tracking progress and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Carbon Calculators: Websites such as and offer free website carbon calculators to help you understand the environmental impact of your website - generating awareness and inspiring a drive towards a more sustainable internet. 

2. Optimise Content:

  • Define Purpose: Scrutinise your content. Ensure that every element serves a purpose and contributes meaningfully to your message.
  • Avoid Heavy Elements: Cut down on resource-intensive elements like background videos and large image carousels. 
  • Copywriting: Embrace the power of storytelling through concise and beautiful copywriting, eliminating the need to feature large, load-heavy images.

3. Technical Enhancements:

  • Adopt Modern Image Formats: Switch to formats like WEBP to reduce file sizes without compromising quality.
  • Lazy Loading: Implement lazy loading for images to enhance page loading efficiency.
  • Compression: Minify and compress Javascript and CSS files to reduce data transfer requirements.
  • CDN Integration: Leverage Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to minimise the distance data travels, reducing energy consumption.

4. Streamline User Experience (UX):

  • Simplicity is Key: Keep your UX simple and straightforward. A streamlined experience not only conserves energy but also enhances user satisfaction.
  • Navigation Efficiency: Make it easy for users to find what they need.
  • Reducing steps in UX tasks, especially in e-commerce checkouts, benefits both accessibility and sustainability.

5. Explore Renewable Hosting:

  • Make the Switch: Consider migrating to a hosting provider that prioritises renewable energy sources. Servers are always on and resource-intensive, so opting for greener options makes a significant impact.
  • Beware of Offsetting: Be cautious of offsetting claims. Ensure that your hosting provider genuinely prioritises sustainable practices.

6. Engage Your Partners:

  • Raise Awareness: Initiate a conversation with your agency or hosting provider about the environmental impact of digital practices. By raising awareness, you contribute to a collective effort toward sustainability.

7. Consider Shared Hosting:

  • Collaborative Solutions: Explore shared hosting options. Sharing resources with other websites can lead to more efficient energy use.

Remember, sustainability is a journey, and every small step contributes to a greener digital landscape.

Let’s have a conversation around how we can help by making your digital presence more mindful and environmentally conscious.