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Corporate Social Responsibility Online: Designing High-Performance Websites Simultaneously Reducing Their CO2 Emission Impact

Living reference work entry

Abstract

Being sustainable can imply being user-friendly too: As climate change proceeds, responsible action is necessary in all aspects of life to reduce anthropologic greenhouse gas emissions. Each time a website is loaded, a certain amount of CO2 emissions is caused. This happens due to different digital technology such as data centers, network infrastructure, and end user devices being necessary when browsing the Internet – all consuming energy. Previous research shows how to conceptualize and program fast, efficient, and user-friendly websites to maximize user experience. However, science has not regarded all drivers of designing performant and user-friendly websites as simultaneously being drivers for ecologically sustainable websites as well. This study, therefore, sheds light on how the setup and size of a website affect its CO2 emissions per byte. In addition, it provides a guideline for designing websites in a more ecologically sustainable way, e.g., by using green energy for their data centers and by reducing their sizes. This guideline is then illustrated on the example of 33 homepages of corporations in Germany. The benchmark showcases that up until now corporations leave room for improvement regarding an ecologically sustainable design of their websites. Applying the guideline would reduce the CO2-emission impact. So, if corporations act digitally responsible, they help to stop climate change, they increase the performance of each website as well, thus boosting its user experience simultaneously.

Keywords

CO2 emissions Green energy Digital sobriety CSR online Sustainable website design Green IT 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Master Program Digital Transformation and SustainabilityHSBA Hamburg School of Business AdministrationHamburgGermany

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