Becoming A Greener Digital Marketing Agency

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At Nivo, we recently became aware of the scale of the internet’s carbon impact – and frankly, it shocked us. Prompted by the eerie stats, projecting an ever-growing carbon emission fuelled by the ever-growing digital data we produce and collect, the decision was quickly made: it is time to go greener as a digital marketing agency.  

Articles followed articles, books after books, we began to dig and research. We learnt about Nivo’s own digital carbon footprint, and also found that we are doing plenty of good too –  but most importantly, that we do have the opportunity to change our ways and reduce our carbon usage. 

So we put our heads together, all eager and motivated to do our bit of good to the climate. Recently equipped with our sustainability specialists too, it was not long before we started our low-carbon journey to become a greener digital marketing agency. At the beginning of it all we wrote up our list of to-dos, and we are now putting it into a promise, into our green pledge

Our pledge

To be a greener digital marketing agency, we pledge to operate sustainably and to offer sustainable services to our clients. 

For us, this means being carbon-negative and ethical, while promoting the same to our clients. 

What does our pledge mean to us?

Here at Nivo, we define sustainability by the “Triple Bottom Line” and we are committed to focusing as much on our environmental and social impact as we do on our business development.

This means that we pledge to make changes in 5 areas:

  • We challenge ourselves to run a less polluting business.
  • We change our services to be better for the environment. 
  • We continue to be ethical and moral with our internal practices.
  • We make a commitment that everything we produce will continue to be ethical and moral.  
  • Finally, we aim to shake up our business development practices and become certified BCorp.

How are we planning to become a greener digital marketing agency?

We started by looking at our own business. 

We have a website ourselves, and of course, we have a physical operation too. Both of their pollutions can be translated into carbon, i.e. CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. 

We found a number of very useful tools that helped us understand our website’s carbon. Amongst those were the Website Carbon Calculator and the Ecograder, which set us up for a good start. Using these we are in the process of calculating the average carbon our website releases at any one time sometimes visits a page – we know that this will be a little over than the average web page on the internet, which is currently thought to be approximately 1.76g CO2. 

To reduce this, we will redesign our website and switch to a green host. We will set a target once we are clear on our average carbon release.

We put together a detailed list of actions to follow for our new website design; we aim to cut out unnecessary, energy-hungry content and rethink our website architecture. This not only will reduce the energy need of our webpages, but our customers will also get a faster-loading, less-complicated website. 

We realised that huge carbon savings can be achieved just by running our website on renewable energy, i.e. opting for a green host. The Green Web Foundation was a good place to start, but this selection had to be refined. Being aware that not all renewable energy claims are equal, we developed stringent criteria to shortlist the most sustainable hosts. Knowing that green hosting doesn’t just stop at sourcing renewables, our criteria required the host company to be reliable, speedy, local to us and the majority of our customers and to offer technologies such as caching, static pages and content delivery networks, to minimise our data load.

To understand the carbon footprint of our physical operations, we will be using specialist carbon calculator tools. There are numerous tools available on the market, and we wouldn’t like to settle with one that we don’t 100% believe in. We aim to find the most accurate, reliable tool which is suited to the circumstances of our company. We are currently in conversations with a number of teams of newly developed tools, and still to see which is best to work with. 

Once we are clear on our carbon footprint, we will develop an action plan on how to monitor and minimise our impact. We will base this on the Green Impact Scheme, which will record activities, KPIs and improvements. 

Finally, once we know our overall carbon footprint, we will have the opportunity to choose a scheme to offset our carbon. Initially, we will offset all our carbon emissions. Once we have reduced our digital and operational carbon footprint, we will continue to offset our remaining carbon to become carbon-negative. 

We came across hundreds of carbon offsetting schemes, which prompted us to find more details on which choice would be best for our planet. We now see that there is a huge difference between a great, and a good scheme, and how effectively they can support habitats, communities, and the climate. Our selected scheme will be Gold Standard Certified; this is our way to assure that our good deed goes as far as possible. 

After all our research, the question arose: can we also make changes in our fellow website holders’ digital carbon footprint?

To ensure that we stand up for what we preach, we commit to encouraging both of our new and existing customers to aim for being carbon-negative on the web. We will do this by starting to offer and actively promote low-carbon website design and the option for choosing a green host, as part of our main services. We have already created and continue to create informative blogs on websites’ carbon footprint, backed by facts, to raise awareness of the global climate crisis, and what businesses can do to limit their digital carbon footprint. This will contribute to us being an even greener digital marketing agency.

We then reviewed our ethics.

We are already running an ethical, moral and fair business, and will continue to do so by applying the below measures. These refer to both our own working environment (operation) and our production. 

  • We are GDPR-compliant and committed to permission-based marketing and data privacy, specifically in our key source market, Europe. Equivalent policies will be adapted from other regions when applicable to our business (such as CCPA in the United States, CASL in Canada and APP in Australia). We aim for a 48-hour response time (or less) for any customer query regarding data or security.
  • We take responsibility for and protect the consumers’ data that we collect. 
  • We are compliant with Google’s webmaster guidelines.
  • We block and reject all 3rd-party digital media placements on external websites that do not align with our corporate values, spread misinformation or support hatred and oppression.
  • We display and promote our products, pricing and purpose accurately and truthfully. We commit to doing the same for our clients too.
  • We commit that our own SEO, as well as the SEO services we provide to our clients, is done ethically and on merit, based on genuine relationships and partnerships, and we will not purchase links or engage in otherwise unethical behaviour as outlined in Google’s webmaster guidelines.
  • We commit to accessible web design to ensure customers can understand, navigate and interact with our own site and sites we produce equally.
  • We promote diversity and equality, requiring respectful, fair, non-discriminative and non-biased behaviour from all of our team members and on a corporate level. This means us treating everyone equally, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital or family status and national origin.
  • We commit that all of our work, including digital marketing and website design, continue to be fair and honest. We continue to promote diversity and equality, taking great care that everything we produce and post is respectful, fair, non-discriminate, inclusive and non-biased, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, national origin and looks.
  • We avoid marketing approaches considered to be unethical, such as direct marketing, especially when the approaches included are unsolicited and “bait and switch” methods, for example. We do not apply and do not promote anti-competition, for example, products with planned obsolescence, pyramid schemes and unethical comparison marketing.
  • We aim to promote and improve work-life balance, creating an achievable working and living environment for team members of all ages and various stages of their life, such as students, young families, and people with major life events. We plan to do this by offering both part-time and full-time positions; arranging working hours around our team members’ other long term commitments; promoting working from home; trialling agile working in the near future; trialling a 4-day working week, and actively supporting apprenticeship programmes. 

Our principles will be set in our Ethics Policy, which we will make available to, and requested to be signed by, all team members.

Finally, we decided to become a certified B-Corp Company. 

We are excited about the green challenges we set ourselves in our pledge. It seemed to be a good time to open up for even more changes. 

We pledge to become a certified B-Corp Company. With that, we aim to become a more transparent business, improve the ways we look after our team members, help make our community a better place, and actively try to preserve the environment.

If you want to find out more about how we are working to cut down our company’s digital carbon footprint, and how you can do the same, let us know.

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