The world of corporate social responsibility has long been dominated by the physical needs of sustainability, with companies focusing on implementing recycling programs, reducing emissions or using renewable energy. Mightybytes, a full-service digital creative firm in Chicago, hopes to add a new dimension to the field.
The company has developed a website called EcoGrader to help companies evaluate the carbon footprint of their websites. Although this is largely overlooked, a website actually can have as sizeable a carbon footprint as a Sunday newspaper, page for web page. However, there are several strategies to reduce that and EcoGrader provides companies with many of those solutions.
EcoGrader uses a methodology of four main elements to get an aggregate score out of 100. The first objective is using a hosting provider that uses renewable energy or has sustainability goals. The other three criteria all surround the idea of using less energy: Findability is the efficiency with which users can find the information they need, to spend less time on the website and therefore use less energy. Design and user experience can be optimized with many mobile optimizations and fewer data-heavy assets such as Flash that require more energy. Finally, the overall speed of loading the webpage can be reduced by the number of files and server requests it takes for the page to load.
EcoGrader released a report evaluating the websites for the Fortune 500 companies. The top five websites for Fortune 500 companies came from food-service company Seaboard Corporation (with a high score of 81), followed by Terex, 3M, LiveNation and Eaton, although only Seaboard Corporation used a hosting provider that sources renewable energy.
The bottom five companies are far lower. Aramark, Domtar, Mattel and Morgan Stanley all sit at the bottom, but United Technologies finds the basement with a low score of 13.
EcoGrader provides a new way to evaluate a company and a new metric for measuring its corporate social responsibility. The launch of EcoGrader follows recent announcements by companies such as Apple and Salesforce, in which they are now accounting for and taking steps to reduce impacts associated with the IT aspects of their operations.