Digital sobriety: 5 easy actions to put in place

12 June 2023 | digital pollution

Digital sobriety, why is it so important?

The connected devices have now invaded our daily. Still anecdotic a few years ago, nowadays the phones, tablets, computers, games console and other connected devices are part of our life. And they have a primordial place. We use them to share photos, send emails, watch movies or videos, use social networks. Only, this thirst of digital has a cost in terms of digital pollution. Tend to digital sobriety is a necessity, we will see here what the good gestures are, in five easy actions to put in place to tend to a digital future more responsible.

Digital sobriety: definition

The digital society is a movement, a trend aiming to reduce the carbon impact of the digital world and at the same time, its carbon emissions. This concept is carried in France by Frederic Bordage, engineer and also founder of GreetIT, the Shift Project and Think-Tank. It also needs a change of the global thought: reduce its carbon balance by purchasing less devices, promote the low-tech, use greener and renewable energies to feed data centers, the eco-conception of websites, etc. It’s time to use this.

Key numbers on the digital sector impact

To understand what we talk about and especially why it is necessary to act, we can do a parallel. There’s nothing more concrete than numbers to realize an impact, whatever it is. And here, the one of the pollution linked to the Internet.

Indeed, we are nowadays close to 4 billion to connect us, and for example, just the video streaming in 2022 is responsible for as much CO2 emissions as a country like Spain. Just the digital sector represents 4% of greenhouse gasses emissions in the world. And with technological development, this number strongly risks to increase. Indeed, it could double by 2025, and reach the same carbon balance as personal vehicles.

Concerning France, this number decreases at 2%, nevertheless (thanks to an electric energy a bit carbonated -thanks to the nuclear), it could reach the 7% by about 20 years.

But why these staggering figures

  • The equipment represent 47% of the pollution in the digital industry
  • Infrastructures for the network reach 28%
  • And finally, the position of data centers, which we all did talk about in an article before, represent 25% of carbon emissions of the sector.

These three sources of pollution increase their energy consumption of 9% every year. This explains these numbers and their increasing.

Finally, a phone before it arrives in our pocket, between its manufacturing, the extraction of materials and the distribution runs the equivalent of 4 times around the earth. With the obsolescence programmed and the release every year of new phones, 88% of French people are changing phones while it’s still in a good state…

Here’s why digital sobriety seems to be a solution in order to reduce the digital carbon balance. Let’s see this in detail.

How to decarbonate the digital and the economy

We are going to see, looking attentively, that, in the five actions to put in place to get closer from a digital sobriety, if these changes are useful, the global action is more pertinent then.

Indeed, thinking globally allows to train a positive synergy and also to adapt all these choices and changes in function of companies. A deep change of thought on the sustainability of devices and on the management of energies would allow a real positive tendency.

The digital sector can be sustainable following our use of every object. Indeed, getting rid of it would have no interest either for the company or for consumers. These devices often represent an important cost when we buy it, without considering the necessary impact generated by their recycling (when it’s possible). One of the clues is to reduce and to extend the lifespan of these devices. For this, it’s possible to put in place several actions.

So, in terms of digital sobriety, to which actions and solutions can we turn to in order to act?

Digital sobriety: 5 actions to put in place

It’s an idea that ‘s spread every day a bit more that says that a dematerialized society is more economical in energy consumption. She would participate, in fact, at the ecological and energetic transition. Yet, we have seen, for example in our article treating the unsuspicious impact of digital, that this affirmation isn’t receivable, and all the challenge to slow down this frantic race.

Make a step for digital sobriety: 5 actions to put in place.

Action 1: Verify the energetic impact on connected object

Technological innovations are often taken for granted too fast. Only, have we thought to measure its impact beforehand? This solution could actually cost you more in terms of energy consumption. Thus, it needs to be in measure to ask itself the two good questions in a month:

  • What is the energetic cost of the production of this object?
  • What is its real consumption in operation?
  • What is its real consumption on standby? According to the ADEME, a computer on standby would use 20% to 40% of the equivalent of its consumption while working. This represents 15 to 30 kg of CO2 per year and up to 100 euros of electricity per year.

Action 2: Extend the life span of our indispensable connected objects

When we buy a digital object, it’s important to have in mind the impact of the construction. Indeed, nearly 600 kilos of raw materials are necessary for a computer of 2 kilos. 50 metals are necessary to build a phone, a trend that goes fast because about 10 years ago, only about 20 was enough. Digital equipment represent 47% of greenhouse gasses emissions in the digital sector. For example, using a tablet for 4 years rather than 2 years increases of 50% its carbon balance according to the ADEME. Can’t we take care of our objects? Changing less often? It’s also digital sobriety.

In company, this also includes managing the digital fleet. Integrate their sustainability, and reemployment in the company is the first track (a fleet of identical PCs allows for example to repair them more easily). Use the purchase or the resell for the second hand allows to extend the lifespan of digital devices.

Action 3: Use a search engine responsibly

The carbon balance of the internet is very important because of the data storage on data centers, but also on the carbon footprint of the website can be as consequent, depending on its weight, research on Google emits 5 to 7 grams of CO2. To avoid these emissions,  it’s better to add the most consulted sites in your favorite in your browser or phone, or to directly put the URL of the website. Put for example in your favorite the site of your bank, actuality sites, or your favorite shopping sites.

Action 4: website eco-conception

To end our research concerning digital sobriety, here’s a point where Greenoco is a specialist: the website eco-conception.

Indeed, you have to please the search engine, without deteriorating the user experience still by allying energy economies to use the least possible data centers and limit the carbon footprint of a website.

Eco-design a website presents several advantages not only for the environment but also for your clients:

  • We are focusing on the essential: less widgets and less gadgets. The client won’t be lost, less distracted, and the weight of your website is lightened. Do you know for example that on average, half of the developed functionalities on the site are never used? Yet they consume resources and electricity.
  • The website is faster, the rebound rates will be weaker, and actually, the user experience will be better
  • This increases the referency
  • The site is easy to decrypt by search engines, the user experience is good. In fact, you will easily go up in search and more people will be able to access your site!

To eco-design a website, several good practices:

  1.   Identify the necessary real functionalities (by realizing customers’ workshops for example to know their real expectations)
  2.   Optimize resources: weight and optimization of pictures, minification of scripts and CSS, use of typo Woff2, …
  3.   A good use of hiding and cutting.

Finally, you can share your server. Indeed, a site doesn’t need a server with full capacity 24h/24 and 7j/7. So, despite the energy and avoid waste, it’s possible to share its host server with other companies to lead your company into the digital sobriety, it’s what we call the mutualized servers.

Action 5: call on Greenoco

Greenoco has Oh Christmas developed a solution allowing to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of websites. By analyzing your audience, the contents of every page and the host country, we are helping you to optimize your website. You can easily identify the optimization of a website to realize and reduce the digital carbon footprint and reduce the time of latency on your site. A light site allows in fact to reduce the electric consumption of data centers, and the one of the users devices: thus, computers and phones require less resources and are economized.

Our solution allows to fix several problems at the same time, still by being beneficial to the common good!


We have seen it, reduce its digital carbon balance works among others, by extending the lifespan of its connected objects, use search engines responsibly but also by limiting the new digital devices. YES

Besides, to eco-design his website, it’s up to you to call Greenoco, specialist for the reduction of carbon emissions of website.

You want to know more and plan a demonstration? It’s right there!

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