How can a digital agency be more sustainable?

Most of us would assume that all things digital were better for the environment, right? Paper waste or transit costs surely would have a much bigger environmental impact?

Surprisingly, digital channels like websites and email do actually have a carbon footprint and can create more carbon in some instances than traditional marketing channels. From the tech we hold in our hands everyday through to data centres, we are producing equal to the aviation industry globally through digital consumption in business and in our personal lives.

Websites create emissions and quite simply - use energy. In fact in some instances websites and email can emit the same amount of carbon that 5 trees absorb across a year. That’s a heck of a lot of carbon from a source that is online and not physical.

Here are some of the ways they use up energy, and therefore emit carbon, along with some actions you can take to reduce this:



Slow page load speed

Optimise and compress images and video content; don’t overuse animation or graphics

Poor UX

Consider UX and reduce number of clicks needed to reach content

Coding practice

Work to best practice coding to reduce the load on a database server

Servers held in physical data centres

Opt for cloud-based hosting

Emails take up space

Cleanse your mailbox on a regular basis. Delete emails that you’ve read and don’t need.

Sending multiple emails again expand energy

Consider sending fewer emails such as the on-going sign off email trail ‘Thanks for that’ ‘No problem’ ‘Have a good day’ ‘You too’ – you can see how some of these responses carry on conversations where they are not needed.

Copying (CC) in multiple people

Only copy in those who absolutely need to be copied in.


Unsubscribe to every single spam email and report junk mail to your email provider.

Dormant accounts

Delete those accounts you don’t use


Review who your email provider is and what their sustainability policy is. Switch to a more ethical provider if it could be better.

There are small steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact and it all starts with intention. If there are any points from above that you could change, or plan to change in the future, then it will have a positive impact. Here at Phoenix Digital we are striving to make some changes for the better. 

There’s still more to do, but we are already doing some pretty impactful stuff:

  • Our hosting environment is all cloud-based and is powered by renewable energy
  • We work in an energy efficient building at MediaCityUK, and we all use reusable cups too
  • We employ best practice when it comes to coding to ensure our builds are quick-loading, plus our technology of choice is framework-based, so we can keep coding lines to a minimum
  • Data cleansing is one of our favourite things to do
  • We are a paperless business
  • We can all, and often do, work remotely too which saves on our travelling impact
  • We hold many of our meetings online to reduce our need to travel
  • We're active with the sustainability team here at MediaCityUK and have regularly taken part in litter-picks - most recently in support of World Ocean Day.

We plan to make further improvements to our operations in other areas of the business over the coming years too and strive to help our clients achieve their sustainability goals.

To chat all things green, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line!