We recently welcomed Gaël Duez, a digital sustainability strategist and founder of the Green IO podcast, to host our webinar discussing the environmental consequences of our digital world and critically what businesses can do to mitigate their impact.

The electricity consumption of the digital sector is becoming a growing concern, with the International Energy Agency confirming 1,600 terawatts was consumed by the sector in 2021 – that’s roughly the same amount as India, the world’s third largest electricity consumer.

It’s not a surprise that with 1.2 billion smartphones sold in 2022, end-user devices account for almost half (45%) of all electricity consumption by the sector, followed by networks and data centres.

But why is this a problem? Because the world’s electricity production remains reliant on fossil fuels, indeed, as much as 60% of production is using our finite resources and releasing Greenhouse Gases (GHG).

Did you know 70-90% of the carbon footprint of your smartphone happens before it’s taken out of the box?


So, what can businesses do to reduce their impact on the sector? There are several quick wins to consider first, and although these are individually small changes, they can have a much larger impact when implemented consistently across businesses;


  • Extend product life
  • Mutualise technologies
  • Re-use or purchase second-hand
  • Recycle

Reducing electricity consumption

  • Turn off/unplug
  • Limit 3G/4G connections
  • Optimise printing

Data Management

  • Avoid unnecessary creation
  • Reduce size
  • Delete

These practical steps are just the beginning towards minimising the environmental weight of data consumed within the digital sector. But should we always be thinking digital first? Lifecycle analysis is a powerful tool to support decision making for sustainable development, guiding you to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of a product or process. For example, it takes 20-40 times the amount of water to make a single e-reader than a book and 60% of downloaded e-books are never opened and are therefore consuming unnecessary data.

At APS, we’re committed to tackling your sustainability challenges, whether that’s for product designs, a new technology platform or printed materials. At every stage, our team will work with you to make sustainable and practical recommendations. Talk to us today, hello@theapsgroup.com.

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