Digital technology now causes about 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than civil aviation. According to l'ADEME, this figure could double between now and 2025 if no change takes place. Because this impact on the climate is not sustainable, and because we have understood that our resources are not infinite, we wanted to become players in questioning our digital consumption patterns and thinking about new models. We remain convinced that digital is an essential lever for innovation and virtuous development on a global scale, but only if we manage to create the conditions for a more sober and, if possible, regenerative use.
FileVert is our first step in tackling this challenge. Why? Because file transfer is a representative example of the impact of our actions in the digital world, which seems infinite compared to the reality of a physical world with limited resources. Today, we want to offer consumers the conditions to become aware of and adopt more responsible digital alternatives, by providing them with a file transfer tool and an information vector with a controlled and reasoned footprint, as well as documentary resources that enable them to concretely reduce their digital footprint on a daily basis. We wish to involve individuals, of course, but above all companies, which have a key role to play in the implementation of the new models.
Focus on data, 27% of the problem!
Our data is stored in more than 4,517 data centers in 123 countries. And all of this comes at a cost to the environment: greenhouse gases, the use of large quantities of water for cooling systems, 60 million tons of non-recyclable electronic waste, the use of non-renewable raw materials... All symbols of a plethoric consumption of resources that we now know are gone.
3 out of 4 French people do not know what digital pollution is
The second problem we face is that for the majority of French people, the Internet is dematerialized and therefore positive for the planet! It's less paper, fewer trees cut down, connected thermostats that save energy? As a result, only 40% of French people make the link between their computer, their phone and climate change... and 73% of French people have never heard of digital ecology!
For the moment, the benefits for the climate are far from offsetting the pollution linked to infrastructures that consume a lot of resources and electricity. And while the law for energy transition and green growth of 17 August 2015 (LTECV) has set the objective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2030, digital technology cannot escape the need for adjustment.
Digital sobriety as an alternative
To achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, digital technology must keep pace with controlled and reasoned consumption, which now concerns all sectors. As we reduce our consumption of meat, we prefer the train to the plane, or we abandon plastic water bottles in favour of reusable ones: everyone must now commit to a more sober and « conscious » digital consumption.
Many tips and tools already exist: we have gathered them all together in a guide to good digital practices.
The French are waiting for companies to make a commitment
According to Club Green IT, an employee's annual digital footprint averages:
- 3 460 kWh of energy (i.e. 50% of a French person's annual electricity consumption);
- 360 kg of CO2 equivalent (or 1,491 Miles by car);
- 5 000 liters of water (36 days' consumption for a French person);
- 3 kg of electronic waste;
- 20 kg of paper (i.e. 15% of a French person's annual paper + cardboard consumption).
- The e-mails sent to a company with 100 employees for one year are the equivalent of 13 round trips from Paris to New York and back.
It is easy to understand the need for companies to integrate criteria related to digital sobriety into their internal purchasing and usage policies.
An advantage for companies in the age of « raison d’être »
Companies have much to gain by adopting a sustainable continuation of their digital transition, particularly in terms of cost containment but also in terms of image. Indeed, 80% of French people would be more loyal to a brand if it made strong commitments to fight against its digital pollution.
FileVert, a company with a mission
With FileVert, we position ourselves as a mission-oriented company, i.e. one whose raison d'être is resolutely turned towards the common good. This is a necessity at a time when we are facing a major challenge and we must, individually and collectively, imagine the uses of tomorrow.
Let us take up the challenge together!