Digital Waste Audit

This audit is focused on identifying digitally wasteful processes and activities that hinder sustainability. At the end of the audit you will get a rating from A to E, and a set of clear recommendations on what you need to do to improve. The average cost is in the region of €10,000 to €15,000.

What is measured

The audit will focus on the following areas:

1) Culture
2) Devices
3) Websites
4) Communication

Culture

A multi-disciplinary, cross-functional culture reduces digital waste by helping target unnecessary creation and duplication. A sustainable digital culture questions needless creation, collection and tracking. It focuses on durability. Key to waste reduction is establishing clear lines of responsibility for data and ensuring everything is properly maintained. Reuse and sharing should be prioritized and the overall metricsshould focus on use and usefulness, not production, launch and leave.

1. Multi-disciplinary, cross-functional culture
2. Responsibility
3. Durability
4. Creation, collection, tracking
5. Reuse
6. Sharing
7. Maintenance, archiving, deletion
8. Measurement, analytics

Devices

Durability. 80% of digital waste is created during device manufacture. Holding onto devices for as long as possible is the single most important way to reduce digital waste.

1. Minimum specs
2. Highest energy ratings
3. Long life:durable, repairable
4. Recycling
5. Screens
6. Energy conservation
7. Charging
8. Transferring data

Websites

We have a website obesity crisis. Websites have exploded in weight and become hugely wasteful and polluting.Images and videos require particular focus as they are the prime drivers in the huge weight and waste increases on the Web. It’s also essential to remove all the waste that has built up in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, fonts, etc.

1. Webpages

a) Average page weight
b) Average page load time
c) HTML
d) JavaScript
e) CSS
f) Fonts
g) Third-party plugins
h) Caching
i) Tracking, logging
j) Bots
k) Content Delivery Network (CDN) architecture

2. Images, video

a) Use, function
b) Compression
c) File formats
d) Image sizing / resizing
e) Lazy load
f) Load on demand

3. File formats

a) Optimal use

4. Analytics

a) Page errors
b) System errors

5. Old content

a) Archiving
b) Deletion

6. Hosting

a) Renewable energy

 

Communication

Unnecessary communication drives digital waste. Email and meeting overload is not simply bad for the environment, it’s bad for people and productivity. A proliferation of email attachments often reflects a lack of confidence in the search and information architecture.

1. Email

a) Quantity
b) Format (text, HTML)
c) Signatures
d) Thread management
e) CCs
f) Attachments

2. Online meetings

a) Use of video
b) Screen sizes
c) Transmission, processing
d) Storage

3. Templates

a) PowerPoint
b) Word

How audit will be carried out

Three core activities will be involved in the Digital Waste Audit:
1. Management interviews
2. Employee survey
3. Website review

Manager interviews

Structured interviews with appropriate managers mainly covering culture, communication, and digital device management. The questions are weighted based on overall importance, and each question can get from zero to 5 based on how well the answer complies with the optimal answer.

 

Employee interviews

Finding out what employees think about the organizational culture and how able they feel they are to work in a sustainable manner.

Website review

There will be a detailed technical review of the website to identify areas of waste. Some of this will be automated, some will require review, and some will involve interviewing a technical expert within your organization.

Deliverables

1. An overall rating from A (excellent) to E (very poor).
2. Individual ratings for:

a. Culture
b. Devices
c. Website
d. Communication

3. Key findings: What were the most striking things that were discovered.
4. Key recommendations: Clear and precise recommendations in relation to how to reduce digital waste.

Costs

For a small environment, the cost can be in the region of €6,000, but typical costs are in the region of €10,000 to €15,000, with very large environments costing €20,000 and upwards.

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