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In my dream world, I wake up early and spend my days teaching people how to ride snowboards in nature with good humans sliding downhill. Between 2016 and 2022, in my mid-40s, I found myself carving out over 100 days a year on a snowboard. It was a delicate balance, navigating business demands alongside my passion for snowboarding. In my book, “Inhabitus,” I delve into the trials and triumphs of those four years, reflecting on the profound impact the balance of nature and nurture had on my life. 

But my focus shifts to a different slope – Techwashing (Greenwashing your tech stack)! Just as gravity guides a snowball downhill, the trajectory of technological progress often follows a predictable path, tackling the low-hanging fruit first. The rise of powerhouses like Amazon and Google, alongside the ubiquity of smartphones, promised a world of effortless connectivity and instant gratification. The digital landscape transformed daily tasks into mere taps on a screen, from summoning a car to ordering groceries. Yet, amidst this whirlwind of convenience, a fundamental question looms: What is technology’s true purpose?

As Reny charted our course towards B Corp certification, it was a journey of deep introspection. 

In another life, I worked at Chanel, where they shared stories of Coco’s life. One of them sticks with me: When Coco would leave the house in the morning, she had a ritual of removing an item before stepping out into the world, maybe a scarf or a ring! Interestingly, over the years, Chanel businesses adopted a similar principle in their own business, removing before they added. Most companies add and continue to add, rarely removing. 

Our B Corp journey forced us to strip away outdated processes, partnerships, and practices that no longer resonated with our values. This process unearthed the hidden costs of our actions and the burden of excess.

Yet, amidst the removal, we found room for addition – purpose, intentionality, and responsibility. We changed everything. We embraced a carbon-neutral office space and transitioned to sustainable banks and energy providers. We even changed our super providers to ones that did not put money into fossil fuels, and, most importantly for us, a complete review of our digital footprint became imperative. In doing so, we discovered a new dimension of responsibility – digital sustainability.

Techwashing, once coined to describe deceptive practices in the business realm, took on a new meaning. It became a call to action, a stark reminder of the significant environmental impact of our digital presence. 4% of global carbon emissions stem from digital activities alone, and 80% of all product environmental issues originate during the design phase. 

This reality compelled us to scrutinise not just our actions but those of others as well. We’ve identified 112 companies that claim to prioritise climate action but host their websites on fossil fuel-powered servers, contradicting their purported green stance.

Transitioning to green hosting wasn’t just the start (although that is simple, all in a day’s work; if your agency doesn’t need to do it, send them an email). With each revelation, we realise the weight of our collective responsibility; rebuilding would mean reviewing everything: the content on our website, the platforms we build on, and the tools we use to design. Everything, including challenging decisions around animations and content, had to be made. Our website reflects a balance of design principles, requirements, and things you can’t see because the impact wouldn’t make climate sense. 

As custodians of technology, we can shape its trajectory, infusing it with resilience, meaning, and connection. We can choose to embrace boundaries, responsibilities, and obligations commensurate with the influence we wield.

We can shape technology’s narrative, redefining its purpose beyond just convenience.

Design is the starting point of our responsibility to our planet,  our communities, and future generations. In a world of choices, choose wisely. 

Be the architects of a future where technology serves both convenience and humanity.

**If you are reading this and want to take action regarding your website’s carbon impact, click here.