W3C Issues Web Sustainability Guidelines
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 29 September 2023

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Sustainable Web Design Community Group has released a draft report on sustainable web design. The Web Sustainability Guidelines (WSG) 1.0 set out ways to design and implement digital products and services that put people and the planet first.

The Sustainable Web Design Community Group's charter is that it will create guidelines, tools, and resources for web and digital professionals to incorporate environmental sustainability and related principles into their workflows and work practices. The goal of the group is to make the process of creating digital products more sustainable, while the use of digital products should also encourage better practices for users.


The report sets out guidelines for best practices that the group says are based on measurable, evidence-based research. The guidelines are in line with the Sustainable Web Manifesto, and are aligned with GRI Standards. The Sustainable Web Manifesto sets out a commitment to create a sustainable internet. It was founded by Tom Greenwood, author of a book about sustainable web design, along with other people from the web industry, including designers and academics. It isn't particularly high profile, but over 1,000 organizations, including Google, Mozilla, and the World Wide Web Consortium, are signatories. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards lay out standards for sustainability reporting. 

The W3C announcement of the guidelines quotes the figure that the digital industry is responsible for 2-5% of global emissions, more than the aviation industry, saying that if the Internet were a country it would be one of the top five polluters.

The new guidelines provide best practices and recommendations for reducing the environmental impact of web development and design, such as minimizing data transfer, optimizing images, and using green hosting.

Every guideline is supported by evidence and examples with information about the impact it has, the effort involved in implementation, and the specific benefits. WSG has four major categories: User Experience Design; Web Development; Hosting, Infrastructure and Systems; and Business Strategy And Product Management.





More Information

Web Sustainability Guidelines

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Last Updated ( Friday, 29 September 2023 )