Digital Cleanup Protects your Business and our Planet
We celebrate Digital Cleanup Day once a year, but responsible organizations do it every day. Digital waste threatens both our safety and our environment. Studies estimate the internet will consume 20 percent of the world’s total energy by 2030.*
Just because there are bigger threats to our planet, does not mean we should not act on this one. Digital cleanup is not only an easy and free way to take climate action, it actually saves you money and benefits your business.
Getting rid of your digital waste reduces risks and saves money
Many ESG activities require investment, digital cleanup is not one of them. Digital cleanup is a rare example of climate action that every organization can easily get started with, and immediately leverage the long list of benefits:
- Digital cleanup saves money: storing digital waste in the cloud adds up $$$, especially actively securing it.
- Digital cleanup increases online privacy and safety. Just because you don't need the data does not mean someone else could not use it for harm. By eliminating digital waste, responsible organizations can protect their employees' and customers' data from being exploited.
- Digital cleanup increases employee security awareness. It's an opportunity to talk about security risks related to our digital footprints, and support employees in reducing them.
- Digital cleanup reduces the security risks related to forgotten backups and unused systems. If you are not using something, you are unlikely to be patching it. Unpatched systems are easy prey for attackers.
- Digital cleanup reduces your organization's environmental load.
- Digital cleanup helps organize clear digital workspaces, which increase efficiency and decrease frustration.
- Digital Cleanup Day provides an opportunity for fantastic team-building activities with both social and environmental impact.
- Digital Cleanup Day is great for your brand. Invite other organizations to join you in digital cleanups to help spread awareness of the issue, and show your employees and customers that you care about the problem of digital pollution.
How can my organization do Digital Cleanup?
Chances are, you are doing many of these things already. The next step is making these things part of your corporate culture, and coming up with quantitative and qualitative measures of your progress that you can report on.
|What?||Get Started||Go Beyond|
|Apps and Systems||
Step 1: Make a list of apps and systems your organization uses.
Step 2: Assign someone responsible for each system.
Step 3: Once every 3-6 months, verify each app is still in use and go over all accounts that have access to it. Delete unused user accounts.
|Select apps and systems by climate neutral or positive partners.|
Organize regular Cleanup Days where employees can delete files that are no longer needed.
Record which files are business critical and which records must be kept by law. Assign storage times and procedures for adhering to them.
|Automate deletion of files that no longer need to be stored.|
Long video meetings consume a lot of computing power. Save our planet with less frequent and more effective virtual meetings.
|Keep internal meetings to 25 minutes or 45 minutes, with a clear agenda and purpose. Use video purposefully.|
Encourage everyone to do these regularly:
1. Unsubscribe from all unnecessary newsletters.
2. Turn off all unnecessary email notifications.
3. Delete unnecessary emails.
|Eliminate useless emails from your work culture. Drop the "FYIs" and excessive CCs and BCCs. Utilize digital and co-working spaces effectively to minimize email. Organize email inboxes effectively to reduce time and resources needed to search through them.|
|Cookies and cache||
Encourage employees to regularly delete cookies and clear cache on browsers:
On Android phones, go to Settings > Tap the Storage heading > Find the application you want to clear > Clear cache
On iPhones, go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data > Clear History and Data
|Think about your own apps and the cookies they collect: don't collect data that is not needed, and delete data regularly.
|Employee Digital Footprints||
Educate employees on their digital footprints and support them in actively managing them.
|Provide employees with tools and support for actively managing not just their own footprints, but their friends' and family members' digital footprints, too. Think of how you can reward employees who raise awareness about digital footprints and help others reduce theirs.|
Share your #cybersocialresponsibility progress and challenge others
Digital Cleanup is an easy and impactful way to make Cyber Social Responsibility part of your ESG efforts and have measurable social and climate impact. Share your story on social media with the hashtag #cybersocialresponsibility so that we, and others passionate about digital ESG, can amplify it. Don't be shy about publishing your metrics and progress. Let your customers and stakeholders know about what you do in order to encourage them and help them choose sustainable service providers.
Let's protect our planet together 🌎
*Andrae, Anders. (2020). Hypotheses for Primary Energy Use, Electricity Use and CΟ2 Emissions of Global Computing and Its Shares of the Total Between 2020 and 2030. WSEAS Transactions on Power Systems. 15. 50-59. 10.37394/232016.2020.15.6.