Has digital waste sustainability ever crossed your mind? Ours neither. But it turns out it’s a pretty compelling case for not overloading your intranet.

Last week Apple announced the launch of its latest phone – but, its bid to reduce waste by not providing headphones or chargers – was met with some scepticism when it became clear many Apple users would still need to purchase additional compatible hardware in replacement.

With sustainability a priority message for many an organisation, while we often think of sustainability in terms of the physical environment, what about the virtual world? How many times have we stopped to think about the impact our video calls or cloud-storage has?

Probably not many. But is it time that we do?

While it feels this thinking is in its infancy still, at least from within our internal communication and digital workplace communities, if you’re planning a new intranet, rolling out a new platform, or auditing your communications and sustainability is a consideration of yours this might give you some food for thought.

To understand this a bit more, we caught up with Gerry McGovern the author of World Wide Waste: How digital is killing the planet and what to do about it. He shared with us this thinking about what sustainable means in a digital workplace. And what’s the role for us internal comms folk?

Over to Gerry…

We have created more data in the last two years than in all of history. We now count in zettabytes. I calculated that if we were to print out one zettabyte of data it would require 20 trillion trees worth of paper. There are currently about three trillion trees on the planet. By 2025 we will have hundreds of zettabytes. By 2035, we will have thousands.

Here’s the thing: most of this data is crap.

  • Around 90% of data is never accessed three months after it is first stored, according to Tech Target.
  • 80% of all digital data is never accessed or used again after it is stored, according to a 2018 report by Active Archive Alliance.
  • Businesses typically only analyze around 10% of the data they collect, according to search technology specialist Lucidworks.
  • 90% of unstructured data is never analyzed, according to IDC.
  • 90% of all sensor data collected from Internet of Things devices is never used, according to IBM

Every time you communicate, you create data. Here’s how much data a one-hour Internet call between two people creates:

Audio-only 36MB
Standard video 270MB
High definition 540MB
Ultra-high-definition video 35GB

To read the rest of this article, log in to the simplycommunity.

If you are introducing a new digital workplace or intranet, do take the time to watch the playback of the session we ran with Andrew Hubbard, Group Lead Content & Channels at National Grid session on their approach to content migration. Their approach to reducing the volume of content they migrated – which was not only good for driving good engagement and communication – but it turns out, good for the environment too.

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for support to introduce a new intranet or digital platform, get in touch. We’re here to help!

THE AUTHOR

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