Introducing Web Sustainability Guidelines

The Sustainable Web Design Community Group is excited to announce a draft Community Group Report on Sustainable Web Design. The Web Sustainability Guidelines (WSG) 1.0 explains how to design and implement digital products and services that put people and the planet first. The guidelines are best practices based on measurable, evidence-based research; aimed at end-users, web workers, stakeholders, tool authors, educators, and policymakers. The guidelines are in line with the Sustainable Web Manifesto and aligned with GRI Standards to help organizations incorporate digital products and services into broader sustainability reporting initiatives.

The digital industry is responsible for 2-5% of global emissions, more than the aviation industry. If the Internet were a country it would be one of the top five polluters. This guideline provides best practices and recommendations for reducing the environmental impact of web development and design, such as minimizing data transfer, optimizing images, using green hosting, and more.

The structure of WSG is inspired by WCAG with 93 guidelines and 232 success criteria. 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. See WSG At a Glance for a quick review of the guidelines.