Ethical, sustainable digital services do exist

 Transforming digital transfers into a force for good

Once upon a time, being environmentally friendly in the digital age meant not printing emails.

Nowadays we better understand the benefits and costs of the technology we use and, happily, the number of eco-friendly digital services is increasing all the time.

However, there are many areas, such as file sharing, where digital sustainability remains challenging. From the energy-intensive data centres that power file-storage and file-sharing services to the carbon footprint of maintaining vast digital infrastructures, there are significant hidden environmental costs associated with cloud-based data storage and transfer.

Thankfully, digital pioneers are revolutionising this industry by embedding sustainability into the very core of file-sharing services. For example, WeTransfer, a leader in this realm, exemplifies how technological innovation can be harmoniously balanced with environmental stewardship. As a certified B Corporation™, WeTransfer’s team are not only redefining the efficiency and functionality of digital file transfers, but also ensuring every byte transferred contributes positively towards a greener, more sustainable digital future.

READ MORE: Explore Ocean Wonders on Earth Day with WeTransfer

The B Corp badge of honour

When judging how ethical and sustainable a business is, the pinnacle of achievement is B Lab’s B Corporation certification. As B Lab states, “Certified B Corporations are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy”. B Corps are respected world-wide for their commitment to positive social and environmental impact, thanks to B Lab’s rigorous and holistic assessment framework.

In 2020, WeTransfer joined the illustrious community of, at the time, 3,235 B Corp companies that use business to bring about positive change in our world. And since then, the brand has continued to role model responsible business practices. In fact, in its last Responsible Business Review (2022 review published in April 2023), WeTransfer published five ways the business has modelled positive change that other businesses can implement too.

Green Steps in the digital realm: WeTransfer’s environmental initiatives building sustainable tech

In the digital world, where the environmental impact of the tools we use is often invisible, WeTransfer’s actions speak volumes about its dedication to sustainability. The company’s journey towards environmental consciousness is not just a side project; reducing its carbon footprint is at the core of its operations, setting a precedent in the tech industry.

In 2020, WeTransfer pledged to become carbon-neutral by the end of the year and to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2025. To achieve that, the team first needed to understand where they were consuming energy, and with the help of the Climate Neutral Group and Sustainalize, they discovered that data servers were responsible for over 80% of their energy consumption and 92% of the brand’s carbon footprint.

Once they had that baseline information, they were able to work with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to switch to more efficient processors and optimise their server use without sacrificing the experience of WeTransfer’s users. The result was a 78% cut to the business’s server emissions

This partnership is a powerful example of how tech companies can upscale operations while simultaneously downscaling carbon emissions.

The brand also produced a whitepaper detailing the environmental impact of digital advertising, providing a framework for brands to measure and reduce their advertising-related carbon emissions. Within the document, WeTransfer disclosed the carbon emissions of the ads they display and the methodology used to calculate them, offering transparency and guidance for advertisers on their platform and modelling a path forward for other platforms.

In addition, WeTransfer is heavily involved in groups like Leaders for Climate Action and AdNet Zero, reflecting its commitment to external advocacy. By sharing insights and strategies with peers, WeTransfer is not only advocating for change but actively driving it, nudging the entire digital sector towards a more sustainable future.

Clearly, WeTransfer has well and truly earned the environmental impact aspect of their B Corp status.

READ MORE: How to get started: the ultimate guide to efficient file sharing

Beyond the environment: WeTransfer’s broader impact balancing people, planet, and profit

Being a B Corp is about more than just about reducing environmental impact. And WeTransfer has excelled in many other areas as well.

For example, the brand’s initiatives for achieving a balance between making money and caring for people and the planet included the Summer Fridays Pilot, which aimed to improve employee well-being by offering extended weekends over the summer. The impact was a boost in employee wellbeing and reduced stress without a reduction in productivity. 

WeTransfer has also been a long-term supporter of the arts and creative people. And in 2022, the brand donated over $900,000 (AUD) in grants to support emerging artists through the Supporting Act Foundation, fostering creativity and cultural contribution. 

The brand’s commitment to data security is another important facet of how WeTransfer cares for its users. The team worked hard to achieve ISO 27001 certification, which proves they’ve implemented robust protection for user data. 

And to top all that off, WeTransfer launched a responsible business travel policy, which actively reduces the brand’s travel-related emissions. The result in 2022 was a 33% (per person) reduction in travel emissions compared with the brand’s pre-covid emissions levels.

Joining forces for a sustainable future

As Earth Day 2024 rolls round, we’re celebrating in a wide variety of ways, including by covering the inspiring ways brands are protecting our precious Earth. WeTransfer is a truly pioneering brand, not just in environmental actions, but in all aspects of corporate responsibility. From reducing server emissions to supporting the arts, and implementing employee wellness initiatives, WeTransfer sets a gold standard in balancing technology, sustainability, and societal benefit. 

This narrative isn’t just about a company doing good; it’s a blueprint for the tech industry, demonstrating that it’s possible to thrive while positively impacting our world. As WeTransfer continues to innovate and lead by example, they challenge us all to consider the broader impact of our digital choices, urging us towards a more sustainable, equitable future in the digital realm.

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