Issue #55

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Curiously Green

Digital ecodesign assessments go mainstream

It’s been many years that I’ve been working to research, promote and deliver a more sustainable web and throughout this time I’ve hoped that sustainable web design will one day become mainstream. We might not quite be at the point where it is truly mainstream (yet), but this summer feels like a big milestone towards that goal. We see the French government publishing EcoDesign guidelines for the web, the popular SEO tool Screaming Frog integrating sustainability metrics into its software, and the website carbon model that we pioneered many years ago being updated by a cross industry team to become Version 4 of the open source Sustainable Web Design Model (SWDM).

We still have a long way to go to create a truly green internet, especially as new technologies such as AI present new challenges, but as the sun sits high in the sky this summer, it feels like a good time to celebrate how far we have all come together in bringing sustainability to the forefront of the digital sector.

Huge thanks to all of you for being a part of this movement and contributing your energy to making the web a better place.

– Tom Greenwood
Top picks from the green web
France makes digital ecodesign “official”

France makes digital ecodesign “official”


France’s communications regulatory body, Arcep, has published a ‘General Policy Framework for the Ecodesign of Digital Services’. So what does that mean? In essence, they have published a set of guidelines on best practices to reduce the environmental impact of digital services, together with a self-evaluation kit and 78 fact sheets specifying how to implement each approach. Furthermore, they’ve generously also published it in English. While some of the wording might sound a bit academic, it’s actually a very usable guide for any team working on a digital project, whether it be a website, mobile app of SaaS platform. While it is currently a set of voluntary guidelines, it paves the way for the French public sector to put the environment at the core of their own digital projects, and for other organisations to follow.

If you use Website Carbon Calculator you should read this

If you use Website Carbon Calculator you should read this


You might not have heard of the Sustainable Web Design Model (SWDM) but we and other online calculators use it to estimate digital website emissions. It’s the most widely adopted methodology in the sector.

The model has just had its latest update. V4 uses the latest applicable research available and is likely to create a big stir. Put simply, results from the new version put the emissions estimates two thirds lower then the previous version.

Fershad Irani of the Green Web Foundation explains the decisions and changes in the article above.

As the changes come online across the industry it’s sure to be a major talking point. We are currently incorporating V4 into Website Carbon and will share more details and thoughts in due course.

Using Screaming Frogs SEO tool to conduct your own website carbon audits

Using Screaming Frogs SEO tool to conduct your own website carbon audits


Digital sustainability now features heavily in Screaming Frogs’ updated spider tool. The UK SEO agencys tool now automatically estimates carbon emissions for each page using CO2.js library.

Sustainably designed websites often benefit from improved SEO performance. Integrating carbon ratings into the tool surfaces this link. Users can now optimise pages for SEO and sustainability  parallel more effectively.

If this sounds like a daunting task, have no fear. Wholegrain alumnus Ben Meyer has written a comprehensive guide. Ben details the process in clear detail, including how to overcome the “1mm Gap” Marketa wrote about in May.

Quote of the month

“I discovered my path to independence through technology as well as the potential for a global lifeline for trans people around the world who were looking for the same.”


– Angelica Ross, founder TransTech Social

Review of the month (film)
Other Ways of Living - Waterbear

Other Ways of Living - Waterbear


I’m a sucker for circularity and a good documentary series so “Other Ways of Living” is right in my wheelhouse.

The series comprises three short films. It’s made by the Ellen MacArthur foundation in collaboration with Waterbear. It covers three different topics, building materials, clothing and food. There’s a mix of wild ideas & practical solutions that are tantalisingly close to reality. 

For instance, I love the idea of using hemp boards in my loft conversion. That feels more likely than me donning a shirt made of celery, then going out for a meal made of chicken feathers. As I say, there are some wild ideas explored here.

My personal highlights in the series were

Whatever you take away from the series it’s a great exploration of how organisations are finding circular solutions. It’s family friendly too (ignoring some mild swearing from charming Dutch restaurateurs). If you’ve got kids why not watch with your kids and see what conversations it sparks?

Waterbear is a free and ad free impact media platform. You’ll need to sign up to watch the series above.

– Andy Davies, Curiously Green Manager

Shorter notes on the green web

We want to hear more from you!


Don’t forget, we want to hear more from you, the Curiously Green community! If you’re heard or read something that may be of interest, please share any links, and your thoughts with us. 

Even better, we’d love to know what you’re working on. If you have any case studies or projects you’d like to share, or new approaches you’ve tried that may be of interest, this is a great way to share with like minded folk so please head over to our submission form and tell us all about it!

We can’t wait to hear from more of you. 💚

Notes from the Curiously Green community
Join the Wholegrain Digital team
Help us shape a greener, more holistic web

Help us shape a greener, more holistic web


If you’re interested in being part of the Wholegrain Digital team, we’re always happy to hear from individuals dedicated to making a difference in the world via digital sustainability.

If you don’t fit the roles advertised at any time, you’re always welcome to get in touch with the team by replying to this newsletter to learn more about us and explore options in a casual conversation.

Take action!
Curiously Green is curated and written by Tom Greenwood and Andy Davies.