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Digital products and their impact on climate change

Technology is at the heart of fast-paced everyday life. Our mission is simple: use technology to improve daily life and help the environment. New apps, machine learning, and AI are helping us do that every day.

Some digital products like apps intend to help us act environmentally friendly, but there's always another side we also need to keep in mind. While technology can make our lives better, we need to think about their effects on the environment.

However, as a digital agency, our influence extends beyond creating digital products. Consider our company car fleet, for instance. By transitioning to electric vehicles, we can make a significant positive impact on the environment.

Let's explore how the things we create online can benefit and harm our Earth!

A bit of background information

The European Parliament has approved the European Climate Law to address climate change. This law increases the EU's goal of cutting net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (up from the current 40%) and legally commits to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Research indicates that by 2030, digital technologies could assist various industries in reducing global CO2 emissions by 20%.

How icapps as a company tries to do their part

To contribute to positive change, we've incorporated this awareness into our overall strategy, with a focus on ecology. Mobility, in particular, is a vital aspect of this ecological pillar.

In early 2020, in collaboration with Carbon Alt Delete, we conducted a measurement to identify the sources of our CO_² emissions. It was insightful to discover that approximately 77% of our emissions were attributed to our fleet. Consequently, our initial step towards emission reduction was to revise our fleet policy.

While fleet electrification involves incorporating more electric cars, diversification emphasizes having fewer cars and promoting shared mobility alternatives. That's why, in 2022, we introduced the mobility budget.

How “the Cloud” also contributes to a better climate

At icapps, we use the Cloud for some of our projects. Why?

Using the cloud reduces the amount of energy you use, the waste you produce, and the carbon dioxide you release into the air. So, the cloud isn't just a tech upgrade; it really helps our society and the environment. 

Microsoft worked with WSP USA to investigate how the Cloud reduces computing's carbon footprint. They found that cloud solutions use 93% less energy and produce 98% less CO2 compared to traditional servers that companies keep on their premises.

We have a domain expert who specializes in using the Cloud. He explores new ways to use it and keeps our customers informed. Want to know more about him? Then read his blog here!

How do digital products impact our climate?

In various ways, though not all are equally positive. Applications have the potential to become more intelligent by incorporating AI. This implies that apps could minimize their waste. An illustration of this is the Retail Insight app, which utilizes AI to enable organizations to make more precise purchases, ultimately reducing waste.

How is this achieved? The app gathers data from all your activities and swiftly transforms it into highly accurate, real-time insights through advanced analytics software. This delivers the specific awareness necessary to boost sales, enhance productivity, and improve overall profitability throughout your business.

The impact of the internet

Surprisingly, in the EU, emissions from digital technologies are comparable to those from the aviation sector. This prompts us to think about the environmental effects of our online activities. While digital products contribute to reduced consumption, the use of streaming services also has an impact on the environment. Digital technologies are responsible for 8-10% of our energy consumption and 2-4% of greenhouse gas emissions, which may seem small in percentages but translate into substantial numbers.

As data centers are expected to consume more energy, increasing from 2.7% of electricity demand in the EU in 2018 to 3.2% by 2030, it is crucial to ensure that emissions do not rise concurrently. Source.

Tips to downsize your own energy consumption

  1. Do not buy devices from manufacturers that actively prevent repairs. For example, replacing one keyboard key on an Apple device requires replacing the entire top case. Keyboards are riveted in place, making recycling of these mixed materials harder. Airpods are consumables, as batteries cannot be replaced. Replacing batteries on Apple devices is needlessly expensive, complicated, and risky. This forces consumers to buy new devices, and the still usable devices end up in recycling or landfills before their expected useful lifespan.

  2. Charge your devices during the day when the sun is shining. This increases the chance that renewable energy is being used.

  3. Turn off devices that are not in use. Don't just keep them running. Adjust the settings of your devices to optimize energy efficiency, such as reducing the volume, disabling unnecessary features, and using low-power modes. Use dark mode, as old screens use no energy to display black.

  4. Using digital documents or e-books instead of paper or printed materials can save energy and resources for paper production and printing.

  5. Use data compression or optimization techniques to reduce the size or quality of your digital files, such as images, videos, or audio. This can save energy and bandwidth for data transmission and storage.

Nice examples of apps whose core is "a second life.”

Too Good To Go

Their name is great. Yet, it's not just the name; their concept is amazing. Too Good To Go links customers with eateries and shops with surplus unsold food. In 2024, they introduced an AI-powered supermarket solution to tackle food waste.

Since the launch of the Too Good To Go app in 2018, it has already saved 2 million meals from being wasted in the East Flanders region. This prevents 5,000 tons of CO2e emissions and is equivalent to the yearly CO2 emissions of 321 Belgians or 5,300 flights from Brussels to New York City. Pretty impressive, isn't it?


Vinted encourages sustainable practices by extending the life of fashion and other items, contributing to a significant reduction in emissions generated by the fashion industry.

  • On average, second-hand fashion on Vinted saves 1.8 kgCO₂e compared to buying new.

  • Over a third of Vinted orders help prevent purchasing a new item.

  • A noteworthy one-fifth of the Vinted community opts for second-hand items, even when priced almost the same as new.

It's worth noting that according to WRAP research, extending the lifespan of clothing by just nine months can lead to a 4-10% decrease in carbon, water, and waste footprints. Source.

Good On You Directory

This app doesn't directly promote waste reduction, but it helps you determine if your favorite store aligns with ethical practices. Its goal is to simplify the process of finding products that suit your needs, from brands that live up to your expectations regarding their environmental and social responsibility and their impact on animals.