Ecodesign of websites: a barometer reveals the extent of progress to be made

Between 1995 and 2021, the average weight of an Internet page has been multiplied by 155! Admittedly, two-thirds of the digital environmental footprint is attributable to terminals, but while the sector’s impact on global greenhouse gas emissions continues to increase (it will reach 5% in 2025), the eco-design of websites is becoming an issue. Bad practices, everyone knows them: pages that are too heavy, that refresh themselves, with videos in automatic playback, etc. But how are the main French sites doing?

To answer this question, the marketing agency Razorfish has devised, in partnership with, a barometer of the eco-design of “90 sites most representative of the economic and digital landscape” of our country. The 10 most visited pages of the sites of the CAC 40 groups were thus scanned and analyzed, as well as the top 50 merchant, information, entertainment and public service sites. A score out of 100 (or more precisely an ecoindex) has been assigned to them, as well as a corresponding score: A for the best optimized sites, G for the worst.

The 90 sites analyzed are generally very poor in terms of eco-design. The average score obtained is 29/100, corresponding to an eco-index E. utilities with a tiny D and a score of 37/100. The sites corporate of the CAC 40 are at 34/100 on average, information and entertainment sites at 27/100. The web performance of the most visited sites in France, those on which we load pages every day, can therefore be highly optimized.

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As they stand, these 90 sites represent an equivalent of CO2 emissions of around 8,000 t and would consume some 120 million liters of water. However, by removing unsolicited content, optimizing the weight and resolution of content to a level deemed necessary, reducing the length of pages and inserting videos sparingly, site developers could drastically improve their ecoindex without sacrificing essential content, information or functionality.

Other avenues are mentioned by the authors of this barometer, such as the use of less resource-intensive character fonts, avoiding unnecessary requests to the database, loading only the necessary elements, drawing a line under “overquality ” and, more generally, focus on the useful. The study recalls that the eco-design of a website boils down to “allow the user to achieve his goal using the fewest possible resources” and hopes that these notions will be increasingly important within development teams, until they become a key performance indicator.

“It was necessary that beyond the measurement tool, we could create an electric shock by provoking the comparison, so that each company could measure itself against market standards”concludes Charlotte Dollot, general manager of Razorfish France.

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