Reddit, Pinterest & Alibaba Among World’s Highest Carbon Emissions Websites

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Reddit, Pinterest and Alibaba have been named among the top most polluting websites on the internet, new research has revealed. Other high-emissions websites include video game giant Nintendo, sports channel ESPN and fast fashion retailer Uniqlo. 

The report, released by energy comparison platform USwitch, calculated the carbon footprint of the 200 most popular webpages by considering multiple factors that impact a site’s energy-efficiency, from the host platform to font size, images, videos and colours. Energy used by the cloud, by the telecommunications network and whether the data centre is powered by renewable energy was also considered to estimate the carbon footprint of a website. 

Out of hundreds of sites examined, the number one polluting page was Reddit, emitting as much as 13.05 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per visit, equivalent to driving 5 kilometres in a car if users click on the website just 69 times

Read: 4 surprising things to know about the carbon footprint of your online food delivery

Some websites are more energy-efficient than others, making them less carbon-intensive. (Image Source: Unsplash)

Other high-emissions websites globally include Pinterest, which emits an estimated 12.43 grams of carbon dioxide per visit, followed by the gaming platform Nintendo, producing 11.43 grams per visit. The weather forecast website Accuweather, sports platform ESPN, lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, fast fashion retailer Uniqlo, electronics and gadgets online store Banggood and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba were also listed among the top ten websites with the highest carbon footprint. 

Meanwhile, Wikipedia was found to be the cleanest website on the internet, producing 0.04 grams of carbon dioxide per visit. Coming in at second place for being energy-efficient include professional social network site LinkedIn, followed by fashion giant H&M. Online payments system Paypal, web publisher WordPress, and the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase also made it on USwitch’s list of clean websites. 

Interestingly, the analysis also showed that different digital industries have varied impacts on the planet. For instance, remote working websites were generally more carbon-friendly than other industries like fashion and beauty. 

Read: What is your digital footprint and how can you minimise it?

Wikipedia was the most carbon-friendly website out of the 200 most popular pages on the internet. (Image Source: Mashable)

For instance, pages like the file sharing platform DropBox with 7.35 grams of carbon dioxide per visit producing the most emissions in the home working sector, but still far lower than the worst offender in beauty, Urban Decay, which produces 11.29 grams in every single visit. 

“As a whole, home working websites fared pretty well compared to other industries, with even the higher emitting sites still boasting only moderate figures,” wrote the researchers. 

Other remote work platforms like Basecamp, which facilitates project management and internal communications, had a remarkably low carbon footprint with just 0.23 grams of carbon released each time a user lands on the page.

Within the automotive industry, Mazda topped the list of polluting websites with around 16.19 grams of carbon emitted every time someone uses its website, whereas in the social media realm – perhaps the most important sector of all when it comes to our digital footprint – instant messaging app Viber released the most emissions at a whopping 13 grams of carbon output per use. 


Lead image courtesy of Dreamstime.


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