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30th May 2024

Creating a Sustainable Gift Card Scheme - Materials and More


With the substantial rise in online gift card purchases, many of the businesses that provide physical gift cards can be commended on taking steps to use sustainable and environmentally friendly materials during the card manufacturing and printing process. However, I would recommend that your gift card business should start considering the steps needed to tackle your digital carbon footprint.

When we use the internet, whether at work, home, or elsewhere, we generate and download massive amounts of data. This data is stored in data centres worldwide, which require substantial power and cooling. These data centres are significant energy consumers, contributing considerably to environmental degradation. This phenomenon is known as the digital carbon footprint, representing the environmental impact of internet use and online activities, measured by the total greenhouse gas emissions produced.

It's easy to overlook the fact that the digital industry significantly contributes to climate change. While working at a desk, environmental impact might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the rapid transformation in recent years, marked by a colossal increase in data centres and an ever-growing number of internet-connected devices, has led to a notable and harmful impact on our planet. The digital world's energy demands and resultant carbon emissions are becoming increasingly detrimental to the environment.


Your business needs to critically evaluate its tech stack, as this is a pivotal aspect of achieving carbon net zero goals. Aligning your operations with cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technology is crucial for advancing your company's sustainability efforts. For instance, at Reuben Digital, we utilise Microsoft Azure, a global leader in providing low-carbon hosting solutions. By choosing providers like Azure, your business can significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

In addition to selecting sustainable hosting providers, it's essential to incorporate low-carbon design and development principles into both new and existing projects. For example, a website with 10,000 monthly page views can produce approximately 60 kg of CO2 per year. Implementing carbon calculators to measure the CO2 emissions of your websites and digital products helps you understand their environmental impact and identify areas for improvement.


Another important component of your overall tech stack to consider is your domain registrar and email provider. At Reuben Digital, we partner with Fasthosts, whose UK data centre operates entirely on renewable energy sourced from offshore wind and biofuel. Evaluating all your suppliers' sustainability practices is crucial to ensure they align with your environmental goals. If a supplier's principles do not match your commitment to sustainability, pledge to change to a more eco-conscious provider.

At Reuben Digital we are part of the digital sector that, almost innocuously, emits up to 3.7% of global CO2 emissions and consumes 4.2% of global primary energy. Compare this to the much-maligned commercial aviation industry which actually only accounts for 2-3% of global carbon dioxide emissions. We are investing in becoming an environmentally-conscious business and want to be part of the leading edge of suppliers within the digital sector who are committing to becoming carbon net zero, in advance of the 2050 deadline set by the UK government.


In the world of online gift card sales, staying ahead of the curve means being acutely aware of your business's environmental impact. While implementing changes can be challenging, understanding the necessary steps to enhance your tech stack and adopt sustainable practices will position your company as a leader in sustainability. A truly sustainable gift card scheme goes beyond just the material it's printed on; it encompasses the entire lifecycle of the product, from digital infrastructure to end-user interaction. By committing to these practices, your business not only reduces its carbon footprint but also sets a positive example for the industry, paving the way for a greener future.


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