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The Carbon Neutral CMS: Umbraco’s Endeavor to Create a Better Planet

The Carbon Neutral CMS: Umbraco’s Endeavor to Create a Better Planet


12 Jul 2023 • 5 min read

Following Umbraco’s first-ever impact report, we think every one of our clients should hear about their efforts to create a better planet.

Innerworks is coming soon...

This blog was originally published on our previous Cogworks blog page. The Cogworks Blog is in the process of evolving into Innerworks, our new community-driven tech blog. With Innerworks, we aim to provide a space for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and connection within the wider tech community. Watch this space for Innerworks updates, but don't worry - you'll still be able to access content from the original Cogworks Blog if you want. 

Umbraco has given us another reason to be proud of Gold Partnership status following the public release of their first-ever impact report, sustainability webinars, and the announcement of an entire sustainability team. 

As a Gold Partner, Cogworks have used the Umbraco CMS for over a decade to find innovative solutions for industries from international consumer brands, industry innovators, and public sector organisations to ethically-minded start-ups. 

Outside of Cogworks, over 1500 solution partners spanning 86 counties use Umbraco to create 730,000 websites today (and counting). 

With nearly three-quarters of a million active Umbraco websites and a headquarters in Denmark, it's hard to imagine the impact of a technology company and product of this size.  

Helpfully, Umbraco has done the hard graft to discover their impact on the planet, which involves intricate calculations, evaluations of team commutes, office routines and, of course, evaluation of all that physical stuff like buildings and cardboard cut-outs of ABBA (yes, you read that right).

Here's a summary of what we know about the process from start to finish after reading the impact reports and listening to Umbraco's latest webinar.


Umbraco decides to act. 

Humans are single-handedly ruining the planet, and Umbraco is doing something about it by taking responsibility for its impact on the Earth.

The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, and Umbraco is all for this objective. It's going to be soon that many organisations must report on their carbon footprint, so Umbraco is doing the work ahead of time now to report on their emissions easily, and it takes time to get the information right. 


Crunching the numbers using Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Today, the Corporate sustainability reporting directive (CSRD) requires nearly 50,000 companies within the EEA to share their sustainability risk and overall impact on society and the environment to help create a more sustainable economy.  While this isn't mandatory for Umbraco, they have kick-started their journey using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (a widely recognised accounting tool for businesses and government to measure and manage climate-warming emissions. 

To understand its greenhouse emissions, Umbraco has stepped back and zoomed out to look at its entire supply chain, examining areas like business travel, purchased products, cloud-hosted software, 
buildings and more indirect emissions, like franchises and investments. 


Calculating carbon.  

With a firm understanding of the business areas that their carbon footprint covers, Umbraco needed to quantify it, gram by gram. 

To do this is no easy feat, and interestingly, calculating the carbon footprint isn't all about carbon; there are many other greenhouse gasses like methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons, but to keep it simple, we "talk" in units of carbon so it's easier for businesses worldwide to quantify their usage. 

Luckily, some great tools on the market are available to translate emissions CO2 equivalence, enabling Umbraco to work out their emissions from everything they use, including the amounts of plastic in physical materials. Plastic and metal create different emissions per unit, so Umbaco has unpicked their physical items, examining their materials and transportation methods.

No wonder this journey took over six months and is a continuous effort of an entire sustainability team.


The Umbraco Impact Report.

Though the initial report is done, for Umbraco, the journey is just beginning; the first impact report is a template and methodology to calculate their carbon footprint every year. 

Sure, reporting will keep the authorities happy in years to come, but Umbraco are doing this because they want to do something about their environmental impact; this thought is solidified with a clear goal for the future, 'to become a carbon-neutral company' - Umbraco, Impact Report, 2022.

It's not just companies like Umbraco that are getting ahead of the game; Microsoft Azure, the widely used cloud provider, has already committed to some hefty efforts to become carbon neutral in 2012. 

Though offsetting and reducing isn't the final goal for Microsoft, by 2030, they want to remove more carbon each year than they omit, and by 2050 they want to remove ALL of their historical carbon emitted since 1975. You can read more about Azure's sustainability story here.

Impressive sustainability efforts are an incentive for better business, and consumers will increasingly be able to evaluate a product's supply chain to ensure their business model is as sustainable as possible. 
We're super proud to be able to deliver Umbraco and Azure to the majority of our cross-sector clients. 

We know that this doesn't change the world. Still, it's comforting to know that nearly a quarter of a million Umbraco websites are backed by an organisation genuinely considering changing the planet.


What has Umbraco done to reduce carbon emissions? 

Since starting its reporting journey in 2022, Umbraco has:

- Switched to renewable energy at Umbraco HQ. 
- Increased efficiency by 50%, significantly reducing C02 emissions by migrating versions of Umbraco to .NET Core. 
- Started investigations on their suppliers' climate impact.
- Installed water dispensers at Umbraco HQ to save wastewater and eliminate bottled water. 
- Initiated trash sorting and recycling at Umbraco HQ.


The carbon neutral CMS & beyond.

Recently at Umbraco Codegarden, we heard about sustainable practices from Umbraco sustainable system design expert Andy Eva Dale, one of many Umbraco advocates for sustainable systems in a wider conversation within the Umbraco community.

In the coming years at Umbraco, expect more efficient products, more education on sustainability, and a continuous focus on selecting the right suppliers to help Umbraco and its customers reduce their total carbon footprint!


Community tech aid

Innerworks and Cogworks are proud to partner with Community TechAid who aim to enable sustainable access to technology and skills needed to ensure digital inclusion for all. Any support you can give is hugely appreciated.