In the spring and summer of 2020, we experienced a moment where the color of the sky went from pale grey to clear blue. When we could hear the sound of nature when we went out in our cities. For me personally, it was the first spring since childhood when I didn’t suffer from severe hay fever symptoms.
That year was a special one, and it led us at Servebolt to redefine our three core values: sustainability, courageousness, and musicality. As employees in our everyday work, we strive to make these values guide us both in personal decision-making and in the company as a whole.
As an inhabitant of this planet in 2021 and as responsible for our business’ impact, it is obvious to me that sustainable value in any business cannot be limited to just the financials. We need to broaden our perspective and look at our social and ecological impact too. In financial terms, this is popularly referred to as ESG impact (environmental, social, and governance impact). It’s not enough to be carbon neutral. If we want positive global change to happen, Servebolt as a company has to have a net positive impact on the global environment.
Consumers and businesses demand suppliers to make better choices and ensure they invest in or deal with companies that have a broader view of corporate sustainability. So how do we, as Servebolt, go about this in practice?
The UN has set out the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We believe that it is our responsibility to be part of the solution and contribute to reaching these goals. Doing so will keep us in tune with strong global trends.
As a hosting company, we want to address the goals where we can have a direct impact. Although we make contributions to several of the 14 other goals as well, these three are the ones where we, as Servebolt, can have the most impact.
The term Green Hosting has been coined for the sustainable development of our industry. With the commitment outlined in this article, we will strive to give the Green Hosting term an increasingly valuable meaning. We’ve built a new Green Hosting page to explain our commitment and what we are doing. The page aims to clarify how we are working with sustainability and why Servebolt’s performance-based approach to hosting is intrinsically aligned with sustainability.
SDG Goal 9; Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
“Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”UN, Goal 9
Servebolt provides infrastructure that is open and available to anyone. For us, it is important to ensure that we provide our services to the public in a sustainable way. We need to contribute to persistent development and continuous improvement of how we provide this infrastructure.
The Internet as a whole currently uses 2.4 million MWh per day and more than 1.9 million tons of CO2 per day (source: internetlivestats.com), and these numbers are growing by the hour.
Computing and networking infrastructure should, at the very least, be powered by green energy. Therefore, we are working with our upstream providers to ensure that the data centers we are using are using green energy.
This spring, we launched a service called Accelerated Domains. One of the core properties of this service is that it extends our vision of what the future internet should look like. We’re taking ownership of not just the hosting but also the delivery over the Internet. That allows us to reduce the carbon footprint of both the hosting and the internet for our customers.
In the spirit of Green Hosting, we are innovating in the areas of resource consumption and also on the software level. This is key because increasing the resource efficiency in the software we’re running has a much greater potential impact than any hardware choices we can make. We are already internationally leading in the processing of real-time and dynamic web requests.
Providing fast response times on both cached requests and uncached web requests is key when delivering Green Hosting. A low time to first byte on uncached web requests means that the hosting is efficient and sustainable. Our internal performance-first culture ensures that we re-iterate and continuously keep on innovating to stay ahead with the fastest and, therefore, most resource-efficient, real-time processing capabilities available in the international market.
SDG Goal 12; Responsible consumption and production
“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”UN, Goal 12
The core competitive advantage of Servebolt, performance, goes hand-in-hand with the reduction of computing resources. Servebolt customers have, since the company was founded, spent considerably less computing resources than they would by hosting their websites with any other competitor. We achieve this by continuous development and evolvement of our proprietary hosting software platform, which is comparatively a lot more efficient than other alternatives.
Another aspect of consumption is efficiency. In hosting, resources are usually shared in one way or another, independent of them being containers, VPS’es, or cloud instances. However, there are significant differences in how effective the sharing of resources is across various platforms. At Servebolt, we have eliminated the waste and overhead that is generated by selling out a computer’s resources in dedicated pieces. This allows us to achieve a much greater density and overhead-free resource sharing across sites in the Servebolt Cloud.
Being resource efficient is built into every employee at Servebolt and is part of how we design our services. But we do not stop with our own employees. We also want our customers to become more aware of the resources they are using when owning a website. We will be publishing articles and content that will help developers and our customers to be more resource efficient. The benefit of this is that it goes hand in hand with faster performance and a better user experience for website visitors.
SDG Goal 17; Partnership for the goals
“Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”UN, Goal 17
Sometime during 2020, we received a letter by mail from our customer and partner, Netlife. They asked questions about Servebolt and sustainability, what we were doing about it, and where they could read about it on our website. Their letter triggered getting the topic on the agenda in Servebolt and has led us into a broader partnership with this specific client.
By starting to ask questions and talk about sustainability, green power, waste, and consumption with suppliers, customers, partners, and employees, we stimulate all of them in the direction of contributing to this in their own way. Every small contribution matters.
We have established several formal partnerships in the process. We have partnered with the Green Webhosting Foundation to support the cause of powering data centers with green energy worldwide. They also provide a public web service that allows you to check whether or not your website is powered by green energy.
After doing an internal audit of our carbon impact, we found that there is a small footprint left to account for. That led us to research climate quotas and how we best can compensate for any remaining footprint generated by for example, just having employees in offices or transportation to conferences and such. After checking out a variety of different offerings internationally, the feeling was that many of the services and offset options that are available are hard to validate and trust.
We came across the Norwegian company Trefadder. They have a rock solid concept, with built-in guarantees that the money invested in compensation ends up as trees planted as sustainable climate forests. They are planting a diversity of trees on previously unplanted grounds that are guaranteed for the whole lifetime of the trees. We are now compensating for our residual carbon footprint by letting them plant trees for us.
We have also joined Klimapartnere (Climate Partners), a network for businesses that commit to contributing to sustainability in their respective areas. We believe in engaging in networks like this because they facilitate the spread of knowledge, innovations, and creativity. It allows us to get a continuous stream of inspiration to keep on innovating.
Our focus on sustainability is anchored in the management of our organization, and we are now systematically striving to improve the inner workings of Servebolt in that regard. As a company, we are now iterating and incrementally improving on the foundation we have established so that we will be doing increasingly more important work.
We do not draw a line for where this project ends but rather seek to explore further how we can substantiate our commitment. We look at our inner workings, our employees, offices, travel, and business activities like conferences. We want to get relevant certifications and participate in networks and projects with suppliers, partners, customers, and other businesses that share our views and values.
This launch of our concept of Green Hosting in Servebolt will only expand further. We already got a significant head start on this with our launch of Accelerated Domains in April. Accelerated Domains is a service that minimizes resource consumption for your website in a variety of ways. You can expect us to continue to launch new concepts, products, and services that emphasize and enable a shift to a steadily greener Servebolt offering and, therethrough, a more sustainable way of inhabiting this planet.
Do you need some inspiration to sort your thoughts on how important this really is? If you haven’t had the chance to see David Attenborough’s testimonial of his lifetime traveling to all corners of the World yet, you should invest a couple of hours tonight in watching the movie A Life on Our Planet.
If you find what we’re working on exciting and have thoughts on how Servebolt can become even better, get in touch with us – we’d love to talk to you!