Digital sobriety is becoming more widely discussed, and for good reason: the ecological footprint of the digital sector is a long way from being neutral.
According to a report by the French Senate's Sustainable Development, Spatial and Regional Planning Committee on a study carried out between 2019 and 2020, if no changes are made, digital technology could generate 24 million tonnes of carbon equivalent by 2040 - or 7% of France’s total emissions!
This study led to Law No. 2021-1485 of 15 November 2021 being passed, aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the digital sector in France (REEN Law). Based on five objectives, the law provides for measures to promote digital sobriety and habits that are less harmful to the environment.
In this context, companies have a role to play in reversing the trend. But, how to rise to this challenge and pursue their digital transformation while reducing their environmental impact?
Opting for digital sobriety invites both individuals and organizations to review their digital needs, assess their impacts and adapt new practices that are more responsible, more efficient and more sober.In this article, we will look at how a powerful and intelligent marketing solution such as Digital Asset Management can support your company's digital transformation, and help you exploit the full potential of your content in a sensible and sustainable way. Digital technology and innovation as well as environment and resources have been both identified as two of six megatrends that will shape the world until 2050(!). We are currently going through a kind of transition period from the old world to a new more eco-friendly world (finally!). So digital technology needs time to realize its full potential. The impact of digital technology on the environment is a hot topic that everyone's talking about, but we all agree on one thing: adopting digital sobriety, which involves making conscious and deliberate choices in how to use your resources, is vital for the environment, and taking responsibility for this is one of the most important things we can do now. It is all about making smart decisions by using the right tools.
If you want to accelerate the digitalization of your business, you have to first invest in the digitization of your resources. This is essential to drive your digital transformation and to benefit from all of its benefits like better customer experience, increased transparency or revenue growth. Digitalization and digitization are often used simultaneously, so let’s clear things up first: There’s no digitalization without digitization: Switching your paper-based information and business processes to digital ones will help you drastically reduce all manual labor which is not viable or efficient.Alone this will save tons of printouts and make all sorts of resources more easily accessible than what was too often found in physical archives. Alone in the U.S., approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year. We are not saying that you need to say goodbye to all your paper catalogues, flyers etc. and go full into paperless office mode right away. For your business there might be good reasons to still use paper content from time to time, but digitizing and stocking all your resources in one single-source like a DAM solution will give you a complete overview about your data to then take mindful decisions on which content you still need in paper format which then can be produced in an easy and intuitive way using for example a web-to-print solution. You will also need to show your employees how to move towards more sobriety, by using data on paper and media etc. wisely.. This is way easier if you can provide them with all relevant resources stored online in one digital source.
DAM to centralize and optimize the way you organize your digital assets. If you want to make the best use of your resources, move towards more digital sobriety and thus limit their impact on the environment, your content organization must be well structured. We can not stress enough that a single source of truth (a single database which is also used as a content server, ) is an excellent starting point to have all your media handy in one place, covering storage but also delivery and distribution functionalities. This avoids having several solutions to do basically the "same" thing in different places, on different channels, for different types of media, photo, video etc. Therefore a central hub not only allows you to avoid duplicates but also to easily reuse and even recycle your assets thanks to automation and regulations which translate into a sustainable way of working. Surely, in order to obtain the best and most environmentally-friendly results, you need to put in some additional effort on a regular basis as well.Cleaning up your content, and deleting what you no longer use, putting your metadata in order, reviewing your security permissions will all help you achieve more digital sobriety. A bit of housekeeping will do wonders to develop the full potential of your content. On a DAM platform you can see all your creative assets and you have access to tools to streamline your content management. What does this mean? You optimize the space used to store them and thereby make them more energy efficient.And the best news is: Digital Asset Management will also allow you to cut down on the number of tools by replacing them with one powerful and less-energy consuming solution which is a way more minimalistic technical approach.
DAM helps you structure and organize your marketing content lifecycle. It optimizes your digital asset management, from its design to its archiving, from production to distribution, and ensures your hard work pays off.At the production stage, for example, the innovative Wedia DAM solution can help you create original content, using generative artificial intelligence (AI). Within the same platform, Wedia.ai generates new creative images in seconds. All you have to do is enter your requirements. This tool saves you time and resources because everything is centralized: exchanges between teams are seamless and marketing campaigns are created and delivered from one platform. What's more, because it has advanced statistical tools, the DAM solution will help you perform data analytics on your content and make the best decisions in terms of efficiency and digital sobriety. You can focus your efforts on the content that generates the most value: content that you can reuse, repurpose and recycle etc. for an extended lifecycle! Conversely, the solution helps you eliminate inefficient activities and uses, and thus reduce their environmental footprint.
Mindful and efficient use does not only concern your data and media, but also your human resources: We already talked about automation: this will enable your employees to work better and more independently. You should also opt for templates that are easily accessible, shareable and adaptable within your organization and especially by your local teams.The results are optimized and streamlined workflows and a greater flexibility which allows you to depend less on external partners and to save time and costs in the long run. Think about the average time you normally spend setting up marketing and communications campaigns: Does it take you several meetings with external partners, searching for the right content, complicated validation processes and many back and forths? This is not necessary or efficient: With Digital Asset Management all this can be done by your own teams. Not to mention that you significantly reduce the impact of your file transfers by email. In fact, you can dispense with this method, which has a large carbon footprint, especially when sometimes very cumbersome creative files are sent as attachments. The CO2e of an email varies globally between 0.03 and 26g according to recent estimates by Mike Berners-Lee, a professor and researcher on carbon footprinting in his book How Bad are Bananas - The Carbon Footprint of Everything.
With DAM, the issue of email no longer arises: all the stakeholders have easy and secure access to the content they need.You can also level up your Customer Experience by pairing a DAM solution with Media Delivery and Digital Experience. Speaking of local teams: Using an intelligent tool like a DAM solution enables your employees to work from anywhere at any time and therefore facilitates remote work. How? Thanks to Digital Asset Management you can for instance manage the whole creative review process easily and totally online, from searching for the latest creations to commenting on them. DAM promotes collaboration between teams that become more efficient and no longer need so many meetings, because there is more process automation.Another example would be the use of templates to facilitate autonomous tool usage and necessary local adaptations. Remote work is likely to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint if the daily journey to work is greater than about 6 kilometers. Add to this the number of work trips you can save in this manner. Other benefits of remote work include less plastic (think about your daily coffee to go in the morning) and paper and also possibly less electricity usage. So it has been reported that remote work can eliminate the use of 247 trillion sheets of paper, whereas the topic about electricity consumption is more complex since office buildings are designed to utilize energy better than homes. On the other hand, less employees in the office mean less lighting and usage of other equipment as well as a possible shift to a smaller office etc. So please keep in mind that being mindful and resource-efficient is the totality of many intelligent decisions that will add up in order to have a positive impact on the environment.
When it comes to resource-efficiency, you clearly want to avoid useless overconsumption. This starts like we already flagged by reducing the number of tools you are using and replacing them with intelligent solutions that cover a multitude of functionalities and it also applies to all your media and the channels you are relying on. In this case, precise tracking and data analysis is key. You can differentiate between two different types of stats that are covered by Digital Asset Management. By replacing them with a solution that covers a multitude of features, you achieve digital sobriety!The first are the DAM usage stats that allow you to track your activity, usage and needs. A concrete example would be the possibility to look into all media researches that were not successful - a very useful and powerful functionality to improve the way your teams use the DAM.
The second type of stats are your distribution statistics which (thanks to Media Delivery and Digital Experience) illustrate all relevant information about trending content by country, content performance on your different channels or partner websites etc. This will for example help you increase the number of products in the basket, improve your conversation rate and customer experience, but also to cut down on all activities that are not efficient and develop a more straight-forward and minimalistic marketing strategy.Data that, once analyzed, will help you adapt your content, for example, to increase the number of products in the cart, improve your conversion rate and your customer experience, but also reduce inefficient activities and develop a more direct and minimalist marketing strategy.Knowing exactly how your assets perform, on which channels, who is using them etc. will give you the power to take meaningful and sustainable decisions and to develop a frugal but efficient approach, all of which helps in reducing your digital footprint in the long-run.
The use of data-sharing and tracking platforms provides both visibility and accountability – often in real time – thereby reducing environmental impacts before they are magnified. With a DAM solution digital and ecological transformation are made compatible. Digital Asset Management can accompany you in both areas and will perfectly fit in your business ecology plans and complete other environmental efforts you are making such as switching to renewable energies, optimizing e-waste management or integrating circular economy in your company. To go one step further, you can even give some thought to the tools you use, your needs and the impact of your digital habits. To move towards more digital sobriety, be sure to take a look at our article on the best practices to adopt!