World first: Researchers create CO2 measurement tool to calculate emissions caused by digital data

Tree with soil growing on the converging point of computer circuit board.

Professors Ian Hodgkinson and Tom Jackson have created a unique carbon footprint tool to allow businesses to measure the CO2 output of their digital data.

  • By 2025, it is estimated that the global data will surpass 180 zettabytes.
  • The amount of digital data is doubling every two years.
  • A typical data-driven business employing 100 full-time employees will generate approximately 2,203 tons of CO2 emissions annually due to new data, which is equivalent to a cost of $28,267 for nature-based carbon offsetting.
  • The inclusion of the data CO2 footprint is a crucial factor missing from global decarbonisation policies.
  • Data centres are responsible for 2.5% to 3.7% of all human-induced carbon dioxide. More than the aviation industry (2.1%).

By using the tool, believed to be the first of its kind, companies can make data-driven decisions that benefit the environment and save money by reducing reliance on carbon offsetting schemes.