Environment Variables
The Week in Green Software: Greening Web Standards at the W3C
November 9, 2023
TWiGS host Chris Adams is joined by special guests, Anne Faubry and Alexander Dawson of the W3C Community Group. This week, they discuss the Web Sustainability Guidelines as well as the Content Accessibility Guidelines. Web standards as specified by the World Wide Web consortium, play a huge role in shaping expectations about how the web is supposed to work, and for whom. This week’s guests talk about their respective roles in the W3C and in publishing the guidelines, as well as how they came to be part of the group. Listen in to learn more about the differences between standards and guidelines, and what the Web Sustainability Guidelines aim to achieve.
TWiGS host Chris Adams is joined by special guests, Anne Faubry and Alexander Dawson of the W3C Community Group. This week, they discuss the Web Sustainability Guidelines as well as the Content Accessibility Guidelines. Web standards as specified by the World Wide Web consortium, play a huge role in shaping expectations about how the web is supposed to work, and for whom. This week’s guests talk about their respective roles in the W3C and in publishing the guidelines, as well as how they came to be part of the group. Listen in to learn more about the differences between standards and guidelines, and what the Web Sustainability Guidelines aim to achieve.

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Anne Faubry: This is what is called externalities. It's a debated word. It's a bit controversial because it's, it comes from an economic background, but it's important to have this in mind when you design a product because sometimes you might have the best intentions, but when it comes to environment, you can sometimes make things worse than what you wanted to do.

Chris Adams: Hello, and welcome to Environment Variables, brought to you by the Green Software Foundation. In each episode, we discuss the latest news and events surrounding green software. On our show, you can expect candid conversations with top experts in their field who have a passion for how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of software. I'm your host, Chris Adams. Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Week in Green Software, where we bring you the latest news and updates from the world of sustainable software development. I'm your host, Chris Adams. When you're building digital services, a lot of the time you're relying on standards up and down the tech stack to ensure that each component works the way it does. And if you work with the web standards, as specified by the World Wide Web Consortium, the W3C, play a huge role in shaping expectations about how the web is supposed to work and for whom. Earlier this year, the W3C Sustainable Web Design Community Group published their first, and now second, draft of the Web Sustainability Guidelines, a wide range of recommendations for making websites and products more sustainable. So this now means there's guidance from the W3C, not just about how JavaScript and HTML should work, but also how they should work sustainably. With us, today, we have two key members of the community group behind its publication. Alex Dawson and Anne Faubry, I hope I pronounced it correctly, to learn how it came about, a little bit more about the guidelines and what they recommend, and what's coming next. So, going in alphabetical order, Alex and Anne, I'll give you folks a chance to introduce yourself. So, Alex, um, the floor is yours first, if you'd be so kind.

Alexander Dawson: Yep, okay. I'm Alexander Dawson, and I'm a freelance web developer from the UK. I also am a part-time sustainability researcher and writer, and lately I have had the pleasure of being the co-chair of the Sustainable Web Design Community Group, and I'm a co-editor and contributor to the Web Sustainability Guidelines, which of course we're all here to talk about today.

Chris Adams: Thank you, Alex. And Anne, the floor is yours.

Anne Faubry: Hello everyone, I'm Anne Faubry, so your pronunciation was great, from France, I'm a UX/UI designer. I work as a freelancer for environmental projects like NGOs or public services, and I try to implement accessibility and eco-design in all I do. And I also work part time for an association called Designer Éthiques, Ethical Designers in English, which tries to research the field of responsible designing and also more specifically eco-design. So we published the guidelines on this topic and, and that's how I ended up joining the W3C group and becoming the community co-chair of the UX part.

Chris Adams: Okay, cool. Thank you, Anne. All right. For folks who are new to this podcast, I mentioned my name, Chris Adams. I am the executive director of the Green Web Foundation, a Dutch nonprofit focused around an entirely fossil free internet. And I am the policy chair for the Green Software Foundation, the large industry body that publishes this podcast. Before we dive in, there's also a quick reminder that everything we talk about to the best of our ability will be linked in the show notes. below in this episode. So if there's a project that's mentioned or a site we discuss that isn't in these show notes, please do write in and tell us so we can update these for other curious souls and to help you in your quest for knowledge around all things sustainable and digital. All right, Alex, Anne, are you folks sitting comfortably?

Anne Faubry: Yes, we are.

Chris Adams: Okay. All right. So the first question is that sustainability on the web. This has been a long time coming, and I know the W3C Sustainable Web Design Group, or Sustyweb, if you look at the URL and it's to its friends, it's been around for a while with varying levels of activity. And I've got to ask, why did you look to the W3C group in the first place? And maybe one of you might help explain what the W3C is in this kind of context, because we've done a bit of an introduction, but it might be useful to give your understanding, and for one of you to show your kind of story about why you got involved.

Alexander Dawson: I guess the best way to start things off is to, well, essentially mention that we are effectively a community group, so we are not governed by the W3C. That's an important point to underline from the start. Community groups are a great incubator for groups that are effectively volunteers to gather together their collective experience and to talk about how they want to improve parts of the web and to look at topics that interest them and to progress those subjects further. And obviously our group, the Sustainable Web Design Community Group, it was started in 2013, and it really started as a link sharing group where anything to do with sustainability, people were passing useful bits and pieces to do with research and interesting URLs and such.

But it was really around the time of the pandemic hit that people started to sit up, take notice and think, "actually, something could really be done in terms of sustainability on the web and real improvements could be made." And we had a real influx of new members. And the community really blossomed in terms of life.

And it was around that time that myself and Tim Frick, who's the other

been an 

Chris Adams: institution over this,


Alexander Dawson: we got talking with all the other members in the group and it came to consensus that maybe looking to other W3C bodies like the Web Accessibility Initiative, they've done such great work with things like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in terms of improving accessibility on the web, that actually being able to produce some good solid guidelines that are evidence-backed and collaborate in terms of producing evidence and research, and hook into policy and all the best practices that are out there, all within one collective source, that having something out there that people can quickly and easily reference would be a good way for people to make their websites more sustainable.

So over the course of coming up for two years, we worked very hard and, using various different groups, so we had groups for user experience, which of course Anne was involved in and I was involved in web development and we had groups for business and we had groups for metrics and we had another group which was for hosting and infrastructure and people effectively took their choices as to where their expertise lay, and we built up a huge big collection of these Google documents, these drafts, filled with all of these different guidelines and they've effectively been formatted into the guidelines that we now see today, and that's pretty much a good jumping-off point where I can pass over to Anne to give her experience as to how she found it and what her experience has been throughout the creation process.

Chris Adams: Yeah. Go for it, Anne.

Anne Faubry: Thank you. Indeed, I jumped in the project much later than Alexander. So for me, it was a whole new experience. It was my first contribution to the W3C, but it was not my first contribution to this kind of guidelines and standards because I had done this work previously in France on governmental standards and also by writing the Eco-design guidelines for designers. So, my point was to take this experience and help the group move forward by contributing with all the work we had done in France already on this topic so we didn't have to start from a blank slate and that was really exciting because it was also taking things to a next level, to a worldwide level, and, and so it's not only France in its little part of the world working by itself, and it was contributing and also challenging sometimes the guidelines with people from all, all different countries. So it was very exciting. And how it worked was a lot of collaboration with online tools, frequent video conferences, sharing tools, and contributing on the guidelines all together, and commenting on each other's work, and it was a lot of live exchange, and overall very efficient. Also thanks a lot to Tim and Alexander's work, who overviewed all of it.

Chris Adams: Okay. And this is Tim Frick of Designing for Sustainability, uh, that he wrote in 2016. So it's, uh, nice to actually see this kind of path all the way through. And if I may, I just want to touch on a couple of things that you said there that sounded interesting. You said you did some work earlier in France already, and I understand, would that be a I know there's one organization there, and I think you mentioned Eco-design as in Eco-design FR.

Could you maybe touch on some of those two points, please?

Anne Faubry: Uh huh, so there's actually a lot of different guidelines existing in France, and they are now converging. So there are two governmental ones at the moment, one by the AFNOR, which is the French Standardization Organization, and it's now being taken to the European level. And there's another one, which is the RGESN, which is more, like, only guidelines at the moment, not necessarily a standard so far. But it's, I was actually this afternoon working on this project again. They are now consulting a lot of different professionals and experts on this question to take it to the second version and to make it eventually, if also the legal context and political context allows it, to a standard level. At the moment, it's just guidelines, but we can see in the digital sector industry, it's still, it's already much used by many organizations to promote what they're doing in terms of a sustainable responsibility. And then there's different guidelines, most specific for developers or designers who are more focused on the web, easier to implement. So that's what we've done also with the, within the association for designers. Green IT is a great association doing this for developers and other, also other profiles. And so a lot of associations have popped up within the last years to help understand those guidelines, because they're not necessarily easy to handle.

Chris Adams: Or in English, yeah, as well. Okay, so, it's, I didn't know there was such a strong francophone influence, and it's, this is one thing that we found with the Green Web Foundation. We end up working with Gautier, whose name I never pronounce properly, for the Fog of Enactment, specifically because there's so much good work being done in France, that in many ways is quite a bit further ahead than some of the things that might have been outside of, say, the francophone, like, in, in particularly in primarily English-speaking communities, for example. And maybe this actually speaks to one of the things we might talk about later because there is something in the region, I think it's 93 separate recommendations in the guidelines, or is it 93, Alex? It's more than 90 at least, isn't it?

Alexander Dawson: Yeah.

Chris Adams: it's a lot here. And the thing I was going to ask you is, these guidelines cover a wide range of topics, as you mentioned, so like UX, business, web development, just, and they also don't just talk about carbon, because at the Green Software Foundation, there's a focus primarily with the, on software carbon intensity, and that's the actual specs specifically speaks to this. And while there is an interest in addressing some of the other kind of dimensions of environmental impact that you might care about, that's been the focus for the time being. I wanted to ask, Alex, if I could put to this, this to you first and then come to Anne. Could you maybe talk a little bit about the reasoning behind this decision to cover a number of different areas and then some of the trade-offs you'd have to, you had to make while deciding this kind of scope?

Because you can go wide or you can go narrow and they both have pluses and minuses.

Alexander Dawson: When we came to the decision of producing the specification, we really decided to go with an ESG approach. And obviously with ESG, it's not just about the environmental factors, it's also about social and governance and also economical. And... One of the things that we came to realize when also incorporating and looking towards things like the web content accessibility guidelines, especially for myself, I come from a inclusive design background, and it's often in the cases of things like inclusive design and climate change, the people who are most risk of being affected by subject matters such as climate change, those in at-risk scenarios, so older generations, younger generations, people with accessibility issues, people from low-income backgrounds, they're the individuals who are most often affected by climate related issues, such as people in developing nations and people, as I said, who may have accessibility needs often can be the ones who are at the blunt end of the climate related instrument. So it's one of the areas that we wanted to implicitly tackle with the guidelines to be aware of the human factor. So incorporating people and the planet within the scope of the guidelines. So things like accessibility, privacy by design, security measures, and well, um, there has been debate as to whether these things should be covered within the scope. There's a very good argument that obviously taking into account things like accessibility, for example, if a website is accessible, then it's going to actually reduce carbon emissions by default because someone with accessibility needs is going to be able to access that information much easier and they're going to spend less time on their screens or scrolling through information or having difficulty encountering barriers to access.

And that's going to waste less, not only time actually on the screen, but their device actually having to work around the barriers trying to get through those particular issues so there's a multitude of complexities and variables involved but implicitly working around all these issues such as security issues and privacy issues and accessibility issues, actually, as a secondary factor, can help reduce the carbon factor.

So it's something that we wanted to include within the scope. And it's something that we've run through, not only with the benefits, as can be seen throughout the guidelines, but it's something that we've integrated within the, the ESG measurements.

Chris Adams: Okay, so you're speaking not just about carbon and there's almost, it sounds like in sustainability lingo people talk about co-benefits, as in something that might help the climate but it also has a, kind of a societal good as well. That's one of the angles that you have there. And, Anne, I want to give a bit of space for you to talk about some of this as well because I I do know that France has had a typical, has a history of speaking about more than just carbon. Possibly because of the fact that the energy is already very clean, but it also means that there's other things we need to take into account like water and the material depletion and I forget that, I can never remember the other one that we actually refer to for this, but I know this is some stuff that you might be talking about.

Maybe you could talk a little bit about the range of different communities that you're coming from because you're a UX and UI designer and that's not the same as development and these cover quite a broad range of functions I suppose is the way you might talk about them.

Anne Faubry: That's a very good point. As a designer, you have to think, all the jobs to think about maybe even more as a designer, think about the externalities of what you're designing. And of course, I'm not going to come back on what Alexander said. It was, uh, 

Chris Adams: a second, sorry Sam, and externality in this case, that's like shifting the cost outside onto outside of the organisational brandery? Maybe you could just touch on that because I think it's a word that people might not be so familiar with.

Anne Faubry: So, when you design a product, sometimes you're going to have some rebound effects or other effects which can be good or bad, but which were not anticipated. And this is what is called externalities. It's a debated word, it's a bit controversial because it's, it comes from an economic background. But it's important to have this in mind when you design a product because sometimes you might have the best intentions, but when it comes to environment, you can sometimes make things worse than what you wanted to do and what was the previous case. And that's what happens sometimes, if you only look at carbon, you might have some pollution transfers, especially indeed if you have a clean energy. I don't want to get into the nuclear debate, it's not that simple, but indeed regarding the carbon, it's pretty clean. And what we can totally see in the digital industry is people tend to replace devices for new ones because they're more energy efficient. And they tend also as designers or developers or architects to make their choices regarding a lot of the energy consumed. And uh, if you look at the other planetary boundaries, there's nine of them, carbon is only one of them. But there's also the water use and the pollution of the water, the soil, uh, the air. So if you only look at, uh, energy consumption and carbon related to it, you might forget the mineral extraction and all the biodiversity, uh, destroyed with that. And, and this relates also to the human aspects Alex was mentioning. So it's very important not only to look at carbon, but also to look at different environmental indicators, like water or resources consumption, to make sure you don't have these pollution transfers or bad externalities, eventually even the best, which might be IT for good and everything, but if it's not useful, or if it's actually consuming more resources to run, like with the AI or 5G, then it might be worse than the previous solutions.

Chris Adams: Okay, thank you for explaining that. So it sounds like there's a number of different criteria or dimensions that you're looking at rather than just looking at carbon. And there may be different degrees to which they may be easy to act on or even measure the impact on for some of this stuff. But one thing that I was aware of and one thing that I think was high tied in the second part of this was actually trying to make these standards something a bit more easy, a bit more usable for people. And like we can talk about some of the specific things, the nuances around, say, carbon and water and stuff like that. But, Alex, I thought I might just ask you a little bit about this because this is the first time I've seen some of these standards where they're designed in such a way that they can be consumed by other digital tools so they can, some of this can be surfaced. Maybe you could talk about some of the process for trying to find ways to make this stuff easy for people to see because I know at the Green Web Foundation where we work, us having a really simple check has been a really good way to start a conversation over something that is incredibly nuanced when just talking about energy, for example, just like Anne mentioned. But, yeah, there are some really cool things about these draft guidelines that I haven't seen in a spec before, so maybe I'll just give you the floor and let you nerd out on some of this bit.

Alexander Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things obviously that we wanted to do after getting the draft specification out was to focus on trying to make this as easy for people to consume as possible because obviously we want people to start looking at the work and trying to start implementing these practices.

Obviously, as it stands, the specification is a really long document. So I think if you include all the stuff that can be expanded on, it's close to 300 pages in length. So quite a lengthy piece of work for people to scroll through. But...

Chris Adams: including the references, right?

Alexander Dawson: we've got supplementary documents which we are consistently working on to help people digest that material and to help other toolmakers and people who want to utilize it to actually take advantage of that work and to more easily consume it. For example, one of the first things that we produced alongside the very first draft was an at-a-glance document. And essentially it works as a functioning summary of the guidelines themselves.

So just giving a brief overview of exactly what is contained within the guidelines. And it's something that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines also has. And within the second draft, we also released a quick reference guide. And the quick reference essentially boils down all of the guidelines into a easy-to-reference sheet which

Chris Adams: A TL:DR version, right?

Alexander Dawson: Yeah exactly, which people can just scroll through and get the gist of exactly what they need to do in order to complete and work through each of the individual guidelines.

Obviously there's links through to the full in-depth guidelines, if people want to get more detail onto them, but we're obviously trying to help people get through these guidelines as easily as possible. And there's a PDF checklist to go along with that, because obviously we know people like checklists and we know that it's helpful for taking to meetings, being able to highlight and work through it with clients and be able to mark off your progress and such. And we do have a JSON API as well, which is something that got launched with the second draft, which is really useful because it's a JSON file that contains the complete unabridged form of the guidelines in full, which can be queried against via our GitHub repo and people can remix it, utilize it, do what they want with it to be able to use or implement our guidelines, as they wish.

A few people have played about with it, showcasing some of their favorite guidelines within their website. We've got a copy of it, which is going to be used on the Sustainable Web Design website, which we're going to be relaunching soon. So there'll be the ability to filter the guidelines by tags, by specific disciplines, being able to search through individual guidelines, so that will actually make looking through the guidelines much easier, and for helping people to be able to work through the content as well.

Chris Adams: Okay, cool. 

Alexander Dawson: And also we've got some additional stuff which is on earmarked in the GitHub repo, which we're going to be working on in the future as well. Things like we're going to be producing an introductory document, which will give a generic sort of overview to web sustainability and why it's important and guiding people into the guidelines and effectively working as a good solid standardized overview, and also a test suite which will provide implementability.

So it will provide some actually measurable impact reporting for how effective individual guidelines are and hopefully some guidance regarding tooling and user agents. Because hopefully we would like to see our work implemented in things like Google Lighthouse in the future as well. So a lot of 

Chris Adams: linters things 

Alexander Dawson: come.

Chris Adams: Okay, cool. Thank you for that, Alex. All right, we'll link to a few of those things for any people who are interested in this and might want to have a go at building some of that stuff. I'm just going to touch on the next question. So, we've heard the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines mentioned a few times, or, I don't know, WCAG, is that how you pronounce it? I can never remember. Yeah. So, these have been useful for helping people, basically, make space for accessibility, so making sure people allocate time and money to this stuff in a project, and they've been useful, uh, for courts, uh, to actually recognize the rights of people with disabilities to access services, for example.

Like, we've seen cases of government, uh, websites mandating this has to happen, and we've also seen pizza websites being sued for not having accessible websites, like the examples of Domino's and stuff like that. Maybe we could talk, Anne, if I start with you, then maybe we could hand over to Alex. Could you maybe talk a little bit about how much this might have influenced the creation of these guidelines?

Because this is, it's been cited quite a few times now, and this is one thing that I really, that really leapt at me when I was looking over the guidelines.

Anne Faubry: The WCAG is, is indeed a, a reference, um, it's crazy to see how in France it became a compulsory as a law. And currently there's also other companies being sued for not respecting it. So it's really moving forward finally, because for a long time it has been in place, but it was not acted upon. And there was just threats, but nothing was happening.

So nobody really cared, uh, regarding the companies. And, and so you can see how it can shape the online environment and if we can do the same with the sustainability, which is actually a broader, broader side of accessibility because as Alex said, everything is intertwined, if we can do the same, then it can be extremely powerful. It can go up as high as governments, but it can also give very practical guidelines for the designers, the developers, everybody working on digital services. So it was definitely an inspiration. The other thing, which is great with the WCAG is the fact that you can check box and that it's very powerful to see if you're making improvements and how you can compare to each other.

And the comparison is also a very strong drive for many organizations and people. And, and again, to see the W3C publishing these guidelines, it's really accelerated also what happened in France, in the government because they, they saw that they were being caught up worldwide.

Chris Adams: Okay, and I, Alex, I might hand over to you for some of this, because when you work with web accessibility, there's this phrase, POUR, perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. And we've done some work, we being Green Web Foundation, we did some work with Wagtail, a content management system, to work on something we were referring to as GOLD, which was Green, Open, Lean, and Distributed as a way of talking about some of these things you might want to design for in a kind of somewhat memorable fashion. Maybe you could talk a little bit about how, how you might make some of this memorable for people or easy to actually talk about because as Anne just mentioned, when you can make it really explicit when something is or is not, isn't being done, it becomes very easy to actually then specify as a product manager or someone along the way to say, "here's what I'm asking for. Can you please deliver this or deliver that?" And I think that might have influenced some of the reference to, actually we'll talk about a little bit later, about the global reporting, the GRI, because that's something that's referenced. So maybe we talk about POUR and some of those things there, and if there's anything like that you've seen in sustainable, in the world of sustainability, then we could talk a little bit about this other reference because this is something I haven't seen in the, in guidelines before, a reference to other global standards, for example.

Alexander Dawson: Yeah, certainly there are quite a few of guidance out there, as Anne mentioned, things like AFNOR and RGESN, which we've certainly tied ourselves and linked up to whenever possible. And we've hooked ourselves, as we're going to be mentioning later, to GRI. But as far as sustainability goes there aren't a lot of catchy acronyms or things which we can say to people that "you need to do this or do that."

So what we've tried to do is really focus primarily on providing people with things that can be implemented. Much of our work is obviously based on things which people are hopefully already doing, good accessibility practices, good performance practices in terms of web performance, things which are usually, in a good agency setting, things that web developers were already trying to be integrating with their practices, all we're trying to do is showcasing it from a sustainability angle and trying to reinforce it and showcasing how it can actually reduce emissions and where those additional performances can be measured and where the best practices could be additionally tweaked, as it were, so hopefully the work that we're doing can actually be utilized alongside the standards and best practices and actually be used to, um, the benefits with any additional legislation that's coming out, because obviously the EU is seeing legislation as we speak, things like, um, CSRD, which is going,

Chris Adams: what that means, because that's, so the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive is what the CSRD stands sorry, we're trying to avoid alphabet soup.

Alexander Dawson: yeah, sorry. Yeah. And obviously with this upcoming legislation, one of the things that they have mentioned is that they are actually going to be aligning this directive with the GRI standard as a measurement of implementation, effectively for people who are listening, if you want to conform with this piece of legislation, what the EU is saying is, "if you are abiding by the GRI standard, that is a great way of showing that you are complying with this legislation when it effectively comes into force."

And because our standard, as we are producing, is aligning 

Chris Adams: referring an existing

Alexander Dawson: Yeah, exactly. Because what we have produced is aligning itself with GRI and we've got GRI measurement impacts with every single guideline, the great thing is that if people can make those measurable improvements, they will have effectively our weighted evidence that they can use in their reporting to show that they are complying with this upcoming legislation, which hopefully will be a sign to show that they are conforming with sustainability regulation as it is coming into force, which is another hopeful, beneficial move to show other governments that potentially they should be moving in this direction as well.

Chris Adams: Okay, and, Anne, I might just ask for... GRI, we haven't defined what GRI means, but we've said it lots and lots of times. GRI, it's the Global Reporting Index. Is that the,

is? Yeah, Initiative, Global Reporting Index, which is a, maybe you could just briefly touch on some of that before we move to another questions about, and we need to be quite short about this one on the W3C because there are recommendations, there's standards, and there's different things, and we might be useful to talk about that. But in the meantime, yeah, maybe you could just briefly, for the uninitiated, explain the role of the GRI and what some of this actually is, because it comes up a lot again and again and again, just as Alex says.

Anne Faubry: Well, actually, if you allow me, I'd rather have Alex answer this because don't use the GRI much.

I didn't know actually of the GRI before joining the W3C, so I don't think we use it that much in France.

Chris Adams: Alright, quickly then, we'll stay on the GRI, because there's another, I didn't mean this to be such a kind of TLA, sorry, three letter acronym soup of an episode, but we are going to talk a little bit about, okay, you've got these guidelines, what happens next? So Alex, if I ask you briefly what the GRI is

then we'll just touch on what happens from here to turning this into like standards or what that process looks like.

Alexander Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. The best way that I can describe it for listeners in a really simple, easy way, the really simple crash course is that effectively you have best practices, you have standards, and then you have regulation. Essentially what we are producing with the Web Sustainability Guidelines is what's known as a best practice.

So it's something which helps you conform with any standards or any regulation because it's effectively out there but it's effectively not endorsed by a regulatory body, but it's something which is bound by evidence and we try to link it in with what standards already exist. You also have standards.

Now these are things like the GRI and you also have the International Standards Organization, otherwise known as ISO. And the GRI have produced a standard and GRI, the Global Reporting Initiative, it's been around for about 20 odd years and it's used by businesses and corporations and later bodies everywhere.

And it's free for anybody to use and it essentially lays down a whole set of different guidelines for things like mineral use and for water usage and for all the things that you would measure under ESG. So that's essentially set down in stone because they're a standards body like the World Wide Web Consortium.

And then above that you obviously have regulation because they're regulated by governments, and they are the people who effectively lay down the laws. So, essentially, that's the crash course method. You've got the governments, the standard bodies, and then you've got people like us who are producing materials to try and comply with those different things.

Chris Adams: Okay. All right. Thanks for spelling that out, I suppose. All right. So we spoke a little bit about the fact that, okay, you have these different kind of tracks and there is a way that you might go from here. Maybe we could just briefly touch on the fact that you've, there's now a second draft of these guidelines that are, that are out for people. Um, what's next on the roadmap? Or maybe I should ask, like, is there a roadmap? What happens over the next six to 12 months now that these are out here, for example? Anne, if I put that question to you, maybe you could talk a little bit about that, and then we'll touch on some of the other questions.

Anne Faubry: So people are actually asking lots of questions, uh, suggesting improvements, debating some of the facts, um, and sometimes contributing with new points of view, uh, and submitting issues on GitHub. And Alexander and Tim are doing an amazing job trying to integrate all of this feedback into the second and then now the currently the third draft of these guidelines.

Chris Adams: Okay, so we got that. So basically, if you read through these, and we'll be linking to these, you're able to run through... Basically, the idea is, go to GitHub, ask some of the questions there, possibly make a pull request or something like that, but that's the main way for collecting people's feedback right now.

So that's the case. Yeah?

Alexander Dawson: A pull request, add an issue to the issues system, and obviously it will be reviewed and integrated into the next draft and yeah, everyone's welcome also to join the community group and come to our meetings because we hold them every month and we discuss current progress.

Chris Adams: Okay, so if you can't use GitHub and you're or maybe you don't want to use GitHub, there are other channels you can either use and I think that there's maybe even something as old as old as low tech as a mailing list. So there's like a mailing list and video and there's also calls people can join to go. So there's a more than one channel by which you might share some of your feedback into the formation of some of these guidelines. Okay, alright, that's really helpful for people to understand. We're just coming to the end of the time, so I just wanted to give a bit of time for you two to talk about, now that we've just been speaking all about these guidelines and them being out there, and how they can be consumed and used, and how they are made, are there any other open projects or communities that, that outside of this, you think are really exciting and interesting?

So Anne, what kind of projects are inspiring you right now that might have helped you shape your thinking for this work here, but also that you spend your time thinking about or wanting to contribute to outside of this as well?

Anne Faubry: There's a great tool I keep using, but it's not even new, actually. It was done by Artefact, which is, I think, a company from England. And they created the Tarot Cards of Tech, a list of questions you can use. I use it in my projects, I use it with my students, I use it with my colleagues to ponder your choices, think long term, think strategy, and think externalities you might have, good or bad. I love the questions. There's actually two of my favorites, which are, "what would you do differently if nature was your client?" So you can think really differently about your service, thinking "maybe I could reduce this footprint or add this feature to raise awareness on this issue with the users." And another one I love is "what happens if 100 million people are using your product?" And then you can also think what externalities you might have on jobs, on social habits, on housing, and on many different topics to rethink more systematically and, and to think about more/other sustainable issues besides environmental ones.

Chris Adams: Okay, cool. Thank you for that, Anne. And Alex, I'll give a bit of space for you before we wrap up on this one. So, what projects are catching your eye or that you're really interested in right now that might have helped inform some of the work that you've been doing recently?

Alexander Dawson: I think the main one that really informed me most lately is CO2.js.

Chris Adams: Fershad will be happy, yeah.

Alexander Dawson: Yeah, I'm working on measurement because that really inspired me on when I was doing some of my own research to investigate more on how carbon affects various different aspects of the web ecosystem.

Chris Adams: I assure you that wasn't planned ahead, alright? Um, for reference folks, CO2.js is one of the projects that, uh, the Green Web Foundation works on and maintains that's used in a number of tools, uh, for this. I'm a little bit embarrassed, so I'm gonna move on quite quickly, uh, to the final question. Basically, we, if people have found this interesting or finding out about the fact that there are, there is guidance from the W3C trying to do this kind of work, and they want to find out about what to do and what's happening with this, could you just tell people where they should look or where they go?

If there is a particular website you would, you could possibly pronounce and spell out for people so they, if they're listening, they know what to Google.

Alexander Dawson: Yeah, if they just Google the Sustainable Web Design Community group, they will find our homepage and there's a great link to the wiki there which has all the information about all of our past meetings, frequently asked questions and links to all the social channels and how they can get involved. So that's a great place where people can start getting involved in the project.

Chris Adams: Cool, thank you, Alex. I've just checked while you're describing that. I've also, if you type in the word Sustyweb, it's a pretty good Google hack. So, there is nothing related to Sustyweb so far, other than this stuff. Okay, Anne, I'm going to hand over to you and then we'll get the final word with Alex. If people are curious about some of your work and if you have any kind of professional presence and you're comfortable sharing that, is there a particular place you would send people to or if they've found what you were talking about as interesting, where should they look?

Anne Faubry: Our main English resource, uh, is the guidelines that we produced. It's called Eco-design. I will share the exact link so people will know where to look. And otherwise I'd be happy to talk with anyone on, on LinkedIn. That's the best place to find me.

Chris Adams: Okay, so Anne Faubry on LinkedIn or, or Eco-design. Okay, and, Alex, yourself? If people want to find you online, what's the best way to find you in a professional context?

Alexander Dawson: With me it's relatively easy, they just go to alexanderdawson.com

Chris Adams: All right, that was easy. Okay, this has been fun. I've learned a lot. And this has been a nice conversation. Thank you so much for taking the time to actually run through this with me and tell me all about how this works and hopefully this should be interesting for other people who are curious about how standards are formed and how the W3C might be having some kind of impact in how people think about sustainable web. All right, thank you folks! Hey everyone, thanks for listening! Just a reminder to follow Environment Variables on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please, do leave a rating and review if you like what we're doing. It helps other people discover the show, and of course, we'd love to have more listeners. To find out more about the Green Software Foundation, please visit greensoftware.foundation. That's greensoftware.foundation in any browser. Thanks again and see you in the next episode.