Green IO
#25 - W3C Sustainability Guidelines with Ines Akrap and Lukasz Mastalerz
October 10, 2023
What if you could get sued if your website is not low-carbon enough? What if you would be barred from many call for tenders if your digital services don’t hit minimum sustainability requirements? Science-fiction? This is what people said on 5 May 1999 when the first version ever of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines was released by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). 20 years later, these pitfalls are day-to-day concerns for many digital companies and digital service providers. On August 31st this year, the W3C released its first ever Sustainability Guidelines (draft version). Ines Akrape and Lukas Mastalerz, two of its core contributors, share insider insights in this episode on how it will impact the way of working for millions of web developers, designers, ops and data folks. And why we will certainly not wait 20 years for this to happen… ❤️ Subscribe, follow, like, ... stay connected the way you want to never miss an episode! 📧 Once a month, we deliver carefully curated news on digital sustainability packed with exclusive Green IO contents in your mailbox, subscribe to the Green IO newsletter here. 🫴 Green IO is a free and independent podcast! And so we need your help to keep it that way by supporting us on Tipeee here.
What if you could get sued if your website is not low-carbon enough? What if you would be barred from many call for tenders if your digital services don’t hit minimum sustainability requirements? 


This is what people said on 5 May 1999 when the first version ever of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines was released by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). 20 years later, these pitfalls are day-to-day concerns for many digital companies and digital service providers. 

On August 31st this year, the W3C released its first ever Sustainability Guidelines (draft version). Ines Akrape and Lukas Mastalerz, two of its core contributors, share insider insights in this episode on how it will impact the way of working for millions of web developers, designers, ops and data folks. And why we will certainly not wait 20 years for this to happen…

❤️ Subscribe, follow, like, ... stay connected the way you want to never miss an episode!

📧 Once a month, we deliver carefully curated news on digital sustainability packed with exclusive Green IO contents in your mailbox, subscribe to the Green IO newsletter here

🫴 Green IO is a free and independent podcast! And so we need your help to keep it that way by supporting us on Tipeee here.

Learn more about our guest and connect: 

📧 You can also send us an email at to share your feedback and suggest future guests or topics.   

Ines's and Lukasz’ sources and other references mentioned in this episode:


[00:00:09] Lukasz Mastalerz: We didn't want to go too narrow to only focus on CO2 emissions because that's not the only thing that matters. But then on the other hand, that we have to be careful about not going too broad because then it would be difficult to measure all the guidelines across all these different potential impacts.

[00:00:43] Gael Duez: Hello, everyone, welcome to Green IO the podcast for responsible technologists building a greener digital world one bite at a time. On Green IO, we explore how to reduce the environmental impact of our digital world. Our guests from across the globe share insights, tools and alternative approaches enabling people within the tech sector and beyond to boost digital sustainability.

If this episode doesn't sound as usual, it's just that I'm recording it in a friend's house, being without house and without office since a few weeks ago. Don't worry, the refurbishment of my house should be finalized before December and before the beginning of cyclone season here in Reunion Island. And I should also soon join a new incubator place where I will help start ups with the impact both on the tech for green side but also on the green for tech side, which is the DNA of this podcast.

Talking about DNA, What does HTML and CSS have in common? They are the ultimate worldwide standards on how we code on the web - a bit like DNA. And they are maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium  - the W3C -  this is how we will name it throughout the  podcast) maintain many more standards such as XML, SVG or web RTC just to name a few. But the W3C also provide guidelines. The most famous one being the accessibility guidelines called web content accessibility guidelines. Today WCAG are used in countless laws  and regulations frameworks, best practices, sources, etcetera. In a nutshell, what W3C decides will be used in every website around the world. And on August 31st this year, the W3C sustainable web design community group, nicknamed ‘SustyWay’, released the first ever web sustainability guidelines in a draft version. This means that every person working in web development will be impacted at some point or another. We already talked about the W3C and its ongoing work in several episodes, including three episodes with active participants in the development of the document : Tim Frick, Anne Faubry and Sandy Däehnert.

But this time, the entire episode will be dedicated to W3C guidelines, and I have the pleasure to be joined by two other very active participants : Ines Akrap who is one of the pillars of the web development committee and Łukasz Mastalerz, who is the chair of the Metrics Committee. On top of a W3C spare time commitment, Ines is also a seasoned software developer with a knack for web performance and sustainability. She's based in Munich, Germany where she is a fellow hiker in the beautiful Alps, like me in Reunion Island, (well, not the Alps, more the volcanoes for me, and she actually hikes far less than she would like to, just like me in the Reunion Island).
On top of his W3C spare time commitment, Lucasz is also a climate data architect and before that, he was it architect director at UBS. He's also a fellow facilitator of the digital collage workshop where we met first before this W3C adventure all started. He has contributed to the development of the workshop in Krakow, Poland where he currently lives. Welcome, Ines and Łukasz. Thanks a lot for joining Green IO today, especially on such short notice.

[00:04:20] Ines Akrape : Thank you so much for the invite. 

[00:04:23] Lukasz Mastalerz: Hi, I'm so happy to be here. At Climate Arc we're defining our work as building arcs between NGO’s, finance and corporate, and I think your mission is to build bridges between people looking into sustainable digitization. So I think our missions are very much aligned.

[00:04:43] Gael Duez: very much alined. I like to mention to explain my job, as with the Green, a podcast as a bridge builder. So it 100% resonates with me. So you know, my first question will be actually not about the story of these guidelines, how we achieved such a great document et cetera. It's all about getting our hands dirty right from the start. And for this, I'd like to ask you a tricky question. Could you share your top three favorite guidelines with a bit of explanation about your choice? And I know it's not an easy task, having plenty of choices here among the 93 listed guidelines.

[00:05:32] Ines Akrape: It's like making me choose between children, which one is my favorite? I only have one child !  but I guess I would go for avoiding unnecessary assets. That would be the first one that goes straight away towards what I think digital sustainability is a lot about  - its just reduction in itself as well, just less, less, less. So I would say that one. Then as well, same thing with the third parties. So again, I come from a very, very web performance perspective here and these third parties is something that I've seen so many times in my work, that they are just being dropped here, and left, and then just sit there, and which of course, are being transferred every single time a user visited the website (so for years) 
As well, I think I would go with the one that I'm actually currently working on with the client, which is browser caching as well. This one goes towards the line of bringing data closer to the user, not having to travel long distances, which we all know this is kind of a current proxy for for carbon measurement when it comes to the web. So I think those those would be kind of the three I would go for.

[00:07:02] Gael Duez: your three favorite Children. Oh, how terrible that sounds. And by the way, the third party issue you've mentioned, made me think about the tool ‘aremythirdpartiesgreen’, by a fellow web performance and web sustainability expert, Fershad Irani . Did you ever use his tool?

[00:07:25] Ines Akrape : Not yet, but I am planning to, I'm a huge fan of his. 

[00:07:30] Gael Duez: Yeah, he was the very first guest on the show. So I've got always like a soft spot for him. And what about you, Łukasz? Uh What are your top three guidelines?

[00:07:42] Lukas Mastalerz: That's a tricky question. Indeed. But I'd maybe try to go with sustainable hosting. And the main reason for this, is that there's a big difference between a hosting and a region with a low carbon intensity of a grid versus a high intensity -  it could be up to two orders of magnitude difference. So I think impact wise that's going to be a big one. Then I would maybe go for sustainable product strategy because obviously all these decisions have have to be first taken on the business side, to basically drive implementation of a more lower level guidelines. So without the right product strategy, there's small chance to implement these more technical guidelines. And then maybe on a more specific technical side, native features, because they're both more sustainable, usually faster and cheaper to to implement.

[00:08:58] Gael Duez: That's funny that you connected both the design phase and the hosting phase , because (and I don't know if you share this view, but I would love your feedback on it) usually when I'm with a client trying to deploy a green IT or digital sustainability strategy, I used to tell them, the easiest and less impact phase will be the hosting phase, but that's OK. You should start with it. You should start with Ops people who start to measure and reduce because, this is very important stuff that we need, having measurements and having a clear understanding of what costs what, in terms of carbon and also environmental impact. That's usually pretty easy to do. We've got tools and Ops people are pretty comfortable with putting tools to measure things, but then be aware that the impact will be way less than when you have actually the hardest part, which is involving the design people and starting a truly sustainable product journey, which is challenging all the time : do I really need these? Can I reuse something? The three Rs, et cetera. And I kind of like the idea that you picked the two opposites, and so what is your take on it?

[00:10:12] Lukasz Mastalerz: Hm. I think if someone is starting to build greenfield from scratch, then it's probably easier because, it's easier to now look into different metrics of hosting options and just go for green from day one. It's obviously not that easy if an application is already running and some changes have to be done there, as it's more effort and cost of course.

[00:10:47] Gael Duez: Yeah, it makes total sense. So now that you hate me a little with having to pick your three favorites, would you like to share maybe one guideline with which you are a bit less comfortable?

[00:11:03] Ines Akrape: So I guess I will have to disappoint you a bit here because I just, I'm I'm very comfortable with most of them. So we worked on them together. We revised them a lot and all that. So I guess from, from my perspective, I just think one is very, very hard to pick. I don't know. I just, I absolutely don't know which one I would say that I'm kind of not comfortable with…

[00:11:27] Gael Duez: And that's a perfectly understandable answer. What about you Łukasz?

[00:11:32] Lukas Mastalerz: Hm. I'm hoping this is as strict as it gets and you are not planning a third level of difficulty for the questions...

[00:11:41] Gael Duez: The boss level.

[00:11:43] Lukas Mastalerz: Exactly. But one of the things that probably needs some thought is maybe a guideline of open source, that would be the right guideline in general. But I wouldn't be maybe too dogmatic about this. I can imagine cases where something that's not open source could be a better solution than pure open source.

[00:12:10] Gael Duez: And what would you be the key takeaways? You know, if you meet someone who was not aware at all about the W3C work, say you meet your colleague at the coffee machine and you say, ‘there are a few things that you should very seriously bear in mind about these guidelines. And these are…’

[00:12:29] Lukasz Mastalerz: I'd probably say that across the world, especially in Europe, slowly in the States, we're starting to see sustainability regulation appearing and getting some traction. And obviously the digital world is a big part of many businesses. We try to align guidelines with existing taxonomies, which means that enhancements and web sustainability can be embedded into bigger picture of sustainability reporting initiatives.

[00:13:10] Gael Duez: Ines ?

[00:13:11] Ines Akrape: Yeah, I guess I would go again a bit more from a software engineering perspective. Which is that the accessibility guidelines that you mentioned before were so crucial to the topic, which is very important. Just because they gave a clear overview, they gave a recipe in a way on how to achieve something. And I think this is something that we're trying to get as well with the sustainability, that the users, in this case, that the developers, the product owners, the designers, everyone being involved in the development of the digital products has a place to look, to have a list - not to have to be spread around -  but just somewhere where they have, let's say, just a checklist.

[00:14:04] Gael Duez: Yeah, fair point. Now, moving from the ground level, I would say, I'd like to talk a bit and ask you to highlight to us a bit about the building the process underlying choices, etcetera. And maybe starting with the obvious question, with a bit of history first, how were these guidelines created? Łukasz, do you want to start?

[00:14:29] Lukasz Mastalerz: Sure. So W3C is a sample web design community group which was created 10 years ago. Sometime mid 2022 the group started to actively work on what has been released a few weeks ago (the guidelines). The group consisted of about 50 people from roughly 50 different organizations, working together across five different committees. There was a committee focusing on user experience, web development, a committee focusing on infrastructure, business and community, one focusing on metrics. And we've been working together, having regular meetings, drafting what now has been transformed into ReSpec, which is W3C standard format and which was unched a couple of weeks ago in Seville during the annual TPAC conference.

[00:15:34] Gael Duez: Ines, do you want to add some specificities or your personal point of view on it?

[00:15:41] Ines Akrape: Yeah. Actually I joined the group at end of 2022 and it was a very interesting process. This is my first time creating something like this, participating in a W3C group. And I guess my favorite part as well was the discussions we had no, we have this monthly, monthly meetings and all the discussions about the topic. Because at the end of the day, it's a very complex topic. It was very, very interesting to do this, with colleagues who are interested about the topic.

[00:16:14] Gael Duez: Now, that's interesting because a lot of things were discussed and maybe I'd like your feedback on the something that we've heard quite a lot about, which is the rating system. And actually the fact that, unlike the web content accessibility guidelines which uses A to AAA ratings and, correct me if I'm wrong, but in the future, I guess it will change to rating bronze to gold. You've chosen a system of low, medium and high and it's not exactly the same philosophy. Could you explain to us why?

[00:16:53] Lukasz Mastalerz: So at the very beginning, we started to impact measuring from the mapping of the different types of impacts that we want to account for. Then, as the next step, we did quite a bit of research on how deep we can get into actual metrics. And then we could realize that with the current state of research in many of these areas, it's very difficult to give precise figures for this impact. That's how we ended up just rating them on this three-level scale : low, medium and high. And then with this, we also decided to use a report (which you probably know about because it’s a report that's underlying our material and also the Digital Collage)- the report from, which distributes impact from their centers, networking and end user devices across different categories of impacts, not only emissions or energy use, but also materials and water usage. Then we score all the guidelines for their impact on data centers, networking and devices. And we combine these figures to come up with a final assessment and values for all these metrics.

[00:18:33] Gael Duez: And that's a very important point, because you've chosen not to focus only on carbon, but also a variety of environmental metrics. And actually it goes beyond the environment because, correct me if I'm wrong, there are also privacy, social equity and accessibility issues. Why did you choose to have such a large impact mix? 

[00:18:56] Lukasz Mastalerz: I would say, yeah, that there was a big topic for discussion at the very beginning of uh of our work. And obviously we didn't want to go too narrow, to only focus on CO2 emissions, because that's not the only thing that matters. But then on the other hand, we had to be careful about not going too broad, because then it would be difficult to measure all the guidelines across all these different potential impacts. That's how we adapt, aligning with GRI standards which are used in sustainability reporting. And we started with four categories there. We started with CO2 emissions, energy usage, water and materials. But now aligning to GRI also gives us the ability to expand to many other categories in the future. So there are not only environmental categories, but we can also easily go beyond that into the full scope of what you would call ESG.

[00:20:13] Gael Duez: Hm. And if I imagine a discussion between a web developer or a designer and an ESG expert within the same company, how would the use of GRI help them to communicate ? Concretely speaking, how they will leverage the W3 CG guidelines to connect with the two different spheres that sometimes are very distinct, especially in big companies?

[00:20:44] Lukasz Mastalerz: It's a good question. And I think there are probably many different ways that these two worlds can be connected. But one thing I could imagine would be to go from impact from ratings of impacts, where the ESG team's primary focus is to transform this into set of guidelines that would help to implement improvements for the categories that the ESG team is concerned about.

[00:21:18] Gael Duez: That's very uncommon today in the green IT fields and beyond, to try to connect with the main sustainability frameworks that are shaping our understanding on sustainability and, and which are evolving quite a lot. So, it's a very fast-moving area and I thought the idea was, was really enlightening
Ines, there is one aspect of how the guidelines have been created that I thought was very interesting. But I still I wonder how practical this is, and I would like your feedback and maybe some examples from you. Is the cost or how important it is and how difficult it will be. Could you explain to us a bit why you made this choice and how we should use these criteria?

[00:22:12] Ines Akrape: Yeah. So I actually really love that this part now, when you mean like a high impact, low effort, for example. So this is something that we've been using as well, describing some of the optimizations for web performance for a while. And since these guidelines are not done exactly the same way as accessibility, which has these levels as well, they kind of build on top of each other here as well. It's, it's quite, I would say, up to a level, random. So you don't have to go through the list. Number one, number two, number 93, you can pick anyone that you want. So usually when I talk about this, I say just go for the high impact, low effort. And this is something again that's very useful when it comes to these discussions inside of the development team itself. This topic is a very vertical topic and I think everyone in the whole team should be aware - from a product owner to the tester, content creator, of course developer designers, everyone. I do use this approach as well, while working now with clients, checking once I see the issues that we have. Of course, we go first for the one that's going to have the highest impact, but it will take the least resources, the least time, however you want to calculate it. But this is prioritization, and it's ease of putting something in the line, at the end of the day, to be developed and to be optimized.

[00:23:58] Gael Duez: Aren't you afraid that all the guidelines with high effort, whether you have or not high impact, will be de prioritized ? And I take the example of something dear to the heart of many W3C members, which is ‘use open source tools’ :- high impact, but high effort.

[00:24:20] Ines Akrape: Well, all the hard stuff, sometimes we have to take the harder routes now. I think (to answer your question), not necessarily. So depending on quality, of course, in the end of the day, you want your product to be (good), it should be done well, we all know that. So it's definitely with these things, it's some kind of faster wins. But overall, I guess we would encourage you to go through all the guidelines. This can just give you a bit of an order, so you can focus on those high impact/low efforts first. However, the high effort should be tackled at some point as well. So I guess this is depending on a personal level, like ‘eat that frog’ methodology. So, if you want to do that, first thing in the morning or you want to leave it for the last thing to do, it is something for every single team to decide how they want to tackle them.

[00:25:22] Gael Duez: OK, so we run through most of the framework. There is also something which is a bit specific to these guidelines, or at least compared to other frameworks, which is the use of this success criterion. Could you elaborate a bit of why you've chosen to use a success criterion? And what is the philosophy behind it?

[00:25:47] Lukas Mastalerz: Yeah, for it's probably simple. I see these as basically guidelines on how to actually execute the implementation, they are a helper for implementing.

[00:26:03] Ines Akrape: Yeah, a bit of a checklist.

[00:26:05] Gael Duez: That was what I was wondering. So that's really the philosophy behind it. You can use it as a checklist to make sure that you are aiming in the right direction. 
Ines Akrape Yeah.
Lukasz Mastalerz Exactly.

[00:26:03] Gael Duez: Now, regarding the overall guidelines -  this draft version -there is something that we've heard here and there, which is people acknowledging that it is a huge contribution. There is not that many people saying this was a waste of time. Actually, I could not find a single comment that went in that direction. So obviously, it answers a need. But some people criticized it because it was too vague sometimes. And the guidelines were not that practical. What is your answer to this -  by how much is it missing the point?

[00:26:57] Lukasz Mastalerz: I would say that for some guidelines, they are very specific. For example, they go they down to sharing code examples, on what to do to actually implement them. Some of them are definitely more generic. Obviously, we cannot provide code examples for guideline within business strategy category. So they are maybe a little bit more open. But at the same time, whatever guideline is not specific enough for people to implement, we're looking for feedback, we're looking for contributions to try to make them more actionable.

[00:27:42] Ines Akrape: Yeah, I would completely agree with this. It's just it was very hard to draw the line, what's more generic, what's more of practical. But yes, as Łukasz says as well, some are on one side, some on the other side. But there especially, I would again say for the web development part, it's quite practical. It's up to the code examples. 

[00:28:07] Gael Duez: And because it refers quite a lot at the beginning, at least to the six principles of the Sustainable Web Manifesto. And I was wondering, Ines, are these kind of principles used, and are useful on day to day coding activities according to you ? or are they more helpful as some kind of a North Star metrics, when you create something like these guidelines? But ultimately, it's too far away from one’s day to day job.

[00:28:38] Ines Akrape: I think this is something that should be ingrained in the culture. I think this is something that we should have in the back of our mind while we are making the decisions when it comes design, development, any aspect of the actual product.

[00:28:54] Gael Duez: A bit like a checklist once again, but more on a generic ground - am I still working in a way to produce clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative and resilient code?

[00:29:08] Ines Akrape: Exactly. That would be great if you actually come to the part where you're checking each one. But even if you have just a few -  again, if you just have this at the back of your mind while you're doing stuff, it's already great progress.

[00:29:25] Gael Duez: And to be honest, the regenerative or resilient part is not often checked on. I don't know about you, but resiliency is not that much on the agenda of many Dev teams, but that's a different topic.

[00:29:43] Ines Akrape: Hopefully it changes in the future

[00:29:44] Gael Duez: Yeah. Well, I think it will change in the future because what we used to take for granted, like available 24-7 cheap energy, and a Cloud completely unrelated to environment, it will, I guess at some point will be less and less the case . We've seen already what happened in the UK when they've been hit by a heat wave.
So I got it, the guidelines -  some of them maybe a bit too generic, or at least they have to be generic, because they embrace a wide topic. But some of them, as Ines mentioned, are pretty specific, especially when it comes to web development. So talking about this, if I was a designer or a web dev or someone working in a digital agency, and I had to start somewhere with this pretty intense document - we're talking about the 93 guidelines, I guess more than 200 pages – then where should I start? And how should I apprehend such a massive document ? Because of course, my time is scarce and I cannot necessarily run through the entire document and read all the 93 guidelines. I know it should be done. But hey, that's not how life is being played today.

[00:31:12] Lukasz Mastalerz: Hm. Sure. So I guess I'll start probably with an ‘at a glance document’ that summarizes all the guidelines in a couple of pages. It's easy to read and it's easy to use to navigate to different parts of the actual guidelines content. Then obviously, depending on what you're doing, you'll be focusing on some specific category. So if you're responsible for strategy, you'd be focusing on business guidelines. If you're focusing on user experience, you'll be focusing on UX guidelines. So this is also going to help you to select a subsection of the document that you should be looking into. And then obviously looking for an impact that's big. You should be probably focusing on a high impact first. And then we also have tagging that helps in the navigation. So we can also use tags across all these guidelines to drill into some specific topic.

[00:32:19] Ines Akrape: I guess Lucas said it all, but I would just say as well, bear with us a bit longer, because the team behind is working on making this a bit more legible and to be able to navigate it a bit more easily.

[00:32:37] Gael Duez: OK. Thanks a lot. I think that's, those are very valuable insights because people should not be afraid of the amount of work that has to be done, but start with the step by step approach. So actually, Łukasz mentioned that if some people are not comfortable with some guidelines, when they say they're too generic or not actionable enough, they should provide feedback, which leads me to a very important question : what's next? what are the next steps for these guidelines?

[00:33:11] Lukasz Mastalerz: Yes, there are at least a couple of different things that are happening now. First of all, guidelines have been published to W3C's github repository and now we're accepting issues to be raised against them, and pull requests to recommend changes. So that's a community contribution. At the same time, a we mentioned before, these are community guidelines. And in order for this to become W3C’s recommendations, which is a, is a term for like a standard, there is quite a bit of work that has to happen. We need to form an official working group with W3C and go through a pretty detailed process of moving these recommandations towards standardization. 

[00:34:11] Gael Duez: And are you confident this will happen?

[00:34:15] Lukas Mastalerz: There's going to be a lot of work. Definitely. But we've seen over the last 16 months, that we have reached a strong community that are supporting this work. So I'm pretty sure that this is going to continue. And in addition to members who have already kept contributing, we're starting to see quite a bit of interest from public. We're starting to see people interested in these issues, in Git lab now. I think it's probably also the right time to invite people who would be interested in joining and continuing this journey with us. The community is open, so if you're interested in this topic, feel free to join us.

[00:35:04] Gael Duez : Ines, did you have time to review some of these contributions in the github repository?

[00:35:12] Ines Akrape: I just actually quickly scanned them. So not many because at some point I actually had to disable the notification since it's for so many different contributions. 

[00:35:22] Gael Duez: But that's the very good news.

[00:35:23] Ines Akrape: Yeah, it is, it is to be honest, it really is. It’s very nice because I guess one of the things that I definitely don't like is people who complain and then don't offer solutions. So here are a lot of solutions and improvements being offered and being raised. So this is great. So again, an invitation to everyone, please review the guidelines, give us your feedback, because this is the best way for us to make them even better.

[00:35:55] Gael Duez: Definitely. And to those who do not want to join, the huge majority of people working in web development and for whatever reason will not join, I guess it will still impact them. Am I right?

[00:36:10] Ines Akrape: Yeah. Well, hopefully it impacts everyone now. Unfortunately, as we've seen with accessibility, not much happens until it becomes a law. So hopefully this goes towards that line. But, my hope would be that everyone comes across them at some point and again hopefully implements some of these guidelines.

[00:36:35] Gael Duez: makes total sense. And actually, I would like to ask you to join in another little game to discuss what we can reasonably expect. Because it all revolves around this ‘hopefully’ world that you've described Ines. So I'd like you to share with us three sentences structured like this :  
This will help us structure a bit what we can literally expect tomorrow, but also to give us a bit of perspective. Ines, would you like to start first?

[00:37:43] Ines Akrape: Sure. So I would say in 2024, since the release of the WSG, people working in Web Dev have come across them (the guidelines). I think it would be like they have just seen that they exist. So for this next year, I guess that will be already a great achievement. And in 2026 I would say people working in web dev have implemented some of those guidelines.

[00:38:12] Gael Duez: And in 2030 ?

[00:38:14] Ines Akrape: oh, in 2030  - legal, let's go with legal. Boom,

[00:38:23] Lukasz Mastalerz: Get ready everyone.

[00:38:24] Ines Akrape: Yeah. So for all of those who didn't do anything until 2026, here comes legal requirements!! I would, I would really love to see this becoming not only a standard, but something as well on the legal base, because, unfortunately, this is the only way to assure it gets everywhere.

[00:38:49] Gael Duez: And Łukasz, what is your take on it? 2024, 2026, 2030 ? And what are according to you the odds that it becomes legal? But first, let's play the game.

[00:39:03] Lukasz Mastalerz: So, in 2024 since the release of WSG guidelines, people working in Dev have contributed to them, have shared their feedback, to make them as accurate and actionable as possible. By 2026, given the fact that everyone was contributing for such a long time, we have a really amazing and very exact guidelines that can be executed and we're starting to see some early adopters actually implementing them and seeing big improvements. And by 2030 I don't know, I think by 2030, internet is zero carbon !! And yeah, all the work is achieved.

[00:39:57] Gael Duez: Do you believe that, both of you, do you believe that it could be used or leverage in laws or regulations?

[00:40:05] Lukasz Mastalerz: Yeah, I think so. So I'm seeing that it is something very similar to web exhibit guidelines. In fact, that was a really one of the main (my) inspirations for us. So I'm hoping that these guidelines are going to follow the same pattern.

[00:40:24] Gael Duez: But Ines mentioned that it took a lot of time and it's still far, far, far from being achieved worldwide, accessibility, or even like basic accessibility, across many, many websites. So do you believe it will take us as much time, or that we will see a faster track of adoption here?

[00:40:47] Lukasz Mastalerz: Hopefully not, because these guidelines would exist in bigger context of corporate sustainability, which is a separate, bigger driver for implementation of these practices. And as we've been discussing before, regulations are already appearing in many places. So hopefully we're not going to have to wait till 2050 for them to be implemented.

[00:41:17] Ines Akrape: I would just like to add as well that they have so many benefits in general, for the business, as well as, at the end of the day, for both people and the environment. So, you know, starting with better performance brings up better SEO and all that. Of course, having less stuff on your infrastructure saves money from these two infrastructures. So I guess it's very easy to see the benefits that they will bring, not only to the environment, but in general.

[00:41:48] Gael Duez: could we deep dive a bit on it? What are the, the main benefits that you see from adopting the sustainability guidelines?

[00:41:55] Ines Akrape: Well, I guess now it's again, it's 93 guidelines. So it depends on which one. But I guess, well, everything sustainable web, as well as everything designing for that goes towards the user. It's just this user experience. So hopefully we see through all the guidelines, first and foremost, a (small) decrease of the worldwide waste and the sheer amount of stuff on the internet now. So that's I like one thing I would also hope for.
And then other than that, as I already said, the the less things you have, the less it costs and to keep it where it is, the less it costs as well. For example, what I was mentioning, one of my favorites, is caching. So if you don't hit the infrastructure so many times, again, it’s less cost. So I would say some of these things are beneficial for business as well, not only for the user, which for me would be having a great user experience, as well enable people to use their devices for as long as possible.
There was this one thing that I heard recently : my friend told me that her dad had to buy a new phone and it was not an old phone, like 2-3 years old, maybe, because his parking app start stopped working. So, I guess, going towards eliminating these behaviors, it's something crucial. You want to pay your parking. So it's not something where you can just select a different app. At the end of the day, you should not be buying a new phone because of that.

[00:43:37] Gael Duez: That's terrible. Indeed…. It's just I'm under shock, you know, software obsolescence at its finest… So obviously, the W3C guidelines is a heavy document on its own. Actually, it has been built on (I didn't count the this time) but more than 100 references. Still, I wanted to ask you -  are there any other reference or materials that you would like to share, to either better understand these guidelines or be able to apply them in a better way?

[00:44:20] Ines Akrape: Well, I guess the main point would always be website. So that's also where the guidelines are planned to be implemented in a, let's say, more user friendly way.

[00:44:34] Gael Duez: And to end on a positive note, the podcast - and that's cool, pretty cool because for once the podcast was quite positive. It is a big achievement and we are moving forward definitely toward the right direction.Could you share one piece of good news which made you optimistic recently about our past toward a more sustainable world ?

[00:44:59] Ines Akrape: The random piece of news that I've seen recently and that I was positively surprised about was that – I am living in Munich, Germany -  July 2023 was the record month for the amount of renewables inside the German power grid -  it hit 69%. So this was key information. I was ‘ whoa’  I didn't expect it. So that was something that made me quite optimistic, at the end of the day way, in the way that we're evolving.

[00:45:40] Lukasz Mastalerz: I just came back from New York Climate Week. And yeah, obviously, plenty of people working in the ‘climate space’. There are plenty of connections, it’s really great to see this level of engagement. One of the things that feels really amazing is that we're seeing so many new applications of AI to solve climate problems. A couple of examples I came across would be 1) using AI to flag greenwashing and systemic reports or 2) using AI to increase the number of acid level data analysis by two orders of magnitude to measure carbon emissions, instead of just relying on company disclosures. Or, another example, a tool that was used to talk to sustainabiity documents using natural language. We all know that AI has its own environmental impact, but it's great to see that it's also used as a solution.

[00:46:53] Gael Duez: Łukasz, you're aware that the first AI  you mentioned, the one about greenwashing, will on a very short period of time, drag the entire remaining resources on planet earth because there is so much green washing… [laughter all round].

[00:46:53] Lukasz Mastalerz: That's right!

[00:47:19] Gael Duez: So, thanks a lot, both of you. That was great to have you with all your insights on the Green IO show. Thanks a lot again for joining on a very short notice.

[00:47:24] Lukasz Mastalerz: Thanks a lot for hosting. It was great to be here.

[00:47:28] Ines Akrape: Thank you so much.

[00:47:29] Gael Duez: Thank you for listening to this Green IO episode made in my daughter's bedroom. So I hope you enjoy the sound. In episode 26, we will go to Latin America, to meet Ismael Velasco, yet another active member of the W3C sustyweb group, who is based in Mexico, and also Catalina Zapata, the founder of ‘La Web Verde’, based in Colombia. We will talk about the progress and roadblocks of digital sustainability in this continent with its 300 million digital users. Stay tuned.
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