EthicalHost is a proof that you can bring together being green with starting a viable business. We talked with John MacKenzie, founder of EthicalHost, and got some great insight about what can the hosting market can do to be more sustainable and connected with green initiatives.
Sustainability is a term used frequently, but many times it’s just a trendy word for companies and professionals. What actions EthicalHost take to really bring change?
Thanks for asking this question, there is definitely a lot of green washing going on with a lot of companies to make it appear as if they are making real action and change. At EthicalHost we try to incorporate not only bigger things but little things too. For example we work from home, so no office and the respective carbon footprint that comes from having one and the separate computers and commuting involved with having one.
Other bigger things we do include using bullfrog power for our office electricity usage and for our servers which are in a data centre we purchase social carbon offsets from ClimateCare that not only help to create renewable energy, they also reduce carbon footprints and peoples lives by replacing wood burning stoves with cook stoves and things of that nature.
We also do little things like use a stapleless stapler, reprinting on the back side of scrap paper we collect from other places, and using tree free paper made from sugar cane. We build our computers with energy efficiency in mind choosing CPU’s and hard drives that require less power to run.
We also donate 10% of pre-tax profits to different charities around the world that are doing good things to help people and the planet. Every year our customers get to vote on several different organizations to determine who receives our donation for the year.
The main argument for keeping things as they are and do not implement green initiatives is cost. Do you see that problem or it’s just an excuse?
Well for bigger things like carbon offsets it can be a sizable expense that puts people off from doing it, but if we can do it as a small business, and still succeed, there is no reason why other larger businesses cant.
Was it hard to find the technology to offer renewable energy web hosting or the hardware companies are following this issue and looking for more green alternatives?
From our office perspective we source energy efficient parts and use LED lights etc… For the servers, we use the carbon offsets to reduce the impact of the server and data centre infrastructure.
This was a hard balance while the datacenter we use could have a better POE rating in terms of sustainability, they provide the best and most useful support of any company we have ever dealt with which means better uptime and troubleshooting abilities.
Most computer parts these days though are built with power conservation in mind so it’s fairly easy to find.
Younger generations tend to care more about green issues and the impact that we have on our planet. Knowing your customers, do you see a younger consumer base?
No I don’t, I actually think it’s the opposite. I think this is a case where there are certainly a few very vocal groups of young people lobbying for environmental change, but I unfortunately still don’t think that’s reflective of most young people.
I find my client base is a mix for sure, but a lot are older more established people who care about the environment and social justice.
Customer support is really important for any web hosting company. What does EthicalHosting offer?
We are not a big million dollar hosting company with 24/7 live chat and phone support however I can say our support is far better than most of those services. Why? Because when you contact EthicalHost you are already dealing with someone who has been in the industry for over 20 years and knows how to solve problems right away.
More often than not, when you deal with live chat or phone support at other large companies, you get an entry level support rep that doesn’t really know much and are just there to essentially log a ticket for a higher level support person to respond to many hours later, only to get into more back and forth to figure out the issue. 90% of the time I solve an issue on first contact meaning you actually get to a resolution faster, even if you can’t reach me in the middle of the night.
Rest assured the servers are all taken care of by my awesome admins that look after the server and datacentre and they make sure everything is running smoothly. I also don’t require customers to “log a ticket” you can just send me an email with your issue and it will get sorted out as soon as I get it.