Downloading software saves the planet

Ditching software packages in favour of direct downloads could reduce the carbon footprint of the global software industry by 80 per cent, according to figures juggled about by Softwareload.co.uk.

The outfit is - you guessed it - a software download portal operated by Deutsche Telekom.

And in Deutschland, the company put out estimates based on figures from 2008 that said the software industry had produced enough CDs to cover 11 football fields (77,000 square metres).

That created the same emissions as 442 Hummers driving once around the globe, and pumped 6,132 tonnes (the combined weight of 350 bulldozers) of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Dirk Lebzien, head of German parent Softwareload, said that a cultural shift away from buying physical software packages could help to significantly reduce consumers' carbon footprints, as well as boost his own company's bottom line.

"The environment is high on personal, governmental and corporate agendas and we all want to do our bit to reduce the impact of our modern life on the planet for future generations,” Lebzien burbled. "By downloading software packages, we cut out energy consumption involved in producing CDs, packaging and transporting them, as well as the fuel we use travelling to stores to buy them.

"Downloading personal and business software packages is a proven way to not only save the time and some of the expense involved in shopping for physical software packages, but we’ve also proven that it can help the environment too, which can only be a good thing."

Softwareload’s own research carried out by YouGov found that one in five (21 per cent) of the 2,094 Britons questioned now download and install software directly from the Internet.

The 'physical copy' figure was attained by environment consultancy First Climate and was calculated accounting for transport and production factors throughout the supply chain typical when producing standard sized CD-Roms (including manuals).

The download figure was achieved using metrics such as server and computer power consumption. When comparing the two, CO2 emissions for downloads were proven to be 80 per cent lower, the firm said.