@INTERACTIONSMAG 66 INTERACTIONS JANUARY–FEBRUARY2019
FORUM SUSTAINABILITY IN (INTER)ACTION
B THE CHANGE:
For many agencies and organizations
in general, successfully balancing
purpose and profit will depend upon the
intentionality with which they design
their organizations. My 20-plus-year-
old digital agency Mightybytes (www.
mightybytes.com) exists with purpose
in its DNA. We help mission-driven
organizations create greater impact,
and we operate our business by a triple-bottom-line philosophy that weighs our
need to generate profit alongside the
needs of human beings and the planet.
As a Certified B Corp, Mightybytes
uses the B Impact Assessment
(Figure 2) to help us reach the highest
standards of social and environmental
performance, public transparency, and
legal accountability [ 4]. This requires an
ongoing balancing act between purpose
and profit, which means we must
embrace continuous improvement.
Sometimes we fall short of our goals,
and sometimes we get great results, but
we’re always looking to improve.
The B Impact Assessment also
helps us think differently about
supply chains and how we procure
the resources necessary to run our
company, including renewable energy
sources for the websites and digital
products we build. After initially
certifying as a B Corp in 2011, we
turned those thoughts outward and
created Ecograder ( ecograder.com), an
educational tool designed to help users
better understand the environmental
impact of their website, and a microsite
about sustainable Web design
We found that the assessment gave
us a flexible roadmap for building a
better business. We use its principles,
which are closely aligned with the UN’s
SDGs, to guide our decision making on
everything from the clients we pursue
to how we generate profit and support
ongoing philanthropic efforts. Then we
do what our resources can support over
time. For instance:
• By paying our employees a living
wage and offering the best benefits that
we can afford, Mightybytes addresses
SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3
(good health and well-being), 8 (decent
work and economic growth), 10 (reduced
inequalities), and 11 (sustainable cities
a high level, Designing for Sustainability
promoted the following tactics as
greener ways to build digital products
• Content findability. Ensure content
can be found quickly and easily on
websites and through search engines.
Follow SEO best practices, add search-on-site, and so on.
• Usability. Enable users to complete
tasks quickly and encourage them
to make more sustainable choices.
Reduce form fields, highlight more
environmentally friendly shipping
options, remove proprietary
technologies and other potential barriers
to good UX.
• Performance optimization. Build
faster websites. Speed up asset
downloads and improve content
• Green hosting. Use a Web host
powered by 100 percent renewable
This framework was a good start, but
like the net-zero thinking mentioned
above, it focused on doing less damage.
I’d like to propose here that in addition
to the practices above, we include the
UN’s SDGs and embrace a net positive
approach to our projects. This will
require a shift in how we design and
build digital products, assigning design
teams with more responsibility over a
product’s final impact on society. The
collective results could be significant.
Figure 2. B Impact Report for Mightybytes.
Figure 1. The UN Sustainable Development Goals.