The Global View

How to cut carbon? Ditch the CDs for downloads

With World Environment Day coming up tomorrow, Deutsche Telekom has found an easy way to help reduce carbon emissions: download your software instead of buying it as files on disc.

Ditching so-called “hardcopy” software packages in favour of direct downloads could reduce the global software industry’s carbon footprint by as much as 80 per cent, according to, which is Deutsche Telekom’s UK software download portal.

In Germany alone, Softwareload estimates the annual carbon footprint of “traditional” CD software production results in:

  • 77,000 square metres of CDs — the size of 11 football pitches
  • Carbon emissions equal to what would be generated by 442 gas-guzzling Hummers driving once around the circumference of the world
  • 6,132 tonnes of CO2, or the combined weight of 350 bulldozers

A cultural shift away from buying physical software packages could help significantly reduce consumers’ carbon footprint, as well as save them time and money, said Dirk Lebzien, head of Softwareload (which has itself gone carbon neutral via offsetting).

“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 said. “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.”

In a recent survey for Softwareload, YouGov plc found that one in five (21 per cent) Britons now download and install software directly from the internet.

1 thought on “How to cut carbon? Ditch the CDs for downloads”

  1. I wouldn’t stop solely on the software industry. The “On Demand” media market has shaken up various industries. ie. in North America the growth of on demand video services has really changed the way people acquire, view and distribute movies, music, etc. Look at the almost bankrupt Blockbuster Video chain – 20 years ago they were at the kings of video rentals, today they are essentially bankrupt because of this mind shift in media distribution.

    Just my two cents….

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