Just like any digital product, e-commerce stores built on Shopify have a real environmental impact. Navigating this impact is a bit like solving a puzzle - one which is complex and has conflicting perspectives on what the desired outcome should be.

Conscious Development Team

Whilst Shopify consistently strives to improve its platform and evolve the infrastructure, the implementation of third-party apps alongside native Shopify functionality is often necessary. These third-party apps can significantly limit potential performance scores on universal benchmarking tools such as Google Lighthouse, Digital Beacon, Ecograder and Website Carbon.


To address this in the most meaningful way, we opt for constructing a constantly evolving framework, which we call Conscious Development™. This framework is designed for continuous development and measurement, ensuring the minimisation of real-world impact on e-commerce stores built on Shopify. 


We achieve this by establishing specific success criteria across four essential pillars:



Design and user experience (UX) play a huge part when it comes to the effectiveness and environmental impact of an e-commerce store, from its physical drain on consumer devices to the content and user journey that guide the users throughout the design.



The core code of your Shopify store needs to be as efficient as possible in order to have a minimal impact on the planet by using less energy to run. Ensuring that the code of your website is as streamlined as possible also has the advantage of being easier and quicker to develop, debug and maintain.



How easily people can use your Shopify store is just as important as its impact on the planet. We adhere to a wide variety of accessibility guidelines to ensure that our stores are usable by everyone, regardless of physical ability. 



We make a conscious effort to work with tech partners that share our purpose-led values and strive to make a positive impact on our planet. 


To measure the impact of e-commerce stores using this framework, we’ve developed a scoring matrix that uses a variety of tools and best practices to measure key indicators across each of the four pillars, which are scored out of 100.



Why don’t all of our projects score 100 across the board? It’s all about balance.


An e-commerce store on with the lowest possible impact would be greyscale in its design, only feature text content (no images) and no additional functionalities such as customer reviews and payment processors. A truly “sustainable” e-commerce store on Shopify would severely limit the possibility of actually selling products or engage customers in a meaningful way.


Our responsibility is to help our clients find the right balance between impact, profit and purpose.


Here is what we consider when building stores on Shopify.

Streamlining user journey

We use best UX practices to limit the amount of data and energy consumed by each user by helping them find and purchase the products they’re looking for in the shortest amount of time possible.


Responsive page design

We craft unique, lightweight and intuitive experiences for the majority of web users who now use mobile devices as their primary method of exploring the web.


Prioritising dark mode and reduced colour palettes

Focusing on darker colour palettes that result in less power consumption and increased battery life on mobile devices, alongside improved text readability for those who suffer from dyslexia and better sleep for those who view their screens late at night.


Avoiding ‘Dark Patterns’

Making deliberate design decisions around required user actions to keep them obvious and easy to complete. This means no intrusive pop-ups, suddenly shifting content or any hidden surprises along the way.


Content optimisation

Content is one of the biggest factors when considering the impact of your Shopify store. Contrary to older advice to pump your site full of text and images, we believe it's key to only include what's absolutely necessary.

Super-ECO starter theme

We don't use third-party themes for the foundation of our Shopify project - we use our own "starter theme" which removes the issues of bloat (unnecessary, rarely used code) often found when taking a "one-theme-fits-all" approach.


Component-led development

At the heart of our Shopify store development is a component-led approach. We build our stores using content sections (or components), ensuring that the code we craft is not only high-quality and super efficient but also easily reusable. This means that your website is not just a collection of unique pages, but a seamlessly interconnected ecosystem, that allows for a consistent and uniform customer experience to your store and easy updates and modifications.


Optimising media

We understand the importance of swift loading time when it comes to the impact on our planet. That’s why we go the extra mile to optimise every aspect of your media elements. From compressing downloads to implementing lazy loading, setting appropriate caching times and selectively requesting only the essential information at any given time, to ensure that your Shopify store delivers a smooth and engaging user experience.


Page weight

We always believe that lighter is better. Keeping your average page weight within a carefully considered budget is crucial for achieving lightning-fast load times. Not only does this result in a superior user experience, but it also aligns without commitment to sustainability. A lower page weight means reduced energy consumption, contributing to a greener and more eco-friendly online presence for your brand.


Minimal front-end impact

In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, it’s essential to strike a balance between functionality and efficiency. Our team of experts excel at incorporating only those front-end features that have a minimal impact on your code whilst maximising your Shopify store’s potential. This ensures that your Shopify store remains agile, responsive and ready to adapt to the latest industry trends without compromising on performance.


We believe that creating digital experiences that are easily accessible to all is a requirement, not a luxury. We do this by making sure that all of our custom Shopify themes are clearly structured for assistive screen readers, navigable by keyboard-only controls, and use clear colour combinations with minimal animation to ensure that content is easily readable by your customers.



We don’t believe in preaching to the choir and aren’t interested in only working with businesses who are already leaders of sustainability. Instead, we have an open-door policy for those who are willing to make a positive change and believe that any step towards a more sustainable future is one worth taking. We pride ourselves in working with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them sell their products with a more ethical and planet-first approach.



Our 'Drive' process involves collaborating closely with businesses to ensure their full comfort with editing the custom Shopify stores we create. Through comprehensive tutorial sessions and detailed content management guidelines, we empower clients to seamlessly navigate and modify every bespoke section we develop. This approach results in a flexible platform capable of evolving alongside the dynamic needs of the businesses we partner with.



Our custom Shopify stores adhere to best practices for data protection, ensuring secure transactions and confidentiality for your customers' personal details. However, our commitment to privacy extends far beyond compliance; it's about fostering a secure and trustworthy digital environment for all users.

Green hosting

Choose a supplier with green credentials such as Shopify or Krystal can help lower your digital carbon footprint thanks to their use of renewable energy to power their energy-intensive data centres. Some of the steps that Shopify is taking to improve the overall health of the planet are investing in a $5M annual sustainability fund, a platform-wide shift to Google Cloud and working from LEED-certified office spaces.



Partner with an offsetting partner. We use Greenspark to reduce the impact of our digital projects through ocean plastic clearing, carbon offsetting and tree planting. Take a look at our dashboard to see what we’ve done so far.



We’re constantly seeking to expand our (and our clients) Conscious Network, either through attending sustainability-focussed events and exhibitions, hosting our own sustainability keynotes at Blue Earth Summit, or proactively engaging with tech partners and other like-minded businesses that share our commitment to a more sustainable world.


Streamlining tech partners

Apps, plugins, and widgets contribute to the overall weight of a website, resulting in increased energy consumption during page load. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully evaluate and limit the number of additional elements you incorporate into your site. We prioritise not just the quantity but the quality of these elements. 

We ensure that each app used is not only effective but also meaningful, adding genuine value to your site and user experience. This approach not only optimises performance but also aligns with our commitment to sustainable web practices, reducing the environmental impact of your online presence.

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