Make Hay Web Design & Green Hosting

In the latest of our ‘Meet Our Vendor’ series we had a chat with Vicky Stevens, Director of Make Hay, the ethical web designers & Green Hosting . You might wonder what impact website hosting can really have. But the powering of data centres and cloud computing run on fossil fuels is coming close to rivaling the aviation industry as a major contributor to global carbon emissions. That is a big deal!

What inspired you to begin an ethical business?

It was quite a simple thing really. We just wanted to make a positive difference. I guess that sounds a little unoriginal but that really was and is the inspiration. By building and hosting websites for ethical organisations and businesses we would play our part within a larger movement of promoting and supporting more responsible and sustainable ways of living. We used the collective skills and experience we already had from the IT industry and voluntary/charity sectors to set up Make Hay and committed to an ethical policy which guides us day-today. This motivation hasn’t changed since day one.

Tell us about your business – how many people are in your team? What do you do? How long have you been in business?

We design, build and host websites for ethical businesses, organisations and charities. It is our policy to only work on positive projects and we do not build websites for organisations that harm or exploit people, animals or the natural world. We’re just not interested in making money that way. Our web hosting service is powered by renewable energy from UK wind farms which means our clients’ websites are kind to the environment too. We are a team of two and co-founded the business in 2004. We’ve just passed our 13 year anniversary this September. The time has gone so fast and so much has changed in our ever-evolving industry over the years! We are based in Nottingham, UK and have clients around the world. The way we run our business is an extension of our everyday lives, working hard to make ethical choices, use green suppliers and be as helpful and supportive as we can.

What’s been your proudest moment in your business journey?

Rather than one specific moment in time I’d have to say there are a couple of things over time that we have found particularly rewarding. One is the long-term, positive business relationships we form with our clients. That can be quite unusual in the web design industry but we are still working with some organisations that we met in our first couple of years. Secondly, we have remained true to our ethical policy from the beginning. Sometimes people doubted whether it was a good idea for a new business to have such a specific market and to say no to projects that didn’t sit right with our values (that was quite unusual 13 years ago!) but we’ve found that our clients have responded very positively and totally ‘get it’. We are fortunate to work with such amazing people.

What in life makes you feel grateful?

Family and friends. There’s no doubt that supportive people around you means everything and we are extremely grateful for that. Running a business can be isolating at times because you’re always working but having family and friends who understand that and who will make sure you have time off are precious.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

Getting to meet and work with people who are doing such awesome things. Our clients’ work varies massively from conservation projects, educational organisations and artists to ethical fashion bloggers and retailers, environmental groups and charities supporting vulnerable people. So we get to learn a lot outside of our own area of work and we see so many things that are happening to make the world a kinder, greener place.

Wind Power for your Website

As ethically-minded business owners we are always looking to be more responsible in the way we work and in the things we purchase to run our business. Often it’s the immediately obvious things that are dealt with first, like buying recycled stationery, using eco-friendly packaging, cutting down on waste and using like-minded suppliers. However, one service that can often be overlooked is the hosting for your business website.

The problem with website hosting

You might wonder what impact website hosting can really have. But the powering of data centres and cloud computing run on fossil fuels is coming close to rivaling the aviation industry as a major contributor to global carbon emissions. That is a big deal!

With over 3 billion online users currently and with that figure set to climb to 7.6 billion by 2020 it is easy to see where this is going. The demand for online data will continue to grow and along with it the electricity needed to power the data centres (as well as keep them cool and functioning properly) and as a result an increase in the pollution produced from fossil fuel power generation.

Using website hosting to reduce your carbon footprint

Hosting your website on servers powered by renewable energy is a real way of making sure your business is kinder to the environment.

Our green website hosting is powered 100% by renewable energy, all year round. Our Centro data centre, which houses the hosting servers, routers and cooling systems runs entirely on wind generated electricity from UK wind farms (belonging to ScottishPower Renewables). Because the energy is supplied via the grid, the power does not stop if the wind isn’t blowing, nor does it need to fall back on fossil fuels. It remains as reliable as ever and as green as always.

Our data centre isn’t wasteful with that green energy either. It has been designed and built to use electricity as efficiently as possible. By extracting hot air from the building and using naturally cold outside air through the water based chillers, the cooling systems do not need to be constantly at full power as they would in traditional data centers, meaning they use less energy. Win!

Run by a Green & Ethical Business

We are committed to keeping our hosting service green to the core. Since we founded our business in 2004 we set out to make sure it had as little negative impact on the environment as we could.

We have full environmental and ethical policies but here’s a quick list of the things that are important to us:

  • We use a renewable electricity provider to power our office base.
  • We recycle as much as we can from the office including paper, equipment and e-waste.
  • We use suppliers with positive eco credentials and we seek high quality, energy efficient computer equipment.
  • We actively choose to sell our web and hosting services to responsible and positive businesses and organisations only. Take a look at our Clients page and you’ll see that if you choose to use Green Hosting you’ll be in good company.

If you would like to know more, please contact Jez or Vicky at
[email protected]


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