It seems that “ethical” for most hosting companies revolves around carbon offsetting. This is extremely positive as hosting emits a *crazy* amount of emissions.

My research has revealed 15 companies that take active steps to reduce their impact. To be completely frank, I’m immediately turned off from a number of them due to their 1999-style websites.

Who says you can’t be ethical and up-to-date? (I joke)

I won’t name and shame anyone, so I’ll just point out a few companies that are doing the ethical side of things well and not provide commentary on their web design skills.

Gandi

I like their tagline (which you’ll have to see for yourself as no swearing on this blog). I like their attitude to transparency and honesty. I can’t see anything about carbon offsetting, though, which is a shame.

Ethical Host

These guys are green friendly (use renewable energy and carbon offset) and also donate 10% of their before tax profits to charity, as well as offering hosting discounts to charitable organisations.

Green Hosting

100% wind powered web hosting! They also have an “ethical policy” which is quite unique: http://www.green-hosting.co.uk/legal/ethical-policy

UK Fast

Apparently they were the first carbon neutral hosting company in the UK so kudos is deserved for that.

They also say this, which is vague but potentially interesting:

We have specially chosen these projects as they link closely with UKFast’s plans to generate our own clean energy, using hydropower to power our hosting solutions with UKFast Energy.

This exciting development will make us the first hosting provider to offer hosted solutions powered by hydro-electricity, a green power source that will prevent the emissions from happening in the first place. We are already working on 10 projects that are at various stages of development.

Wunderism

Carbon neutral hosting through methane capture, which they claim can reduce carbon emissions by 21 times more than tree planting.

Dream Host

Their approach in their own words:

When we learned that running DreamHost generated as much carbon dioxide as 545 average-size homes we realized we had to do something to neutralize our emissions.

With a bit of research we found the most effective approach begins with resource conservation: turning off the lights, reducing travel, printing on both sides of the page. Efforts are being ramped up here daily to do what we do with less. The next step is to use clean, renewable energy. Without the option to put up solar panels or connect with a green power utility for us this means purchasing Renewable Energy Credits. Finally, to neutralize those unavoidable emissions we’ve invested in Emission Reduction Credits (a.k.a. “offsets”) which guarantee our remaining impact is effectively erased.

A third-party-certification? Never fear. The credits we use to green our energy consumption and neutralize the rest of our emissions meet the highest standards in the industry. Click to view our up-to-date Certificate of Carbon Neutralization.

Green Geeks

These guys claim to be “300% powered by renewable energy”. They seem to be quite transparent in their approach which I like a lot.