votesUP originated from voluntary engagement. For us, sustainability is a self-evident goal that we always take into account in our actions. “Sustainability” encompasses ecological, economic, social, and societal dimensions.
Similar to privacy and data protection, we understand the effort to achieve sustainability as a continuous task: accordingly, we continuously review our measures and strategies for possible improvements. We are guided by the criteria of the „German Sustainability Code (DNK)“.
In the following, we explain how sustainability is considered and implemented at votesUP.
Sustainability can best be achieved by focusing on essential resources and factors. Detailed analysis and gradual improvements pay off in the long term.
The votesUP team is constantly striving to develop further, taking up user feedback and learning together. Both our communication and the online platform provided should set an example for sustainable and discrimination-free procedures.
2. Environmental Protection
Environmental sustainability is possible if regenerative sources are used and if these are used in a resource-saving manner.
As a digital platform for voting, elections, and speaker lists, votesUP significantly reduces the paper and printing needs required for analogue processes.
Processing requests, communicating with users, and invoicing are done digitally. In the printed version of votesUP, planar elements are largely removed so that printing ink is saved.
QR tokens for participants can be scanned directly from the screen, without the intermediate step of printing them on paper.
votesUP is hosted in data centres that are powered by renewable energy sources. Currently, green electricity from carbon dioxide-free and environmentally friendly hydropower is used there. Server and other hardware components are tested for power consumption and energy efficiency internally by the provider and selected accordingly [see hetzner.com/unternehmen/umweltschutz/?country=de].
votesUP is built in such a way that it does not place high demands on users' equipment and infrastructure. Older and technically weaker devices can be used as long as their software is at a up-to-date security level.
votesUP saves internet bandwidth and load on user devices and servers: our focus is on functionality and design clarity; the use of merely decorative, multimedial elements will be avoided.
Rarely changing objects such as images or download documents are optimally cached so that the users' devices have to retrieve those elements only once at best.
Other power-saving mechanisms, such as an optional “dark mode” (display colours are inverted with a dark background and bright text) are planned.
votesUP as a tool for democratic decision-making is open to all groups and organisations that share the ideas of sustainability.
The best possible data protection, absolute confidentiality and a secure technical basis are prerequisites for democratic processes to be carried out with votesUP.
We provide support materials such as the online manual and tips for digital procedures beyond the votesUP system publicly and free of charge. It is important to us that users not only use digital tools and procedures but also critically evaluate their effects.
We make a conscious effort to use inclusive language to the extent that it still provides the desired legal certainty. New features are developed inn a manner that they enable non-discriminatory usage and participation (choice of language, accessibility, gender-aware procedures).
In order to make it easier for smaller organisations to take their step into the digital world, votesUP offers free-of-charge usage options that nevertheless provide the essential functions without restrictions.
The service providers commissioned by votesUP, primarily server providers, are selected according to sustainability criteria on the basis of available and publicly accessible information.
4. Social Sustainability
Even as a relatively young online platform, we take social responsibility.
Service providers commissioned by us are paid fairly. Für freiwillige Zuarbeit (z.B. bei Übersetzungen) bedanken wir uns durch Vorteilsgewährung bei der Nutzung von votesUP.
We only work with contractors and IT service providers who themselves pay attention to sustainability. This includes, among other things, that they ensure training of young employees and employing them on a permanent basis once they have completed their training. [see career.hetzner.com].
5. Economic Sustainability and Efficiency
votesUP reduces time-consuming tasks by largely automating procedures. This includes, for example, invitation mailings to participants, automatic gender recognition, calculation of results and the possibility to duplicate and re-use events.
votesUP can be used free of charge for small events and test runs. This reduces administrative overhead and makes it easier for smaller organisations to go digital.
votesUP only offers services that can be provided in a permanent manner. Resources that can be made available automatically are offered at the lowest possible price, while tasks requiring a high level of personal support must be priced accordingly. There is no price dumping.
Last update: 17 September 2023