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3 Additional Insights From Ad Net Zero’s Plan For Sustainability In Media And Advertising

Sustainability
6
minutes
Technical Level
November 18, 2023
6
minutes
August 23, 2023
Technical Level
Frank Maguire
VP, Insight, Strategy & Sustainability
During the Green Media Summit, attendees learned from brands, agencies, DSPs about ways they can help reduce carbon emissions within the media and advertising industry, and they also heard from industry body Ad Net Zero’s John Osborn about a 5-point-plan on how organizations can take small steps to make significant change.

In this post, we cover 3 additional insights we learned from the presentation, such as whether any one has the potential to make meaningful change, the availability of tools and resources accessible for the industry and how the industry’s actions will influence other industries to pick up the pace in reducing carbon emissions.

Watch the 2-minute highlight video:

Click to watch the full presentation.

Presentation: The Power of We: The 5-Point-Plan & How Small Actions Can Amount to Big Change

John Osborn, Director at Ad Net Zero America, delivered an inspiring presentation reminding us all that no action is too small to make a difference. The 5-point-plan is simple enough that any organization in media and advertising can use it to help reduce carbon waste. Here are 3 additional insights to take away for your net-zero emissions journey.

3 more insights into sustainability for media and advertising

Insight 1: Anyone can make a meaningful change toward sustainability

Whether in ad tech or anywhere else, any individual has the power to make a difference when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and becoming more sustainable like the stranger that saved the injured owl in John’s story. Even though they were late for work, they still stopped to help because they believed it was the right thing to do. Employees want to help become more sustainable, they just need the support to do so. 

In fact, sustainability initiatives can help draw and retain talent. And when you have everyone working and living more sustainably, net-zero emissions become easier to reach for any organization.

Read More: Scope3 Shares 5 Lessons to Accelerate Sustainability In Media at the Green Media Summit — Sharethrough 

“He didn't have to stop. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He was late to work even though he did it, he wrapped it up in a leather jack and he drove it 12 miles to this place to be rehabilitated.” said John Osborn.

So how can organizations get started with becoming more sustainable?

Insight 2: Digital media and advertising have all the tools and resources needed to reduce emissions – start using them

Organizations don’t have to start reducing their carbon emissions on their own when industry bodies like Ad Net Zero, IAB Tech Lab and the ANA are there to help. By providing guides, resources and connections to ways that you can reduce the carbon waste generated by media and advertising. Joining these trade bodies and others is a great way to provide your input and feedback as current, developing sustainability initiatives mature.

“We wouldn't be here if it weren't for the firepower of the IAB Tech Lab, the ANA, where we are seeing progress vectoring back to the production working group,” John said.

Currently, advertisers have the ability to target devices, audiences, contexts, sites, geolocation, and various other signals, with just as much view into their effectiveness. Once the industry agrees on a common emissions standard for digital advertising, such as carbon-emissions-per-thousand (CO2PM) or carbon-emissions-per-click (CO2PC), advertisers and partners can make informed decisions about their carbon reduction strategies.

“So one of the things we're looking at is not only which tools and frameworks work the best, but we need to think about which tools and which frameworks are the most workable.” shared John.

What advertisers are doing to reduce their carbon emissions is supply path optimization (SPO.) SPO is a laborious process where advertisers evaluate the performance of their supply partners and remove those with unnecessary, extra steps to reach the impression using the most direct supply route. Some are taking SPO a step further and mainly focusing on low-emission supply routes for what’s called carbon path optimization (CPO). 

A large culprit of carbon waste is Made for Advertising (MFA) sites, which are sites that are heavily monetized and often contain excessive ads, low-quality content, without providing advertisers with meaningful performance beyond vanity metrics. Not only that, but MFA sites also eat up approximately 15% of advertisers’ spend. However, there are too many MFA sites to identify manually, and SPO is already a tedious process. What can advertisers do to make it easier for themselves to reduce carbon emissions?

A graph showing the relationship between publishers and the amount of carbon emissions in grams per 1000 impressions.
Publishers with disproportionate amounts of carbon emissions are automatically excluded from Sharethrough’s Low-Emissions PMPs, powered by Scope3’s Climate Shield technology.

Read More: How Advertisers Can Avoid Wasting Ad Spend On Made-For-Advertising Sites — Sharethrough 

In the meantime, Green Media Products, like Low-Emissions PMPs, powered by Scope3’s Climate Shield technology, can help advertisers automatically reduce or compensate for the carbon emissions generated by running digital ad campaigns. The Carbon Emissions Estimator can also help estimate the carbon emissions from a planned campaign. From there, advertisers can adjust various parameters, like mobile vs desktop or display vs video, to balance performance and sustainability, which are often correlated with each other.

Insight 3: The industry’s cascading actions cause a ripple effect of sustainability that goes beyond media and advertising

Advertising has always been about driving behavior change and the industry has the power to influence others outside of media and advertising to act more sustainably. Advertisers can promote products in a sustainable manner. For example, an ad for an electric vehicle can also show a reusable water bottle in the cup holder next to the driver. Not only does the ad promote a more environmentally-friendly method of transportation it also encourages consumers to consider sustainable alternatives for other products in their lives.

Furthermore, because advertisers and agencies are reducing their carbon emissions, studios are looking for ways they can become more sustainable to help minimize and reduce emissions from the ad production process. For example, instead of going on-location to film certain scenes, studios are building facilities that can accommodate those scenes using sets or CGI. 

Additionally, supporting industries like awards and travel will also need to find ways to become more sustainable as advertisers become more thoughtful about celebrating achievements and traveling to events. This will require innovation outside of the media and advertising industry and is another example of how they have the ability to influence changes that lead to further carbon reductions.

“And the idea is that if we can unify the entire advertising industry around a common set of standards, ways of measuring calculating and reporting carbon emissions, we really can take a giant leap forward on this journey on behalf of ourselves, on behalf of our clients, on behalf of the industry. And dare I say, even on behalf of the world and maybe even the owls,” expressed John.

A man in a suit speaking into a mic while holding a clicker.
John Osborn speaking to the audience at the Green Media Summit.

For a cleaner future

Anyone, especially in media and advertising, can contribute to a more sustainable future. Organizations just need to be willing to support sustainability initiatives. Because all the tools and resources needed to reduce carbon emissions are there, ready for use. And as more companies within the industry demand their partners and suppliers also reduce their carbon emissions, proxy industries like travel and events will also strive to become more sustainable. 

To stay up-to-date on all the latest sustainability insights and learnings, sign up for our newsletter.

To view the free infographic, fill the form below.

During the Green Media Summit, attendees learned from brands, agencies, DSPs about ways they can help reduce carbon emissions within the media and advertising industry, and they also heard from industry body Ad Net Zero’s John Osborn about a 5-point-plan on how organizations can take small steps to make significant change.

In this post, we cover 3 additional insights we learned from the presentation, such as whether any one has the potential to make meaningful change, the availability of tools and resources accessible for the industry and how the industry’s actions will influence other industries to pick up the pace in reducing carbon emissions.

Watch the 2-minute highlight video:

Click to watch the full presentation.

Presentation: The Power of We: The 5-Point-Plan & How Small Actions Can Amount to Big Change

John Osborn, Director at Ad Net Zero America, delivered an inspiring presentation reminding us all that no action is too small to make a difference. The 5-point-plan is simple enough that any organization in media and advertising can use it to help reduce carbon waste. Here are 3 additional insights to take away for your net-zero emissions journey.

3 more insights into sustainability for media and advertising

Insight 1: Anyone can make a meaningful change toward sustainability

Whether in ad tech or anywhere else, any individual has the power to make a difference when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and becoming more sustainable like the stranger that saved the injured owl in John’s story. Even though they were late for work, they still stopped to help because they believed it was the right thing to do. Employees want to help become more sustainable, they just need the support to do so. 

In fact, sustainability initiatives can help draw and retain talent. And when you have everyone working and living more sustainably, net-zero emissions become easier to reach for any organization.

Read More: Scope3 Shares 5 Lessons to Accelerate Sustainability In Media at the Green Media Summit — Sharethrough 

“He didn't have to stop. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He was late to work even though he did it, he wrapped it up in a leather jack and he drove it 12 miles to this place to be rehabilitated.” said John Osborn.

So how can organizations get started with becoming more sustainable?

Insight 2: Digital media and advertising have all the tools and resources needed to reduce emissions – start using them

Organizations don’t have to start reducing their carbon emissions on their own when industry bodies like Ad Net Zero, IAB Tech Lab and the ANA are there to help. By providing guides, resources and connections to ways that you can reduce the carbon waste generated by media and advertising. Joining these trade bodies and others is a great way to provide your input and feedback as current, developing sustainability initiatives mature.

“We wouldn't be here if it weren't for the firepower of the IAB Tech Lab, the ANA, where we are seeing progress vectoring back to the production working group,” John said.

Currently, advertisers have the ability to target devices, audiences, contexts, sites, geolocation, and various other signals, with just as much view into their effectiveness. Once the industry agrees on a common emissions standard for digital advertising, such as carbon-emissions-per-thousand (CO2PM) or carbon-emissions-per-click (CO2PC), advertisers and partners can make informed decisions about their carbon reduction strategies.

“So one of the things we're looking at is not only which tools and frameworks work the best, but we need to think about which tools and which frameworks are the most workable.” shared John.

What advertisers are doing to reduce their carbon emissions is supply path optimization (SPO.) SPO is a laborious process where advertisers evaluate the performance of their supply partners and remove those with unnecessary, extra steps to reach the impression using the most direct supply route. Some are taking SPO a step further and mainly focusing on low-emission supply routes for what’s called carbon path optimization (CPO). 

A large culprit of carbon waste is Made for Advertising (MFA) sites, which are sites that are heavily monetized and often contain excessive ads, low-quality content, without providing advertisers with meaningful performance beyond vanity metrics. Not only that, but MFA sites also eat up approximately 15% of advertisers’ spend. However, there are too many MFA sites to identify manually, and SPO is already a tedious process. What can advertisers do to make it easier for themselves to reduce carbon emissions?

A graph showing the relationship between publishers and the amount of carbon emissions in grams per 1000 impressions.
Publishers with disproportionate amounts of carbon emissions are automatically excluded from Sharethrough’s Low-Emissions PMPs, powered by Scope3’s Climate Shield technology.

Read More: How Advertisers Can Avoid Wasting Ad Spend On Made-For-Advertising Sites — Sharethrough 

In the meantime, Green Media Products, like Low-Emissions PMPs, powered by Scope3’s Climate Shield technology, can help advertisers automatically reduce or compensate for the carbon emissions generated by running digital ad campaigns. The Carbon Emissions Estimator can also help estimate the carbon emissions from a planned campaign. From there, advertisers can adjust various parameters, like mobile vs desktop or display vs video, to balance performance and sustainability, which are often correlated with each other.

Insight 3: The industry’s cascading actions cause a ripple effect of sustainability that goes beyond media and advertising

Advertising has always been about driving behavior change and the industry has the power to influence others outside of media and advertising to act more sustainably. Advertisers can promote products in a sustainable manner. For example, an ad for an electric vehicle can also show a reusable water bottle in the cup holder next to the driver. Not only does the ad promote a more environmentally-friendly method of transportation it also encourages consumers to consider sustainable alternatives for other products in their lives.

Furthermore, because advertisers and agencies are reducing their carbon emissions, studios are looking for ways they can become more sustainable to help minimize and reduce emissions from the ad production process. For example, instead of going on-location to film certain scenes, studios are building facilities that can accommodate those scenes using sets or CGI. 

Additionally, supporting industries like awards and travel will also need to find ways to become more sustainable as advertisers become more thoughtful about celebrating achievements and traveling to events. This will require innovation outside of the media and advertising industry and is another example of how they have the ability to influence changes that lead to further carbon reductions.

“And the idea is that if we can unify the entire advertising industry around a common set of standards, ways of measuring calculating and reporting carbon emissions, we really can take a giant leap forward on this journey on behalf of ourselves, on behalf of our clients, on behalf of the industry. And dare I say, even on behalf of the world and maybe even the owls,” expressed John.

A man in a suit speaking into a mic while holding a clicker.
John Osborn speaking to the audience at the Green Media Summit.

For a cleaner future

Anyone, especially in media and advertising, can contribute to a more sustainable future. Organizations just need to be willing to support sustainability initiatives. Because all the tools and resources needed to reduce carbon emissions are there, ready for use. And as more companies within the industry demand their partners and suppliers also reduce their carbon emissions, proxy industries like travel and events will also strive to become more sustainable. 

To stay up-to-date on all the latest sustainability insights and learnings, sign up for our newsletter.

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About Behind Headlines: 180 Seconds in Ad Tech—

Behind Headlines: 180 Seconds in Ad Tech is a short 3-minute podcast exploring the news in the digital advertising industry. Ad tech is a fast-growing industry with many updates happening daily. As it can be hard for most to keep up with the latest news, the Sharethrough team wanted to create an audio series compiling notable mentions each week.

During the Green Media Summit, attendees learned from brands, agencies, DSPs about ways they can help reduce carbon emissions within the media and advertising industry, and they also heard from industry body Ad Net Zero’s John Osborn about a 5-point-plan on how organizations can take small steps to make significant change.

In this post, we cover 3 additional insights we learned from the presentation, such as whether any one has the potential to make meaningful change, the availability of tools and resources accessible for the industry and how the industry’s actions will influence other industries to pick up the pace in reducing carbon emissions.

Watch the 2-minute highlight video:

Click to watch the full presentation.

Presentation: The Power of We: The 5-Point-Plan & How Small Actions Can Amount to Big Change

John Osborn, Director at Ad Net Zero America, delivered an inspiring presentation reminding us all that no action is too small to make a difference. The 5-point-plan is simple enough that any organization in media and advertising can use it to help reduce carbon waste. Here are 3 additional insights to take away for your net-zero emissions journey.

3 more insights into sustainability for media and advertising

Insight 1: Anyone can make a meaningful change toward sustainability

Whether in ad tech or anywhere else, any individual has the power to make a difference when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and becoming more sustainable like the stranger that saved the injured owl in John’s story. Even though they were late for work, they still stopped to help because they believed it was the right thing to do. Employees want to help become more sustainable, they just need the support to do so. 

In fact, sustainability initiatives can help draw and retain talent. And when you have everyone working and living more sustainably, net-zero emissions become easier to reach for any organization.

Read More: Scope3 Shares 5 Lessons to Accelerate Sustainability In Media at the Green Media Summit — Sharethrough 

“He didn't have to stop. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He was late to work even though he did it, he wrapped it up in a leather jack and he drove it 12 miles to this place to be rehabilitated.” said John Osborn.

So how can organizations get started with becoming more sustainable?

Insight 2: Digital media and advertising have all the tools and resources needed to reduce emissions – start using them

Organizations don’t have to start reducing their carbon emissions on their own when industry bodies like Ad Net Zero, IAB Tech Lab and the ANA are there to help. By providing guides, resources and connections to ways that you can reduce the carbon waste generated by media and advertising. Joining these trade bodies and others is a great way to provide your input and feedback as current, developing sustainability initiatives mature.

“We wouldn't be here if it weren't for the firepower of the IAB Tech Lab, the ANA, where we are seeing progress vectoring back to the production working group,” John said.

Currently, advertisers have the ability to target devices, audiences, contexts, sites, geolocation, and various other signals, with just as much view into their effectiveness. Once the industry agrees on a common emissions standard for digital advertising, such as carbon-emissions-per-thousand (CO2PM) or carbon-emissions-per-click (CO2PC), advertisers and partners can make informed decisions about their carbon reduction strategies.

“So one of the things we're looking at is not only which tools and frameworks work the best, but we need to think about which tools and which frameworks are the most workable.” shared John.

What advertisers are doing to reduce their carbon emissions is supply path optimization (SPO.) SPO is a laborious process where advertisers evaluate the performance of their supply partners and remove those with unnecessary, extra steps to reach the impression using the most direct supply route. Some are taking SPO a step further and mainly focusing on low-emission supply routes for what’s called carbon path optimization (CPO). 

A large culprit of carbon waste is Made for Advertising (MFA) sites, which are sites that are heavily monetized and often contain excessive ads, low-quality content, without providing advertisers with meaningful performance beyond vanity metrics. Not only that, but MFA sites also eat up approximately 15% of advertisers’ spend. However, there are too many MFA sites to identify manually, and SPO is already a tedious process. What can advertisers do to make it easier for themselves to reduce carbon emissions?

A graph showing the relationship between publishers and the amount of carbon emissions in grams per 1000 impressions.
Publishers with disproportionate amounts of carbon emissions are automatically excluded from Sharethrough’s Low-Emissions PMPs, powered by Scope3’s Climate Shield technology.

Read More: How Advertisers Can Avoid Wasting Ad Spend On Made-For-Advertising Sites — Sharethrough 

In the meantime, Green Media Products, like Low-Emissions PMPs, powered by Scope3’s Climate Shield technology, can help advertisers automatically reduce or compensate for the carbon emissions generated by running digital ad campaigns. The Carbon Emissions Estimator can also help estimate the carbon emissions from a planned campaign. From there, advertisers can adjust various parameters, like mobile vs desktop or display vs video, to balance performance and sustainability, which are often correlated with each other.

Insight 3: The industry’s cascading actions cause a ripple effect of sustainability that goes beyond media and advertising

Advertising has always been about driving behavior change and the industry has the power to influence others outside of media and advertising to act more sustainably. Advertisers can promote products in a sustainable manner. For example, an ad for an electric vehicle can also show a reusable water bottle in the cup holder next to the driver. Not only does the ad promote a more environmentally-friendly method of transportation it also encourages consumers to consider sustainable alternatives for other products in their lives.

Furthermore, because advertisers and agencies are reducing their carbon emissions, studios are looking for ways they can become more sustainable to help minimize and reduce emissions from the ad production process. For example, instead of going on-location to film certain scenes, studios are building facilities that can accommodate those scenes using sets or CGI. 

Additionally, supporting industries like awards and travel will also need to find ways to become more sustainable as advertisers become more thoughtful about celebrating achievements and traveling to events. This will require innovation outside of the media and advertising industry and is another example of how they have the ability to influence changes that lead to further carbon reductions.

“And the idea is that if we can unify the entire advertising industry around a common set of standards, ways of measuring calculating and reporting carbon emissions, we really can take a giant leap forward on this journey on behalf of ourselves, on behalf of our clients, on behalf of the industry. And dare I say, even on behalf of the world and maybe even the owls,” expressed John.

A man in a suit speaking into a mic while holding a clicker.
John Osborn speaking to the audience at the Green Media Summit.

For a cleaner future

Anyone, especially in media and advertising, can contribute to a more sustainable future. Organizations just need to be willing to support sustainability initiatives. Because all the tools and resources needed to reduce carbon emissions are there, ready for use. And as more companies within the industry demand their partners and suppliers also reduce their carbon emissions, proxy industries like travel and events will also strive to become more sustainable. 

To stay up-to-date on all the latest sustainability insights and learnings, sign up for our newsletter.

About Calibrate—

Founded in 2015, Calibrate is a yearly conference for new engineering managers hosted by seasoned engineering managers. The experience level of the speakers ranges from newcomers all the way through senior engineering leaders with over twenty years of experience in the field. Each speaker is greatly concerned about the craft of engineering management. Organized and hosted by Sharethrough, it was conducted yearly in September, from 2015-2019 in San Francisco, California.

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Frank Maguire
VP, Insight, Strategy & Sustainability

About the Author

Frank has spent over a decade at Sharethrough conducting research to better understand how humans respond to advertising to help brands and agencies adapt their unique advertising challenges to ever-evolving media consumption behaviors. In order to accelerate sustainability initiatives at Sharethrough and across the advertising industry, he recently completed his “Sustainability in Business” certification from Harvard Business School. He has also led multiple sustainability initiatives, including helping to launch the ad industry’s first Green Media Product “GreenPMPs,” hosting the advertising industry’s first Green Media Summit and speaking at Climate Week NYC. He is a digital advertising industry veteran, beginning his career working for clients including Nestle, Pfizer and Wyndham on the agency side and then opening up and growing Sharethrough’s East Coast headquarters in NYC.

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