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7 Questions for Suzy Ryder, Chief Digital Officer of OMD UK, on Sustainability in Digital Advertising

Sustainability
14
minutes
Technical Level
November 18, 2023
14
minutes
March 20, 2023
Technical Level
Frank Maguire
VP, Insight, Strategy & Sustainability
Special guest Suzy Ryder, Chief Digital Officer of OMD UK, joins us for a candid discussion about sustainability in digital advertising. As the industry moves the needle forward to an environmentally-friendly programmatic ecosystem, there are still some questions and challenges left to solve.

In this post, Suzy Ryder provides her thoughts and insights about the future of sustainability, the roles of agencies in achieving digital sustainability, and some of the expectations and challenges that agencies, brands, and other partners are facing on the journey to achieving net zero carbon emissions.

You can watch the full interview below:

For highlights from the interview, you can review the full Q&A below:

What Major Changes do you Expect to See in Sustainability in 2023?

Keeping in mind that ~90% of an organization’s carbon footprint comes from their supply chain, Supply Path Optimization (SPO) will take priority to remove the most unnecessary emissions.

“From an industry perspective, I expect every business to be analyzing their operating model and supply chains to better understand how they can lower their carbon footprint.” - Suzy Ryder

The more direct route that ads take to reach consumers, the fewer carbon emissions they release. 

Related: 5 Trends to Expect in Sustainability in 2023 — Sharethrough

What Role do Agencies Play in Sustainability?

In the last year, several agencies committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030 and beyond. Agencies like Dentsu, Havas, WPP and OMG have committed to industry initiatives like Ad Net Zero. Furthermore, agency Mindshare launched their #ChangeTheBriefAlliance which brings together different partners in media to support sustainability initiatives.

“We can advise on how they can reduce the carbon footprint of their advertising investment.”

Brands, advertisers and agencies control where the advertising dollars go. Using that position of influence, agencies can accelerate the adoption of sustainability into all areas of business from their partners.

“And that position really allows us to stimulate action through those different collective voices that we can bring together and the voice of our clients and the brands that we work with play such an important role in defining what that influence actually is.”

Related: Separating Agency Progress from Posturing Around Carbon Reduction and Sustainability

Are Brands Pushing for Sustainability? Or do They Need More Education?

Many brands already began reducing their carbon emissions. CPG brands have made some of the most progress, considering that 80% of consumers prefer brands that are actively working to reduce their impact on the environment. 

“Firstly, customers are demanding greater sustainability from the brands that they work with.”

However, brands can avoid accusations of greenwashing by transparently communicating their sustainability progress. 

“Clients that we work with, do feel a huge pressure to talk about sustainability in their advertising because people think it's really easy, but it's not, you are creating a really huge vulnerability around your brand and you must be very assured with your messaging.”

Other brands like Disney, Unilever and Dell committed to reducing their scope 1 through scope 3 emissions by 2030 or later. As more brands join the journey towards sustainability, the Science Based Targets initiative has a helpful dashboard to keep track of brands’ commitments and progress.

Furthermore, sustainability in digital advertising is a fairly nascent field with many moving parts. Education around how ads generate carbon emissions and the different solutions that are available is still needed and growing.

“And this is where a lot of the education requests come from clarity on what green credentials actually are or mean and how to communicate these with integrity, authenticity and for me personally, what's really important is with modesty because no brand is 100% done here.”

Related: [Infographic] Understanding How The Programmatic Supply Chain Generates CO2 Emissions — Sharethrough

What Type of Sustainability Offers do You Expect From Supply Partners Moving Into 2023?

Sharethrough is proud to be a leader in the sustainability efforts of ad tech, as we were the first SSP to provide a way for advertisers to compensate for their carbon emissions through our GreenPMPs™, built in partnership with Scope3.

“SSPs and other media owners are really starting to partner with companies such as Scope3 to reduce the carbon footprint of the advertising investment.”

Related: Building a Sustainable Programmatic Ecosystem with Sharethrough’s GreenPMPs

How Close is Ad Tech to Standardizing Carbon Emissions Measurement? What Will it Take to Get There?

Organizations like AdNetZero and the IAB are developing carbon emissions measurement and reporting standards for the advertising and media industry. By standardizing the measurement and reporting, companies can be held accountable for their sustainability efforts. 

“But I think everyone is broadly in agreement that we need a consistent industry-wide standard and we need it in order to get more pace and momentum behind this.”

In the meantime, companies like 51toCarbonZero and Scope3 are partnering with SSPs like Sharethrough to help advertisers measure and compensate for their campaign carbon emissions. Check out this useful tool to help estimate your ad campaigns’ potential carbon footprint.

“Because if we can show that making decisions with sustainability in mind is going to bring you a competitive edge. It only encourages brands to really embrace it more.”

Related: How Digital Media can Reach Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030 — Sharethrough

What Are Some of the Obstacles on Both Creating Standards and Getting Brands to Run More Green Media Products?

A joint effort is needed to come up with new incentives for all players in digital advertising to run more green media products. A potential solution could be that high-emissions publishers and advertisers would have to pay more to run their campaigns than those with lower emissions. Similar to how rising fuel costs are increasing consumers’ demand for electric vehicles.

“So we need to urgently find solutions that are viable for brands scalable but are also more sustainable.”

Related: Deep Dive: A Guide to Environmental Sustainability in Digital Advertising

What Advice do You Have for Advertisers Trying to Run More Sustainable Ad Campaigns?

We’re seeing evidence of this already, recently in the launch of Ad Net Zero USA Chapter, which Sharethrough is a founding member of, and we only expect membership to grow. Additionally, over 6k brands are actively running net-zero ad campaigns with the help of GreenPMPs™.

“Build your proof points, you know, listen to your customers you know, surround yourself with different voices to really help build a framework that is right for your business based on where you are right now in your own journey.”

Related: How GreenPMPs™ Avoided 100M Grams Of CO₂e In Only A Few Months — Sharethrough

A great thank you to Suzy Ryder, CDO of OMD UK, for sharing her thoughts and insights on sustainability and the role of agencies towards net-zero. Stay tuned for more interviews with other industry leaders. 

To view the free infographic, fill the form below.

Special guest Suzy Ryder, Chief Digital Officer of OMD UK, joins us for a candid discussion about sustainability in digital advertising. As the industry moves the needle forward to an environmentally-friendly programmatic ecosystem, there are still some questions and challenges left to solve.

In this post, Suzy Ryder provides her thoughts and insights about the future of sustainability, the roles of agencies in achieving digital sustainability, and some of the expectations and challenges that agencies, brands, and other partners are facing on the journey to achieving net zero carbon emissions.

You can watch the full interview below:

For highlights from the interview, you can review the full Q&A below:

What Major Changes do you Expect to See in Sustainability in 2023?

Keeping in mind that ~90% of an organization’s carbon footprint comes from their supply chain, Supply Path Optimization (SPO) will take priority to remove the most unnecessary emissions.

“From an industry perspective, I expect every business to be analyzing their operating model and supply chains to better understand how they can lower their carbon footprint.” - Suzy Ryder

The more direct route that ads take to reach consumers, the fewer carbon emissions they release. 

Related: 5 Trends to Expect in Sustainability in 2023 — Sharethrough

What Role do Agencies Play in Sustainability?

In the last year, several agencies committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030 and beyond. Agencies like Dentsu, Havas, WPP and OMG have committed to industry initiatives like Ad Net Zero. Furthermore, agency Mindshare launched their #ChangeTheBriefAlliance which brings together different partners in media to support sustainability initiatives.

“We can advise on how they can reduce the carbon footprint of their advertising investment.”

Brands, advertisers and agencies control where the advertising dollars go. Using that position of influence, agencies can accelerate the adoption of sustainability into all areas of business from their partners.

“And that position really allows us to stimulate action through those different collective voices that we can bring together and the voice of our clients and the brands that we work with play such an important role in defining what that influence actually is.”

Related: Separating Agency Progress from Posturing Around Carbon Reduction and Sustainability

Are Brands Pushing for Sustainability? Or do They Need More Education?

Many brands already began reducing their carbon emissions. CPG brands have made some of the most progress, considering that 80% of consumers prefer brands that are actively working to reduce their impact on the environment. 

“Firstly, customers are demanding greater sustainability from the brands that they work with.”

However, brands can avoid accusations of greenwashing by transparently communicating their sustainability progress. 

“Clients that we work with, do feel a huge pressure to talk about sustainability in their advertising because people think it's really easy, but it's not, you are creating a really huge vulnerability around your brand and you must be very assured with your messaging.”

Other brands like Disney, Unilever and Dell committed to reducing their scope 1 through scope 3 emissions by 2030 or later. As more brands join the journey towards sustainability, the Science Based Targets initiative has a helpful dashboard to keep track of brands’ commitments and progress.

Furthermore, sustainability in digital advertising is a fairly nascent field with many moving parts. Education around how ads generate carbon emissions and the different solutions that are available is still needed and growing.

“And this is where a lot of the education requests come from clarity on what green credentials actually are or mean and how to communicate these with integrity, authenticity and for me personally, what's really important is with modesty because no brand is 100% done here.”

Related: [Infographic] Understanding How The Programmatic Supply Chain Generates CO2 Emissions — Sharethrough

What Type of Sustainability Offers do You Expect From Supply Partners Moving Into 2023?

Sharethrough is proud to be a leader in the sustainability efforts of ad tech, as we were the first SSP to provide a way for advertisers to compensate for their carbon emissions through our GreenPMPs™, built in partnership with Scope3.

“SSPs and other media owners are really starting to partner with companies such as Scope3 to reduce the carbon footprint of the advertising investment.”

Related: Building a Sustainable Programmatic Ecosystem with Sharethrough’s GreenPMPs

How Close is Ad Tech to Standardizing Carbon Emissions Measurement? What Will it Take to Get There?

Organizations like AdNetZero and the IAB are developing carbon emissions measurement and reporting standards for the advertising and media industry. By standardizing the measurement and reporting, companies can be held accountable for their sustainability efforts. 

“But I think everyone is broadly in agreement that we need a consistent industry-wide standard and we need it in order to get more pace and momentum behind this.”

In the meantime, companies like 51toCarbonZero and Scope3 are partnering with SSPs like Sharethrough to help advertisers measure and compensate for their campaign carbon emissions. Check out this useful tool to help estimate your ad campaigns’ potential carbon footprint.

“Because if we can show that making decisions with sustainability in mind is going to bring you a competitive edge. It only encourages brands to really embrace it more.”

Related: How Digital Media can Reach Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030 — Sharethrough

What Are Some of the Obstacles on Both Creating Standards and Getting Brands to Run More Green Media Products?

A joint effort is needed to come up with new incentives for all players in digital advertising to run more green media products. A potential solution could be that high-emissions publishers and advertisers would have to pay more to run their campaigns than those with lower emissions. Similar to how rising fuel costs are increasing consumers’ demand for electric vehicles.

“So we need to urgently find solutions that are viable for brands scalable but are also more sustainable.”

Related: Deep Dive: A Guide to Environmental Sustainability in Digital Advertising

What Advice do You Have for Advertisers Trying to Run More Sustainable Ad Campaigns?

We’re seeing evidence of this already, recently in the launch of Ad Net Zero USA Chapter, which Sharethrough is a founding member of, and we only expect membership to grow. Additionally, over 6k brands are actively running net-zero ad campaigns with the help of GreenPMPs™.

“Build your proof points, you know, listen to your customers you know, surround yourself with different voices to really help build a framework that is right for your business based on where you are right now in your own journey.”

Related: How GreenPMPs™ Avoided 100M Grams Of CO₂e In Only A Few Months — Sharethrough

A great thank you to Suzy Ryder, CDO of OMD UK, for sharing her thoughts and insights on sustainability and the role of agencies towards net-zero. Stay tuned for more interviews with other industry leaders. 

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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.

Special guest Suzy Ryder, Chief Digital Officer of OMD UK, joins us for a candid discussion about sustainability in digital advertising. As the industry moves the needle forward to an environmentally-friendly programmatic ecosystem, there are still some questions and challenges left to solve.

In this post, Suzy Ryder provides her thoughts and insights about the future of sustainability, the roles of agencies in achieving digital sustainability, and some of the expectations and challenges that agencies, brands, and other partners are facing on the journey to achieving net zero carbon emissions.

You can watch the full interview below:

For highlights from the interview, you can review the full Q&A below:

What Major Changes do you Expect to See in Sustainability in 2023?

Keeping in mind that ~90% of an organization’s carbon footprint comes from their supply chain, Supply Path Optimization (SPO) will take priority to remove the most unnecessary emissions.

“From an industry perspective, I expect every business to be analyzing their operating model and supply chains to better understand how they can lower their carbon footprint.” - Suzy Ryder

The more direct route that ads take to reach consumers, the fewer carbon emissions they release. 

Related: 5 Trends to Expect in Sustainability in 2023 — Sharethrough

What Role do Agencies Play in Sustainability?

In the last year, several agencies committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030 and beyond. Agencies like Dentsu, Havas, WPP and OMG have committed to industry initiatives like Ad Net Zero. Furthermore, agency Mindshare launched their #ChangeTheBriefAlliance which brings together different partners in media to support sustainability initiatives.

“We can advise on how they can reduce the carbon footprint of their advertising investment.”

Brands, advertisers and agencies control where the advertising dollars go. Using that position of influence, agencies can accelerate the adoption of sustainability into all areas of business from their partners.

“And that position really allows us to stimulate action through those different collective voices that we can bring together and the voice of our clients and the brands that we work with play such an important role in defining what that influence actually is.”

Related: Separating Agency Progress from Posturing Around Carbon Reduction and Sustainability

Are Brands Pushing for Sustainability? Or do They Need More Education?

Many brands already began reducing their carbon emissions. CPG brands have made some of the most progress, considering that 80% of consumers prefer brands that are actively working to reduce their impact on the environment. 

“Firstly, customers are demanding greater sustainability from the brands that they work with.”

However, brands can avoid accusations of greenwashing by transparently communicating their sustainability progress. 

“Clients that we work with, do feel a huge pressure to talk about sustainability in their advertising because people think it's really easy, but it's not, you are creating a really huge vulnerability around your brand and you must be very assured with your messaging.”

Other brands like Disney, Unilever and Dell committed to reducing their scope 1 through scope 3 emissions by 2030 or later. As more brands join the journey towards sustainability, the Science Based Targets initiative has a helpful dashboard to keep track of brands’ commitments and progress.

Furthermore, sustainability in digital advertising is a fairly nascent field with many moving parts. Education around how ads generate carbon emissions and the different solutions that are available is still needed and growing.

“And this is where a lot of the education requests come from clarity on what green credentials actually are or mean and how to communicate these with integrity, authenticity and for me personally, what's really important is with modesty because no brand is 100% done here.”

Related: [Infographic] Understanding How The Programmatic Supply Chain Generates CO2 Emissions — Sharethrough

What Type of Sustainability Offers do You Expect From Supply Partners Moving Into 2023?

Sharethrough is proud to be a leader in the sustainability efforts of ad tech, as we were the first SSP to provide a way for advertisers to compensate for their carbon emissions through our GreenPMPs™, built in partnership with Scope3.

“SSPs and other media owners are really starting to partner with companies such as Scope3 to reduce the carbon footprint of the advertising investment.”

Related: Building a Sustainable Programmatic Ecosystem with Sharethrough’s GreenPMPs

How Close is Ad Tech to Standardizing Carbon Emissions Measurement? What Will it Take to Get There?

Organizations like AdNetZero and the IAB are developing carbon emissions measurement and reporting standards for the advertising and media industry. By standardizing the measurement and reporting, companies can be held accountable for their sustainability efforts. 

“But I think everyone is broadly in agreement that we need a consistent industry-wide standard and we need it in order to get more pace and momentum behind this.”

In the meantime, companies like 51toCarbonZero and Scope3 are partnering with SSPs like Sharethrough to help advertisers measure and compensate for their campaign carbon emissions. Check out this useful tool to help estimate your ad campaigns’ potential carbon footprint.

“Because if we can show that making decisions with sustainability in mind is going to bring you a competitive edge. It only encourages brands to really embrace it more.”

Related: How Digital Media can Reach Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030 — Sharethrough

What Are Some of the Obstacles on Both Creating Standards and Getting Brands to Run More Green Media Products?

A joint effort is needed to come up with new incentives for all players in digital advertising to run more green media products. A potential solution could be that high-emissions publishers and advertisers would have to pay more to run their campaigns than those with lower emissions. Similar to how rising fuel costs are increasing consumers’ demand for electric vehicles.

“So we need to urgently find solutions that are viable for brands scalable but are also more sustainable.”

Related: Deep Dive: A Guide to Environmental Sustainability in Digital Advertising

What Advice do You Have for Advertisers Trying to Run More Sustainable Ad Campaigns?

We’re seeing evidence of this already, recently in the launch of Ad Net Zero USA Chapter, which Sharethrough is a founding member of, and we only expect membership to grow. Additionally, over 6k brands are actively running net-zero ad campaigns with the help of GreenPMPs™.

“Build your proof points, you know, listen to your customers you know, surround yourself with different voices to really help build a framework that is right for your business based on where you are right now in your own journey.”

Related: How GreenPMPs™ Avoided 100M Grams Of CO₂e In Only A Few Months — Sharethrough

A great thank you to Suzy Ryder, CDO of OMD UK, for sharing her thoughts and insights on sustainability and the role of agencies towards net-zero. Stay tuned for more interviews with other industry leaders. 

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 studies to better understand how humans respond to advertising and sharing strategies, insights and best practices that help brands and agencies adapt their unique advertising challenges to ever-evolving media consumption behaviors. 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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