[Infographic] Understanding How The Programmatic Supply Chain Generates CO2 Emissions

3
at
3
minutes
Technical Level
August 10, 2022
3
minutes
Technical Level
August 10, 2022
Frank Maguire
VP, Insights & Strategy
Brands and agencies are seeking to become environmentally sustainable. However, as a nascent and complex initiative, it can be difficult to determine the sources of pollution in ad tech and how carbon emissions are generated in the first place. That’s why we created this infographic to help brands and agencies understand how the programmatic supply chain generates CO2 emissions and what they can do to lower their carbon footprint.

The Different Carbon Emissions Explained

A vital part of lowering carbon emissions begins with identifying the sources of carbon waste. Brands’ and agencies’ carbon emissions are categorized into 3 sources: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. Depending on who the reporting company is, meaning for the brand, agency, or vendor, the same business activity can generate carbon waste that falls under different categories. 

While Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are generated by the company, Scope 3 emissions are generated throughout their supply chain.

Exploring The Carbon Emissions Of The Programmatic Supply Chain

When compared to print, digital media is often seen as more environmentally friendly. However, behind the screens, much of the carbon emissions generated by digital advertising fall under the Scope 3 category. This is due to the seemingly endless amounts of servers, processing and transmitting even more data and generating CO2 waste in the process. 

A Chain Reaction

When users land on a publisher’s page, this sets off a chain reaction of carbon waste throughout the programmatic supply chain. It starts by transmitting the site content to the user’s device. What affects the amount of Scope 3 carbon emissions during this stage is the data size of the site content, the type of device users use to access the content, and the energy required to power them all.

We’ve become so reliant on the internet, that simply reducing our content consumption isn’t a viable solution to becoming environmentally sustainable.

Transmitting Data Between Servers

Each bid request requires transmitting large amounts of data between the publisher’s, SSP’s, DSP’s, and all other vendors’ servers. The more companies a brand or advertiser has in the programmatic supply path, the harder servers have to work to send the data throughout the bid stream; creating carbon emissions in the process. 

Supply Path Optimization (SPO) can have a positive impact on reducing an organization’s carbon footprint and Scope 3 emissions.

Delivering the Ad Campaign

The amount of Scope 3 carbon emissions generated when delivering the ad campaign depends on a few factors. Larger file sizes generate more carbon waste, meaning video ads will emit more CO2 than display ads. Which device the ads are displayed on is also going to factor in how much carbon waste is generated during the campaign, as more powerful devices, such as desktop computers or laptops, create more carbon waste than mobile devices or Connected TVs (CTV.)

Data transmission is one of the largest contributors to a company’s Scope 3 carbon emissions.

Building a clean media ecosystem is a collective effort that’s going to take the entire advertising industry working together to reduce carbon emissions. 

To reduce your carbon emissions, check out how Sharethrough’s Green PMPs help decarbonize the programmatic supply chain.

Infographic: How The Programmatic Supply Chain Generates COEmissions

Below is a full breakdown between the differences of Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions:

Brands and agencies are seeking to become environmentally sustainable. However, as a nascent and complex initiative, it can be difficult to determine the sources of pollution in ad tech and how carbon emissions are generated in the first place. That’s why we created this infographic to help brands and agencies understand how the programmatic supply chain generates CO2 emissions and what they can do to lower their carbon footprint.

The Different Carbon Emissions Explained

A vital part of lowering carbon emissions begins with identifying the sources of carbon waste. Brands’ and agencies’ carbon emissions are categorized into 3 sources: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. Depending on who the reporting company is, meaning for the brand, agency, or vendor, the same business activity can generate carbon waste that falls under different categories. 

While Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are generated by the company, Scope 3 emissions are generated throughout their supply chain.

Exploring The Carbon Emissions Of The Programmatic Supply Chain

When compared to print, digital media is often seen as more environmentally friendly. However, behind the screens, much of the carbon emissions generated by digital advertising fall under the Scope 3 category. This is due to the seemingly endless amounts of servers, processing and transmitting even more data and generating CO2 waste in the process. 

A Chain Reaction

When users land on a publisher’s page, this sets off a chain reaction of carbon waste throughout the programmatic supply chain. It starts by transmitting the site content to the user’s device. What affects the amount of Scope 3 carbon emissions during this stage is the data size of the site content, the type of device users use to access the content, and the energy required to power them all.

We’ve become so reliant on the internet, that simply reducing our content consumption isn’t a viable solution to becoming environmentally sustainable.

Transmitting Data Between Servers

Each bid request requires transmitting large amounts of data between the publisher’s, SSP’s, DSP’s, and all other vendors’ servers. The more companies a brand or advertiser has in the programmatic supply path, the harder servers have to work to send the data throughout the bid stream; creating carbon emissions in the process. 

Supply Path Optimization (SPO) can have a positive impact on reducing an organization’s carbon footprint and Scope 3 emissions.

Delivering the Ad Campaign

The amount of Scope 3 carbon emissions generated when delivering the ad campaign depends on a few factors. Larger file sizes generate more carbon waste, meaning video ads will emit more CO2 than display ads. Which device the ads are displayed on is also going to factor in how much carbon waste is generated during the campaign, as more powerful devices, such as desktop computers or laptops, create more carbon waste than mobile devices or Connected TVs (CTV.)

Data transmission is one of the largest contributors to a company’s Scope 3 carbon emissions.

Building a clean media ecosystem is a collective effort that’s going to take the entire advertising industry working together to reduce carbon emissions. 

To reduce your carbon emissions, check out how Sharethrough’s Green PMPs help decarbonize the programmatic supply chain.

Infographic: How The Programmatic Supply Chain Generates COEmissions

Below is a full breakdown between the differences of Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions:

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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.

Brands and agencies are seeking to become environmentally sustainable. However, as a nascent and complex initiative, it can be difficult to determine the sources of pollution in ad tech and how carbon emissions are generated in the first place. That’s why we created this infographic to help brands and agencies understand how the programmatic supply chain generates CO2 emissions and what they can do to lower their carbon footprint.

The Different Carbon Emissions Explained

A vital part of lowering carbon emissions begins with identifying the sources of carbon waste. Brands’ and agencies’ carbon emissions are categorized into 3 sources: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. Depending on who the reporting company is, meaning for the brand, agency, or vendor, the same business activity can generate carbon waste that falls under different categories. 

While Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are generated by the company, Scope 3 emissions are generated throughout their supply chain.

Exploring The Carbon Emissions Of The Programmatic Supply Chain

When compared to print, digital media is often seen as more environmentally friendly. However, behind the screens, much of the carbon emissions generated by digital advertising fall under the Scope 3 category. This is due to the seemingly endless amounts of servers, processing and transmitting even more data and generating CO2 waste in the process. 

A Chain Reaction

When users land on a publisher’s page, this sets off a chain reaction of carbon waste throughout the programmatic supply chain. It starts by transmitting the site content to the user’s device. What affects the amount of Scope 3 carbon emissions during this stage is the data size of the site content, the type of device users use to access the content, and the energy required to power them all.

We’ve become so reliant on the internet, that simply reducing our content consumption isn’t a viable solution to becoming environmentally sustainable.

Transmitting Data Between Servers

Each bid request requires transmitting large amounts of data between the publisher’s, SSP’s, DSP’s, and all other vendors’ servers. The more companies a brand or advertiser has in the programmatic supply path, the harder servers have to work to send the data throughout the bid stream; creating carbon emissions in the process. 

Supply Path Optimization (SPO) can have a positive impact on reducing an organization’s carbon footprint and Scope 3 emissions.

Delivering the Ad Campaign

The amount of Scope 3 carbon emissions generated when delivering the ad campaign depends on a few factors. Larger file sizes generate more carbon waste, meaning video ads will emit more CO2 than display ads. Which device the ads are displayed on is also going to factor in how much carbon waste is generated during the campaign, as more powerful devices, such as desktop computers or laptops, create more carbon waste than mobile devices or Connected TVs (CTV.)

Data transmission is one of the largest contributors to a company’s Scope 3 carbon emissions.

Building a clean media ecosystem is a collective effort that’s going to take the entire advertising industry working together to reduce carbon emissions. 

To reduce your carbon emissions, check out how Sharethrough’s Green PMPs help decarbonize the programmatic supply chain.

Infographic: How The Programmatic Supply Chain Generates COEmissions

Below is a full breakdown between the differences of Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions:

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, Insights & Strategy

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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