Why The Ad Industry Should Focus On Scope 3 Emissions

5
at
5
minutes
Technical Level
July 7, 2022
5
minutes
Technical Level
July 7, 2022
Ari Belliu
Marketing Communications Specialist
Environmental sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. That’s why more and more brands and advertisers are looking to offset their carbon emissions. But how does the ad industry cause carbon emissions in the first place?

In this post, we cover the differences between Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions, the importance of lowering Scope 3 emissions and what brands, advertisers and organizations can do to offset their impact on the environment.

Sustainability Is Imperative

Over 200 countries signed the Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions in half in order to limit global warming by 2.7F by 2030. The Advertising Association in the UK aims to achieve Ad Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030. Sustainability is one of the key pillars of Cannes Lions 2022. Not only that, WPP is set to become carbon neutral by 2025. More importantly, consumers believe that organizations have a greater impact than governments in offsetting carbon emissions.

The ad industry is capable of building a cleaner future by collectively working to offset carbon emissions.

Ad Tech Emissions Explained

Depending on the source, carbon emissions are categorized into Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. Although Scope 1 and Scope 2 are caused by an organization’s regular business activities, 92% of carbon emissions fall under Scope 3, according to this report by CDP. What causes the majority of ad tech’s Scope 3 carbon emissions? Running digital ads throughout the programmatic supply chain.

Scope 1 + 2 Emissions

Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions result from office buildings and the energy required to run them. Switching to renewable energy and energy-efficient lights, ventilation and heating/cooling can help brands directly lower their Scope 1 and 2 emissions but it doesn’t offset the impact of their Scope 3 emissions. 

Scope 3 Emissions

All the servers and devices required to operate the internet and run digital ad campaigns generate heat and carbon emissions that fall under brands’ and advertisers’ Scope 3 emissions. Between the carbon emissions from publishers producing content, brands and advertisers creating and running digital ad campaigns, users accessing content on publisher sites, and SSPs delivering ads to those impressions, that’s about 1g of CO2 waste from 1 ad impression.

And these carbon emissions are caused throughout the programmatic supply chain:  

  • Publisher Servers
  • End-user Devices
  • SSPs
  • Ad Servers
  • Verification Partners
  • DMPs
  • DSPs 
Programmatic supply chain emissions eventually add up and we can see why brands’ and advertisers’ Scope 3 emissions have the most significant impact on the environment.

Prioritizing Scope 3 Carbon Emissions

Aside from Scope 3 emissions accounting for up to 92% of an organization's carbon emissions, the carbon emissions caused by browsing the internet and digital ads are similar to the carbon waste emitted by the aviation industry. So 1 Million ad impressions generate an equal amount  of carbon emissions as 1 round-trip flight from Boston to London for 1 person!

Although digital is often associated with being environmentally friendly, internet browsing and digital ads still cause a significant amount of carbon emissions.

Digital ads contribute 28% of an individual consumer’s carbon footprint, according to Purpose Disruptors. Yet 6 of 10 people didn’t know their browsing habits and digital ads have an impact on the environment.

If consumers are willing to change their habits to offset their emissions, the ad tech industry can too.

Although it’s important for brands, agencies and ad tech companies to offset Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions, the larger impact is going to come from the ad industry focusing on Scope 3 emissions. It’s going to take the entire industry working together to offset carbon emissions and reach a global carbon neutral goal by 2030. 

How To Offset Scope 3 Carbon Emissions

The good news is there’s finally a real and meaningful solution for advertisers and brands to offset their carbon emissions. Sharethrough partnered with Scope3 to create Green PMPs, enabling advertisers for the first time to reduce their Scope 3 carbon emissions generated by running digital ads across the entire supply chain.

Green PMPs

When advertisers run their digital ad campaigns through Sharethrough’s Green PMPs, Scope3 allocates a portion of ad spend to fund high-quality carbon offsetting initiatives, such as reforestation, carbon soil storage and direct air capture, to offset the same amount of carbon waste generated throughout the programmatic supply chain.

Furthermore, 80% of consumers prefer brands that are actively reducing their carbon footprint. Advertisers can inform consumers of their carbon waste reduction efforts thanks to the Green Icon generated on all ads run through the Green PMP. Additionally, advertisers can use the Green Icon to educate consumers on sustainability and other Green Media Projects. 

Advertisers can differentiate themselves and their carbon-offsetting initiatives with the Green Icon on all ads run through Green PMPs.

Building an Environmentally-Friendly Ad Tech Ecosystem

The most significant change is in the hands of ad buyers. They have the power to control where media spend goes, and using that power, ad buyers can influence partners and vendors to offset their carbon emissions. Thankfully, there’s already brands and agencies working to offset their Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions. While Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are easy to neutralize, the biggest impact comes from reducing Scope 3 carbon emissions. 

For ad tech to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, it’s going to take every player in the programmatic supply chain working together to offset their Scope 3 carbon emissions. That’s why Sharethrough’s Green PMPs, built in partnership with Scope3, are the first industry solution to offset the carbon waste generated by running ad campaigns.

For brands and advertisers looking to become carbon neutral, check out how Sharethrough’s Green PMP help offset the carbon emissions caused by digital ads.

Environmental sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. That’s why more and more brands and advertisers are looking to offset their carbon emissions. But how does the ad industry cause carbon emissions in the first place?

In this post, we cover the differences between Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions, the importance of lowering Scope 3 emissions and what brands, advertisers and organizations can do to offset their impact on the environment.

Sustainability Is Imperative

Over 200 countries signed the Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions in half in order to limit global warming by 2.7F by 2030. The Advertising Association in the UK aims to achieve Ad Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030. Sustainability is one of the key pillars of Cannes Lions 2022. Not only that, WPP is set to become carbon neutral by 2025. More importantly, consumers believe that organizations have a greater impact than governments in offsetting carbon emissions.

The ad industry is capable of building a cleaner future by collectively working to offset carbon emissions.

Ad Tech Emissions Explained

Depending on the source, carbon emissions are categorized into Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. Although Scope 1 and Scope 2 are caused by an organization’s regular business activities, 92% of carbon emissions fall under Scope 3, according to this report by CDP. What causes the majority of ad tech’s Scope 3 carbon emissions? Running digital ads throughout the programmatic supply chain.

Scope 1 + 2 Emissions

Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions result from office buildings and the energy required to run them. Switching to renewable energy and energy-efficient lights, ventilation and heating/cooling can help brands directly lower their Scope 1 and 2 emissions but it doesn’t offset the impact of their Scope 3 emissions. 

Scope 3 Emissions

All the servers and devices required to operate the internet and run digital ad campaigns generate heat and carbon emissions that fall under brands’ and advertisers’ Scope 3 emissions. Between the carbon emissions from publishers producing content, brands and advertisers creating and running digital ad campaigns, users accessing content on publisher sites, and SSPs delivering ads to those impressions, that’s about 1g of CO2 waste from 1 ad impression.

And these carbon emissions are caused throughout the programmatic supply chain:  

  • Publisher Servers
  • End-user Devices
  • SSPs
  • Ad Servers
  • Verification Partners
  • DMPs
  • DSPs 
Programmatic supply chain emissions eventually add up and we can see why brands’ and advertisers’ Scope 3 emissions have the most significant impact on the environment.

Prioritizing Scope 3 Carbon Emissions

Aside from Scope 3 emissions accounting for up to 92% of an organization's carbon emissions, the carbon emissions caused by browsing the internet and digital ads are similar to the carbon waste emitted by the aviation industry. So 1 Million ad impressions generate an equal amount  of carbon emissions as 1 round-trip flight from Boston to London for 1 person!

Although digital is often associated with being environmentally friendly, internet browsing and digital ads still cause a significant amount of carbon emissions.

Digital ads contribute 28% of an individual consumer’s carbon footprint, according to Purpose Disruptors. Yet 6 of 10 people didn’t know their browsing habits and digital ads have an impact on the environment.

If consumers are willing to change their habits to offset their emissions, the ad tech industry can too.

Although it’s important for brands, agencies and ad tech companies to offset Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions, the larger impact is going to come from the ad industry focusing on Scope 3 emissions. It’s going to take the entire industry working together to offset carbon emissions and reach a global carbon neutral goal by 2030. 

How To Offset Scope 3 Carbon Emissions

The good news is there’s finally a real and meaningful solution for advertisers and brands to offset their carbon emissions. Sharethrough partnered with Scope3 to create Green PMPs, enabling advertisers for the first time to reduce their Scope 3 carbon emissions generated by running digital ads across the entire supply chain.

Green PMPs

When advertisers run their digital ad campaigns through Sharethrough’s Green PMPs, Scope3 allocates a portion of ad spend to fund high-quality carbon offsetting initiatives, such as reforestation, carbon soil storage and direct air capture, to offset the same amount of carbon waste generated throughout the programmatic supply chain.

Furthermore, 80% of consumers prefer brands that are actively reducing their carbon footprint. Advertisers can inform consumers of their carbon waste reduction efforts thanks to the Green Icon generated on all ads run through the Green PMP. Additionally, advertisers can use the Green Icon to educate consumers on sustainability and other Green Media Projects. 

Advertisers can differentiate themselves and their carbon-offsetting initiatives with the Green Icon on all ads run through Green PMPs.

Building an Environmentally-Friendly Ad Tech Ecosystem

The most significant change is in the hands of ad buyers. They have the power to control where media spend goes, and using that power, ad buyers can influence partners and vendors to offset their carbon emissions. Thankfully, there’s already brands and agencies working to offset their Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions. While Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are easy to neutralize, the biggest impact comes from reducing Scope 3 carbon emissions. 

For ad tech to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, it’s going to take every player in the programmatic supply chain working together to offset their Scope 3 carbon emissions. That’s why Sharethrough’s Green PMPs, built in partnership with Scope3, are the first industry solution to offset the carbon waste generated by running ad campaigns.

For brands and advertisers looking to become carbon neutral, check out how Sharethrough’s Green PMP help offset the carbon emissions caused by digital ads.

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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.

Environmental sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. That’s why more and more brands and advertisers are looking to offset their carbon emissions. But how does the ad industry cause carbon emissions in the first place?

In this post, we cover the differences between Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions, the importance of lowering Scope 3 emissions and what brands, advertisers and organizations can do to offset their impact on the environment.

Sustainability Is Imperative

Over 200 countries signed the Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions in half in order to limit global warming by 2.7F by 2030. The Advertising Association in the UK aims to achieve Ad Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030. Sustainability is one of the key pillars of Cannes Lions 2022. Not only that, WPP is set to become carbon neutral by 2025. More importantly, consumers believe that organizations have a greater impact than governments in offsetting carbon emissions.

The ad industry is capable of building a cleaner future by collectively working to offset carbon emissions.

Ad Tech Emissions Explained

Depending on the source, carbon emissions are categorized into Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. Although Scope 1 and Scope 2 are caused by an organization’s regular business activities, 92% of carbon emissions fall under Scope 3, according to this report by CDP. What causes the majority of ad tech’s Scope 3 carbon emissions? Running digital ads throughout the programmatic supply chain.

Scope 1 + 2 Emissions

Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions result from office buildings and the energy required to run them. Switching to renewable energy and energy-efficient lights, ventilation and heating/cooling can help brands directly lower their Scope 1 and 2 emissions but it doesn’t offset the impact of their Scope 3 emissions. 

Scope 3 Emissions

All the servers and devices required to operate the internet and run digital ad campaigns generate heat and carbon emissions that fall under brands’ and advertisers’ Scope 3 emissions. Between the carbon emissions from publishers producing content, brands and advertisers creating and running digital ad campaigns, users accessing content on publisher sites, and SSPs delivering ads to those impressions, that’s about 1g of CO2 waste from 1 ad impression.

And these carbon emissions are caused throughout the programmatic supply chain:  

  • Publisher Servers
  • End-user Devices
  • SSPs
  • Ad Servers
  • Verification Partners
  • DMPs
  • DSPs 
Programmatic supply chain emissions eventually add up and we can see why brands’ and advertisers’ Scope 3 emissions have the most significant impact on the environment.

Prioritizing Scope 3 Carbon Emissions

Aside from Scope 3 emissions accounting for up to 92% of an organization's carbon emissions, the carbon emissions caused by browsing the internet and digital ads are similar to the carbon waste emitted by the aviation industry. So 1 Million ad impressions generate an equal amount  of carbon emissions as 1 round-trip flight from Boston to London for 1 person!

Although digital is often associated with being environmentally friendly, internet browsing and digital ads still cause a significant amount of carbon emissions.

Digital ads contribute 28% of an individual consumer’s carbon footprint, according to Purpose Disruptors. Yet 6 of 10 people didn’t know their browsing habits and digital ads have an impact on the environment.

If consumers are willing to change their habits to offset their emissions, the ad tech industry can too.

Although it’s important for brands, agencies and ad tech companies to offset Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions, the larger impact is going to come from the ad industry focusing on Scope 3 emissions. It’s going to take the entire industry working together to offset carbon emissions and reach a global carbon neutral goal by 2030. 

How To Offset Scope 3 Carbon Emissions

The good news is there’s finally a real and meaningful solution for advertisers and brands to offset their carbon emissions. Sharethrough partnered with Scope3 to create Green PMPs, enabling advertisers for the first time to reduce their Scope 3 carbon emissions generated by running digital ads across the entire supply chain.

Green PMPs

When advertisers run their digital ad campaigns through Sharethrough’s Green PMPs, Scope3 allocates a portion of ad spend to fund high-quality carbon offsetting initiatives, such as reforestation, carbon soil storage and direct air capture, to offset the same amount of carbon waste generated throughout the programmatic supply chain.

Furthermore, 80% of consumers prefer brands that are actively reducing their carbon footprint. Advertisers can inform consumers of their carbon waste reduction efforts thanks to the Green Icon generated on all ads run through the Green PMP. Additionally, advertisers can use the Green Icon to educate consumers on sustainability and other Green Media Projects. 

Advertisers can differentiate themselves and their carbon-offsetting initiatives with the Green Icon on all ads run through Green PMPs.

Building an Environmentally-Friendly Ad Tech Ecosystem

The most significant change is in the hands of ad buyers. They have the power to control where media spend goes, and using that power, ad buyers can influence partners and vendors to offset their carbon emissions. Thankfully, there’s already brands and agencies working to offset their Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 carbon emissions. While Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are easy to neutralize, the biggest impact comes from reducing Scope 3 carbon emissions. 

For ad tech to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, it’s going to take every player in the programmatic supply chain working together to offset their Scope 3 carbon emissions. That’s why Sharethrough’s Green PMPs, built in partnership with Scope3, are the first industry solution to offset the carbon waste generated by running ad campaigns.

For brands and advertisers looking to become carbon neutral, check out how Sharethrough’s Green PMP help offset the carbon emissions caused by digital ads.

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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Ari Belliu
Marketing Communications Specialist

About the Author

Ari is an experienced digital marketer with a demonstrated history of multi-tasking and working in health and tech on small teams. He's skilled in copywriting, community building, email and social media marketing, and building brand awareness.

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