Selleris a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s article is written by John Goulding, Director of Global Strategy at MiQ.

Almost everything we do today contributes to our carbon footprint. Internet – and the A $455 billion advertising industry this funds much – is no exception.

All ad tech activities, from buying impressions to processing data, require electricity. And generating electricity leads to more carbon emissions.

The overall environmental impact of the Internet is estimated to be around 2-4% of global carbon emissions. It’s on par with the airline industry. A typical ad campaign emits approximately 5.4 tonnes of CO2while a programmatic ad printing produces approximately one gram of CO2. Multiply that by the trillions of ad impressions processed each year, and it becomes a major problem.

There is an opportunity to trigger real, long-term change that can benefit all relevant stakeholders, including consumers. So what could be holding these efforts back?

For one thing, not all brands, publishers and advertising executives intuitively think of digital advertising as part of their sustainability programs – at least not in the same way they think of business processes, reducing waste, ethical business practices or health and well-being. being employees.

Additionally, to date, there is no comprehensive way to accurately track and measure all carbon emissions across an entire digital supply chain, making it nearly impossible to properly offset them. .

But there are viable ways to map and analyze carbon emissions data across devices, publishers, and creative formats end-to-end. Today, companies have a reliable and accurate way to measure these efforts and integrate their objectives into established sustainability markers.

Sustainability requires a new way of thinking

The advertising industry has the opportunity to reverse this sustainability challenge by moving from a source of emissions to a driver of sustainability through a vast network of organizations. But the entire ecosystem will first have to motivate a change of mentality.

If advertisers and agencies seek to reduce campaign emissions, buying platforms will begin to optimize to reduce carbon supply, facilitating a strong economic incentive for publishers to reduce their carbon footprint in return. By minimizing the impact of their creatives and directing money and bidding to carbon-efficient publishers, exchanges, and providers, advertisers could tip the scales toward a new paradigm and lay the groundwork for change.

The way we think about content would also change. Why make longer videos if shorter ones are effective and produce less carbon?

This new mindset could also influence the metrics guiding the industry. If a company is measuring for brand safety, there’s no reason it shouldn’t expect to meet and exceed digital advertising sustainability criteria as well. And if the cost of carbon were to be built into programmatic supply chains, it’s fair to expect a dramatic halo effect on the economics of a more sustainable internet.

Environmental responsibility

As sustainability becomes a more important consideration for consumers, VCs, and C-suite decision makers, the promise of eco-responsible business practices will extend to both the physical and digital worlds. There is pressure on companies to demonstrate these commitments. Big advertisers like Nivea and agency groups like Dentsu are already proactively taking matters into their own hands.

The more companies share this collective vision and the sooner they can implement large-scale change together, the more successful we will all be in achieving a sustainable future.

Follow MiQ (@wearemiq) and Ad Exchange (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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