At the WFA World Marketer Week in Istanbul last week, I was stunned by the depth of marketer commitment to sustainable advertising. Sustainability (along with DEI) was a primary topic on the main stage at the conference. The updated Global Media Charter makes "Sustainability and Planet" a core pillar. Every CMO and Head of Media that I spoke to was committed to taking concrete and immediate climate action.
With this urgency and commitment from the top, it's time for the industry to take systemic action. Yet there is still confusion about how the pieces fit. Who's doing what? Is optimizing creative enough? Do I need one vendor or many? Should I join a trade association? Will there be an industry standard?
With all of these questions, it's tempting to do nothing and wait for answers. In the midst of a climate crisis, that's the worst decision we can make.
In the interest of helping provide clarity and in tribute to Terry Kawaja, I put together a "Greenscape" - a market map for ad tech companies that offer sustainable advertising solutions.
I have added companies to the Greenscape based on my own knowledge of the market and my own biases (I'm an investor in, advisor to, and on the board of some of these companies, and co-founded Scope3). I'm sure I'm missing companies and have made mistakes! I'll make updates regularly based on:
- Whether the company has an actual solution in-market, not just a press release
- What problem the solution addresses
- Whether the solution is bundled with media
- How the solution addresses the client's holistic footprint
A huge thank you to all the people that helped me put this together and for the great feedback along the way!
These categories are an attempt to describe "what does this company do" from a buyer's lens. For instance, if you are running a programmatic media campaign, you might be interested in campaign reporting and campaign optimization. Whether these companies are trading desks or DSPs or custom algorithm providers or verification vendors or media auditors matters - but in this context, they all fit into these two categories.
Creative Production Measurement
Track and measure the carbon footprint of a creative production, generally focusing on the crew, set, materials, travel, and post-production emissions.
Carbon Calculators and Planning Tools
Estimate the carbon footprint of a media plan by channel or media vendor. Ideal for comparing scenarios prior to making buying decisions.
Campaign Carbon Reporting
Measure the carbon footprint of campaigns based on impression-level data. May be real-time or executed post-campaign.
Corporate Carbon Accounting
Use financial and activity data to calculate the carbon footprint of an organization, generally for inclusion in a sustainability or impact report.
Minimize the data transfer and CPU usage of a creative.
Optimize the targeting of a campaign to minimize its carbon footprint relative to reach and performance metrics.
Green Media Platforms
Curate and package private marketplaces to minimize their carbon footprint.
Demand Partner Optimization
Optimize distribution of programmatic bid requests to minimize carbon footprint per unit of revenue.
Validated Sustainability Data
Collate public and private sustainability data to create an "apples to apples" dataset aligned to scientific, regulatory, and industry standards.
Advertising Industry Methodology and Standards
Organizations working to create a common methodology and standards for measuring the carbon footprint of advertising-related activities.