More than three-quarters of marketers think the ad industry is not doing enough to address digital advertising’s carbon footprint, according to new research released for Climate Week NYC by purpose-led ad platform Good-Loop.
The new report, which looks into how Adland is tackling the environmental impact of their digital ads, found that while six out of 10 advertisers say they are currently tracking the emissions generated by their digital ads, 76% felt the industry needs to do more to tackle the carbon cost of online ad campaigns.
As the digital ad ecosystem has become more complex and fragmented – fuelled primarily by the energy required to support the rise in programmatic advertising – the negative impact it has on the environment has also increased.
A typical online ad campaign emits 5.4 tons of carbon (source: Good-Loop) – around a third of what a US consumer generates every year, while 1M video impressions has the same carbon footprint as someone flying from Boston to London and back (source: Scope3).
To help understand how the ad industry is tackling the environmental impact of their digital ad campaigns – including the challenges faced and plans for future action – Good-Loop, a company that helps advertisers measure, reduce and offset the carbon footprint of their online ads, surveyed over 400 digital marketers in the US and UK.
Findings from the study “Counting Carbon: How US Marketers Are Tackling Adland’s Climate Crisis” include:
- Nine in every 10 (87%) marketers believe the digital ad industry has a responsibility to reduce carbon emissions
- 76% of marketers say Adland needs to do more to help reduce carbon emissions
- 61% of US marketers are currently tracking the carbon cost of their digital marketing campaigns. However, 56% still rely on estimated figures or calculations. There is also a lack of standardization, with both independent and in-house solutions widely used
- 51% say their organization plans to reach net zero in digital advertising at some point, but only 24% have set targets and only 2% say they have already reached net zero
- Seven in every 10 (69%) brand marketers and more than half (54%) of agency marketers believe there are not enough sustainability education/training programs
Amy Williams, CEO and founder of purpose-led ad platform Good-Loop, said: “This research has confirmed what we already knew to be true – people in our industry care deeply about tackling our carbon problem and making advertising a positive force in the world. But in order to reach ad net zero, we now need more industry-wide education and we must collaborate to develop universal sustainable standards, to guide future best practices. Good-Loop’s Green advertising solutions are supported by a robust, open-source methodology. Our goal is to provide a clear, transparent understanding of advertising’s digital carbon footprint to empower agencies and brands to offset their impact in the short-term and to implement positive climate action in the long-term.”