How to offset the carbon footprint of digital advertising

Benoît Skinazi, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Sharethrough

August 17 2022

Any online activity has an energy cost and therefore an environmental cost. Digital advertising is no exception. Quebec company adtech Sharethrough has developed a solution to “measure” and “offset” the carbon footprint of online advertising. An interview with Benoît Skinazi, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Sharethrough, who tells us about their new “Green Software Platforms” product launched last June.

We don’t always realize it but surfing the internet gets polluted… Is that the problem?

Benedict Schenazi: Our computers do not smoke or burn fuel, so it is not clear that the Internet is polluted. However, running servers hosting websites, viewing website pages, or browsing a web application requires a lot of energy. This consumption generates carbon emissions. Furthermore, it is estimated that 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions come from online browsing.

In this navigation, what is the share of online advertising?

BS: It is estimated to account for 10% of global navigation. An advertising screen results in an average of one gram of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. For comparison, 1 million ad impressions are equivalent to a trip from Boston to London.

What solution do you offer to this kind of pollution?

BS: As an advertising platform, we asked ourselves what we could do to help decarbonize the automated advertising supply chain. For us, the first step was to measure the impact of an online advertising campaign. To achieve this, we have partnered with Scope3 which specializes in this type of account. With this information on hand, we can now offer advertisers the use of automated buying platforms [PMP] “Green” allows them to offset their carbon emissions by paying a contribution to decarbonization initiatives.

The idea is here, then ” compensate for ” not from Reduce their emissions, right?

BS: exactly. Scope3 is associated with Carbon Direct, a certified green venture investment firm, which offers a variety of green investments. The best known example is tree planting, but this is not necessarily the most effective project in the short term. Advertisers can choose to invest in green projects including planting trees, but also installing air purification systems or setting up a clean energy production project.

Does it require a significant contribution from advertisers?

BS: It can range from 3 to 20 cents CPM (cost per thousand impressions of an ad), depending on the efficiency of the advertising supply chain; Is the site functional, are there multiple brokers, etc.? On average, we see a cost of 10 under CPM, but this will decrease as tech companies and content publishers improve the efficiency of their sites.

And what is the brands response so far?

BS: It officially launched in June, and we now have over 1,500 brands spending dollars on green PMP ads. Brand Testing We’re seeing a lot of excitement in the UK and Europe; Canada and the United States follow suit. We are currently in strategic discussions with brands to make it a real program and raise awareness among their employees. Thousands of companies have pledged to become “carbon neutral” by 2025, 2030 or 2035, and we are in a position to help them achieve this goal.

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