Catch up on ‘The Last Thursday Club: working towards ad net zero'

Posted on Friday 25 November 2022 | IAB UK

For November’s Last Thursday Club, we focused in on sustainability with guests from the Advertising Association, Omnicom Media Group, Mail Metro Media and PubMatic

Opening our third Last Thursday Club, Tim Elkington, Chief Digital Officer at IAB UK, launched our new sustainability glossary that lays out key terms relating to sustainability and digital advertising. As he said: “It’s essential we’re all speaking the same language and so this is a foundational step. It’s not a silver bullet but it’s important that we have standardisation around language.” We’ll be adding to the glossary on an ongoing basis so get in touch if you have anything to add. 

What followed was a fascinating discussion about what the advertising industry needs to do to hit net zero by 2030, as well as the role it has to encourage consumers to take action and prioritise sustainability. As Matt Bourn, Director of Communications at the Advertising Association said: “We’ve got to change the way we work and we’ve got to change the work we make.” 

Focusing in on where companies should start to get their own house in order, Ryan Uhl, Chief Brand Strategy Officer at Mail Metro Media, said: “If you want to do it properly then you have to have someone dedicated to it… we can’t all expect to become climate scientists or become experts on this tomorrow, so analyse who you have in the company and you might have to go external to bring in that expertise to your business.” 

Emma Newman, PubMatic’s CRO EMEA, brought an ad tech perspective to the debate. She said that key steps towards making digital advertising more environmentally sustainable include targeting more effectively and reducing the number of SSPs you work with: “It’s about making fewer impressions in the ecosystem that end up being more impressive.” 

On what the IAB can uniquely do to support the industry, Nicki Hare, Chief Development Officer at Omnicom Media Group UK, said facilitating collaboration is key and that “from an agency point of view, having a few standard questions [relating to sustainability] that every business has to answer would be a massive breakthrough”. Bourn also reiterated the importance of collaboration: “This is not about competition. Within the IAB community, share what you’re doing that works.” 


Showcase for Change is where we are sharing sustainability initiatives from IAB members, so the industry can learn from one another. Please get in touch if you have great work to add. 

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