IAB Europe explores how prepared industry is for reducing CO2 emissions

Posted on Thursday 02 February 2023 | IAB UK

The Sustainability in Digital Advertising State of Readiness Report shows how far the digital advertising industry is progressing on its journey towards the delivery of sustainable digital advertising

Sustainability is becoming a core focus for digital advertisers across the board, it being identified as a priority challenge alongside the future of targeting and measurement. This is just one of the findings from Sustainability in Digital Advertising State of Readiness Report, released today by IAB Europe.

The report gauges progress so far and how ready the industry is to tackle the issue of environmental sustainability, including what measures individual companies are putting in place. Developed by IAB Europe’s Sustainability Standards Committee, the report surveyed 256 companies from across the digital advertising ecosystem with the vast majority of respondents being from ad tech, agencies, and publishers, as well as advertisers. 

Key findings:

  • 55% of respondents believe that their company has started or made significant progress on its journey towards CO2e reduction. However, 18% have not yet started or thought about it yet
  • 51% of respondents stated that their companies currently do not measure the emissions produced by the delivery of digital ads
  • 50% have done or are doing a sustainability audit, 46% have a dedicated sustainability lead and 46% have created a checklist
  • When asked what the top three challenges were for businesses, sustainability ranks just below cookieless targeting and measurement
  • The measurement of CO2e was cited as the top action needed to drive down carbon emissions created by (35% of respondents cited it as the most important focus), closely followed by the creation of consistent standards (33%) and providing tools and solutions that can reduce the CO2 emissions produced by digital ads today (25%)

The findings of the report will be used by IAB Europe’s Sustainability Standards Committee to shape its 2023 objectives. Alongside the committee, European national IABs have formed a working group to show the industry’s commitment to reducing emissions. The UK digital advertising industry is represented in this group by IAB UK - a group charter and joint action plan is due to be released in the next few weeks.

Commenting on the report, Andrew Hayward-Wright, IAB Europe’s Programmatic & Sustainability Advisor, said: “It is clear from the results that a combination of measurement, standards, and solutions will be key to driving sustainability in digital advertising forward. This year, IAB Europe will focus on delivering standardisation of reporting whilst supporting the industry as it navigates the complex European regulatory environment of sustainability.”

The Sustainability in Digital Advertising State of Readiness Report is available on IAB Europe’s website.


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