IAB Tech Lab launches initiative to reduce carbon impact of digital ads

Posted on Tuesday 24 January 2023 | IAB UK

The Green Supply Path Initiative aims to support the advertising industry in meaningfully lowering carbon emissions via supply path optimisation

Announced at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting, the Green Supply Path Initiative is designed to promote visibility into and accountability for carbon emissions across the digital advertising ecosystem, as well as providing a means for buyers to enforce their emissions standards programmatically. It is the result of collaboration between IAB Tech Lab, Scope3, Ad Net Zero and the wider industry. 

The initiative will become the benchmark for how carbon emission signals are sent and received programmatically. IAB and IAB Tech Lab are also exploring how the industry can develop a framework for the measurement and management of greenhouse gas emissions from media. 

To determine how those numbers are calculated, IAB Tech Lab is working with Ad Net Zero and Scope 3, with additional industry players to follow, to assess how to quantify and operationalise lowering carbon emissions. IAB Tech Lab is also hosting industry-wide collaboration via the Green Initiative Working Group, which kicks off next month (February 2023). Once complete, IAB Tech Lab will update existing supply chain frameworks to support green supply chains and minimise carbon impact. Objectives include: 

  • Launching the Green Initiative Working Group for the industry to align on approach, best practices, and how to send and receive signals programmatically
  • Publishing best practices and providing technical support pertaining to the Programmatic Supply Chain
  • Supporting the programmatic sending and receiving of emissions numbers 
  • Hosting a dashboard showing green supply path benchmarks

Commenting on the initiative, Anthony Katsur, CEO of IAB Tech Lab, said: “Programmatic advertising, like any other economic activity, contributes to global carbon emissions, which many brands have committed to reducing but lack meaningful ways to benchmark or enforce programmatically. As the global technical standard-setting body for the digital advertising ecosystem, Tech Lab’s goal is to provide the information and mechanism to send and receive signals pertaining to carbon emissions programmatically. We believe this is a critical step in moving the industry towards a green future.” 

Brian O’Kelley, Co-Founder and CEO of Scope3, added: “We have a real opportunity to disrupt the system and make it work better for both us and the planet. The only way for that to happen is by giving organisations across every part of the ad industry - from buyers to sellers - a reliable and standardised infrastructure to understand their emissions and change their behaviours. This initiative and working group led by IAB Tech Lab is exactly what the industry needs right now and brings us that much closer to decarbonising the media supply chain.”

You can read the full press release here and, to learn more about joining the Green Initiative Working Group in February 2023, please email [email protected].

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