Sustainability initiatives and owners in digital advertising

Posted on Wednesday 24 May 2023 | IAB UK

From reducing carbon emissions to setting the standards - we've produced this handy grid to keep track of the sustainability initiatives progressing right across the digital media industry

Last updated: June 2023






Sophia Haynes

  • To help IAB UK members understand how they can best reduce their carbon emissions and fulfil their environmental commitments in the media supply chain through education and standardisation
  • To work collaboratively with all the organisations below
  • Sustainability Glossary
  • Showcase for Change - standout initiatives that are driving greater environmental sustainability and inclusivity
  • Sustainability FAQs - to make sustainability information in the digital media supply chain more transparent and accessible and ultimately to raise the standard

IAB Europe

Lauren Wakefield

  • To develop a framework* that can be used by all stakeholders involved in digital advertising to measure the carbon emissions arising from their activities
  • To develop de-carbonisation strategies, method, and technologies based on the framework

*This framework will be supported by National Federations and delivered by the Sustainability Standards Committee. This will provide digital expertise and will also provide support and engagement with other relevant trade organisations and industry initiatives. 

IAB Tech Lab

Hillary Slattery

To deliver the Green Initiative by:

  • Identifying and specifying sources of waste in the programmatic supply 
  • Collating and publishing programmatic best practices
  • Iteratively adding benchmarks to the Tools Portal

In Scope*

  • Publishing best practices for greener supply path such as the Sustainability Playbook which offers guidance and best practices that the buy and sell side can implement to minimise their carbon emissions today 
  • To provide technical support pertaining to Programmatic Supply Chain
  • Supporting the sending and receiving of emissions numbers
  • Once methodology has been determined, hosting emissions calculator 

* Tech Lab is not going to add an emissions number anywhere in the OpenRTB spec or Ads.txt/App-ads.txt files)

Ad Net Zero

Alex d’Albertanson

Elle Chartres

To decarbonise advertising operations and promote sustainable, products, services and behaviours

1.    Getting house in order: To help UK businesses decarbonise, with a carbon calculator to track and analyse operational carbon emissions

2.    Reducing emissions from Ad Production: Using tools e.g. AdGreen, to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of productions

3.    Reducing emissions from Ad Distribution: To help tackle media plans, launched a working group to standardise carbon calculations through a global data framework

4.    Reducing emissions through events and awards

5.    Harnessing advertising’s power to drive behaviour change: Launching the Campaign Ad Net Zero Awards and helping promote the work of regulators around the rules on environmental claims. Developing a framework with PWC to measure the ad industry’s responsibility on the resulting carbon impact from the sale of products and services supported by advertising campaigns


Nigel Gwilliam 

Playing an integral role in Ad Net Zero - UK and Global

  • Supporting Ad Net Zero’s work
  • On the broader sustainability perspective, the IPA have compiled the following resources  


Stuart Macnaughtan 

  • To understand the questions, concerns and barriers that ISBA members face in moving their advertising operations toward net zero through the ISBA Sustainability Forum 
  • ISBA is a signatory of the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, which includes a commitment to halve emissions by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050 and the WFA Planet Pledge, a global commitment to make marketing teams a force for positive change both internally and with the consumers who buy their products and services

Currently identifying advertisers’ barriers and issues, then will set priorities and identify deliverables


Richard Reeves

Clare Willetts

  • To develop strategies to reflect publishers’ commitment to ESG (climate, DE&I and governance) partnering with Right Thing Media 
  • To create a framework/charter for a unified collaborative response to agencies and their clients ensuring the media supply chain is embedding people and planet at the heart of business. The charter will inform aspirations for a standard for publishers to adhere to
  • To position AOP alongside the UN Sustainable development goals

Survey ran in 2022 to gain a better understanding of members’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials

  • E - the business carbon reduction media supply chain strategy – Review, Reduce, Remove and Report 
  • S - how the business is impacting and supporting social issues such as gender equity and diversity
  • G - how businesses are delivering a balanced governance policy, protecting employee rights, and supply chain

Set up three ESG groups – Decarbonisation, DE&I / Supply Chain and Content and Impact - looking at what publishers are doing editorially.

Tim Elkington at Leadership Summit 2023

More on sustainability

We've pulled together the work we are doing with our members to minimise the industry’s impact on the environment, as well as the steps we’ve put in place to get our own office and business operations in order

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