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

IAB Europe

Lauren Wakefield

Dimitris Beis

To enable a collaborative and consistent approach to measuring carbon emissions in digital advertising, encompassing regulatory and policy frameworks, as well as standardising best practices in ad delivery across the digital supply chain. Key objectives include providing ongoing insights into digital advertising sustainability, addressing challenges in robust GHG estimation, offering the industry a comparative overview of estimation options, aiding operational decarbonisation, and keeping members informed on evolving European sustainability policies and their impact on digital advertising

IAB Tech Lab

Hillary Slattery

  • Identify and reduce waste cause by programmatic advertising
  • Work with the Programmatic Supply Chain community to reduce the amount of duplicative bid requests overall size of bid requests that occur
  • 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 minimize their carbon emissions today
  • Extend work done by IAB France and SRI to create and maintain industry wide benchmarks pertaining to decisioning and delivery of programmatic advertising 
  • Support sending and receiving signals to help brands and agencies bias their media investment towards inventory with verified sustainability goals sending and receiving signals to help brands and agencies bias their media investment towards inventory with verified sustainability goals

Ad Net Zero

Alex d’Albertanson

Elle Chartres

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

1.    Reducing emissions from Advertising Business Operations: To help UK businesses decarbonise, mandating supporters set science-based targets in line with the Paris Agreement 

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: Challenging industry awards bodies to ensure that the sustainability credentials and climate impact of campaigns inform judging. Encouraging organisers of events to put sustainability at the forefront of planning including reducing long-distance travel

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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