MARCO ISLAND, FL — The imperative for sustainability has never been more critical, and the advertising industry – with a range of impacts, including energy consumption from programmatic trading – has a role to play.

In January, scientists warned carbon reduction targets could be missed without urgent intervention.

In this video interview with Beet.TV at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting, Frank Maguire, VP of Insights, Strategy & Sustainability at Sharethrough, sheds light on the urgent need for action and the innovative pathways being carved out for a greener digital ecosystem.

A Second Summit on Green Media

One way Sharethrough is joining the fight is in an upcoming event it is staging on the topic. A second Green Media Summit, in New York City in April 2024, will be a platform for industry-wide engagement on sustainability. After a successful debut in 2023, which drew more than 300 attendees, the 2024 summit aims to transition from education to action.

“We’re trying to bring together both climate experts… but also what [agencies] need from the rest of the industry to improve sustainability,” Maguire shares. The event will include marketing expert turned climate activist Seth Godin, alongside discussions involving major advertising holding companies and brands like HSBC and Mars.

One of the key outcomes from the inaugural Green Media Summit was a demand for better carbon measurement standards in digital advertising, Magquire says. Sharethrough will host a panel at the upcoming summit to address this need. “We’re going to have a panel with the key stakeholders that are creating those standards,” Maguire confirms, highlighting the community’s call for progress in this area.

The Digital Carbon Footprint: A Call to Action

That challenge – quantifying digital carbon – is a hot topic in this sector, just as in others. But Maguire thinks media can at least make better headway than certain other industries.

“We have a lot more control over our full scope of emissions as an industry,” he notes, emphasizing the potential for rapid emission reduction and the pursuit of net zero goals.

Maguire acknowledges the challenges faced by publishers, who often operate under intense pressure to maximize revenue, sometimes at the expense of sustainability.

Sharethrough’s New Carbon Measurement Partnership Attracts IPG, Hearst

To address this, Sharethrough last year launched an initiative, the Net Zero Publisher Program, to expedite the shift towards greener practices among publishers. “We will pay for the first year of (carbon) measurement for a publisher… so they can create a plan to eventually reach net zero emissions,” he Maguire says.

This measurement, conducted through a collaboration with 51 to Carbon Zero, a carbon measurement platform, paves the way for publishers to make science-based commitments to reducing emissions.

To Maguire, the urgency is clear: “The earth is literally on fire and everyone kind of has to get involved.”

You’re watching ‘Digital Media in Transition’, a Beet.TV Leadership Series at IAB ALM 2024 presented by Sharethrough. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.