Marketing Report
IAB Europe unveils mapping of greenhouse gas estimation solutions in digital advertising

IAB Europe unveils mapping of greenhouse gas estimation solutions in digital advertising

IAB Europe, the European-level industry association for the digital marketing and advertising ecosystem, has published the first-ever Mapping of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Estimation Solutions in Digital Advertising.

The mapping presents the range of emissions models currently available and provides an understanding of how they may differ and why they may arrive at varying estimates.

GHG emissions associated with the internet, devices, and supporting systems are thought to constitute nearly 4% of global emissions. With an industry-wide mandate to reduce this footprint, the first step is for companies within the digital advertising ecosystem to estimate their own emission contributions, so that they can demonstrate the true environmental cost of each digital advertising campaign to their partners.

Yet, with so many tools and solutions coming to the market and no standards in place at the moment, it is extremely difficult for stakeholders to know where to start when looking to estimate, understand, and reduce the impact of their digital advertising efforts. 

This comprehensive report provides a transparent view of the wide variety of frameworks and solutions developed and adopted in Europe to estimate and reduce the scope 3 emissions produced by digital advertising.

 Each solution was examined through the prism of the features and attributes that IAB Europe member companies find to be most relevant and likely to inform decision-making. It helps stakeholders from across the ecosystem to understand how current options may differ when it comes to data, supply chain boundaries, and the methods used to model scope 3 emission sources and tailor their strategies to meet sustainability objectives.

Participating organisations in the report include SRI/Alliance Digitale, GroupM, Dentsu, DIMPACT AdGreen, Scope3, Good-Loop, IMPACT+, Cedara, DK and SeenThis. The in-depth information on each framework or solution was collected from each participating organisation across a four-month period and provides additional context for each as relevant to the nine categories that represent the different aspects of GHG estimation solutions.

Arthur Millet, Chair Sustainability Standards Committee, IAB Europe: "There is a great deal of momentum in Europe around measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from digital advertising. The major media groups and trade associations are heavily involved, as are the many companies that have been set up to meet this challenge. There is a need for a better understanding of the methodologies and data used to measure the carbon impact of digital advertising. To this end, common methodological approaches are gradually being put in place at national and now global level. Our approach with the IAB Europe is helping to bring greater transparency and genuine cooperation between players to harmonise methodologies and data."

Key insights from the report include:

Data availability is seen by vendors as the main challenge to improving the robustness of estimates. 

Quantitative descriptors of uncertainty are often missing in LCA databases, corporate reports, research, and other data sources, leading many solutions to adopt qualitative data assessments.

There is a critical importance for a collaborative and transparent ecosystem, where stakeholders can navigate and utilise data that describes emissions sources effectively.

Dimitris Beis, Data Analyst & Sustainability Manager, IAB Europe: “It is clear from the report that more work is required to move the industry toward a more sustainable mode of operations. As these solutions are developed further, it is crucial to understand their accuracy, how they can be improved, and how we can use them to drive consistent estimation (of environmental impact). In the meantime, industry professionals should contribute to the transition progress by selecting solutions thoughtfully with the help of this report. They should also encourage greater collaboration through industry initiatives, such as IAB Europe’s Sustainability Standards Committee, and engage in advocacy within their organisations.”

At IAB Europe, we will continue to analyse the solutions available in the market and provide updates through future iterations of this report. We will further address the challenges identified in this analysis, continue to share recommendations to help reduce GHG emissions, and support an industry-wide move towards a standardised framework to accelerate progress.”