Streaming digital ads create emissions equal to electricity from 1.4m US homes

Streaming digital ads create the equivalent amount of emissions as 1.4 million US homes’ electricity usage yearly, according to a new report from Scope3.

In its latest State of Sustainable Advertising report, the leading provider of emissions data for the advertising industry found that based on display ad impressions processed every year, digital ads emits 7.2 million metric tonnes of CO2e annually.

Display advertising contributes 3.8 million metric tons of emissions while streaming accounts for 3.4 million metric tons of the total 7.2 million.

Overall, the amount of grams of carbon dioxide per mille (gCO2PM) dropped slightly for display advertising. The average emissions for 1000 display emissions now stands at 333 gCO2PM as the report excluded consumer devise emissions from the total amount of emissions

However, comparing display advertising to newly measured channels, streaming is more than double the emissions at 706.5 gCO2PM.


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Looking at the data, Scope3 say the impact of digital advertising fall into a category where emissions can be more readily eliminated.

“From the macro data we have around advertising emissions compared to global emissions, and the micro insights on impression-level data, we can pinpoint areas of excess and inefficiency that can be reduced to make progress towards achieving climate goals,” the report stated.

Reduction strategies will need to be channel specific, Scope3 suggests. Measuring every channel can highlight the nuances that exist in the emissions of different types of advertising.

Scope3 recently launched a new climate data solution to lower carbon emissions across the digital advertising sector which automatically blocks high emissions ad inventory, systemically reducing ‘climate risk’ and creating a more sustainable advertising ecosystem.

“Taking simple steps has a huge impact on reducing carbon emissions and simultaneously cleans up a wasteful ad ecosystem. Just as viewability and brand safety have been folded in with performance metrics, carbon must now be a consideration,” said COO and co-founder Scope3 Anne Coghlan.

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