Megan Graham's November 2022 report in the Wall Street Journal on digital advertising's impact on the environment made the case clear -- brands are spending a lot of money in questionable digital strategies that have a profound impact on the ecosystem and sustainability.
Her observations on the 2022 Scope 3/Ebiquity study have now been echoed in the June 2023 release of the Association of National Advertisers Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study. As the ANA noted in its study, "Be aware of the sustainability impact of your programmatic advertising. The longer the supply chain, the higher the carbon emissions; so consider where reductions in your supply chain can be made. Reevaluate the use of Made for Advertising websites."
As General Counsel of the ANA, I was privileged to be part of the ANA's study team, together with my partners, Keri Bruce and Nick Swimer.
Perhaps it's time for brands to add a sustainability KPI in their contracts with media buying agencies to insure that legitimate efforts are made to not only avoid the waste in digital and programmatic advertising but to eliminate the harm it does to the environment.