What Can Your Brand Do to Be More Sustainable?

February 27, 2023 — by MediaMath    

More than ever, consumers want to do business with brands that care about the environment. Consider that:

  • Over 65% of consumers say they want to do business with brands that are environmentally friendly and are working to minimize their harm to the environment. 
  • The majority of consumers also note they would switch brands if they didn’t feel the company was investing in sustainable business practices. 

While it may seem like a daunting initiative, there are steps your brand can start taking to be more sustainable and, as a result, boost customer loyalty.

Learn more about sustainability  

The first and easiest step to take is educating your company on its environmental impact.
Whether your company has already started making adjustments to achieve a carbon-neutral output or you’re just getting started, educating your team on the carbon footprint of advertising activities will generate conversation and help you commit to developing a sustainable advertising plan for your business. Some resources for you include:  

It’s worth noting that “greenwashing,” the act of overstating your commitment to eco-friendly activities, is not acceptable to consumers, especially younger ones like Gen Z. If your company isn’t ready to put a climate advertising action plan in place, be transparent with consumers and only commit to actions that are reasonable for your business. 

Measure your carbon impact  

Understanding your carbon impact is an important step in the process of planning and optimizing for sustainability in your advertising activities. Talk to your current measurement partners about how you can incorporate carbon measures into your existing measurement solutions or discuss options offered through MediaMath ecosystem partners like Scope3, DoubleVerify and Good-Loop. Performing a CO2 asset review using the Good-Loop carbon calculator for recent and active campaigns can help you quantify a portion of the carbon footprint of your typical advertising activities to use as a benchmark in measuring the success of your sustainable advertising action plan.   

Plan and optimize for sustainability 

The three Rs of recycling—reduce, reuse, and recycle—are great guidelines to bring into your media-buying activities to help your brand take demonstrable steps toward reducing the carbon emissions generated. When possible, seek low-carbon ad opportunities. Keep in mind that an improved win rate not only helps your bottom line through more efficient media buying and better business results, but it also means less waste in the digital ecosystem.   

Some tips: 

  • Curate your supply paths with your demand partners, using solutions like the supply path manager in the MediaMath Platform to find the most efficient path for your creatives to be placed on sites and apps.  
  • Include inventory marketplaces that offer carbon offset programs on your media buys like the MediaMath Green Marketplace so that you can ensure your digital advertising activities negate the carbon footprint they generate.  
  • Consider all aspects of the targeting you apply to your media buys, avoiding wasteful, non-viewable, impression delivery to consumers that aren’t in your intended audience. 
  • Use standard IAB ad units, which require less carbon to produce and deliver to consumers, and consider finding new ways to develop high-impact creative concepts that yield carbon-neutral footprints. Consider lower-carbon creative units like native text ads that remove the need to produce and deliver weightier assets, and recycle creatives instead of producing new ones.

Rethink content and messaging  

Consider a change of focus in ad content toward sales models and messages that promote sustainability in the choice of products promoted and the copy used for promotion. Consumers care about the sustainability of the products they buy, with more than 75% indicating they are trying to make more sustainable choices in their day-to-day lives.

A CPG brand was able to yield a 45% increase in purchase intent through creative aimed at social impact engagement. The brand saw over 32,000 individual donation activities, contributing to a total donation amount of $22,000.

Consider the impact of event participation  

In-person events are back after COVID cancelled or converted many to virtual gatherings. While so many of us are excited to network, meet partners and strike deals face-to-face again, remember that there’s a carbon footprint associated both with the events themselves and the emissions derived from all the associated travel.  

You can make smarter choices to reduce the impact of events or to enhance their contribution to sustainability. Consider more easily accessible travel destinations, reducing the number of traveling participants to the essential personnel or offering virtual options. Add sustainability topics to the agenda (if you’re running the event) or submit presentations, panels and fireside chats focused on the environment (if you’re a sponsor).  

We hope that this series has shed more light on the impact digital advertising has on the environment and how all players in the ecosystem can work together to reduce it. Don’t forget to download our whitepaper POV: Sustainability in Advertising for more detail on the causes and solutions to one of the most pressing world issues we face.