Maintaining and increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is unquestionably alarming, and what’s even more dangerous is not acknowledging or being aware of that contribution. And consequently not doing anything about it. This is nothing revolutionary and as we said before, selling sustainability must not be an inconvenient truth. But we’re not here to repeat ourselves, rather to share what we know and what we will do about it.
Few know that digital advertising is a major contributor to global carbon emissions and that the internet could be responsible for a larger carbon footprint than the airline industry. To get even more granular, a typical online ad campaign would emit 5.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide – which is close to being under half (43%) of the average annual carbon footprint of a person in the UK. The CO2 emissions of the internet infographic adds even further awareness to this underreported contributor.
Such stats could be quite shocking… or at least they were to many of us at Incubeta when our sustainability committee shared them with us. Fortunately, they didn’t just come to us with a problem but also offered a solution to it.
We sat down with Andrew Turner, our UK group commercial director and member of the sustainability committee, to see what they’ve been up to over the past year and hear the big announcement in regards to what we’re doing as an organisation about our digital footprint.
Incubeta are proud to announce the launch of a digital carbon offsetting initiative.
We have launched a program to measure, and offset, the carbon generated from the media we manage for a founding group of UK clients. Our vision is to grow this initiative in the year ahead and reach a point of having visibility and impact on the carbon generated from all of our clients’ digital activity across the Incubeta group’s 17 offices.
Two years in the making, Incubeta’s sustainability committee was initially founded to focus on our internal choices as a business, influencing positive change through items such as travel, electricity consumption, recycling and onsite food choices. We first measured our Carbon footprint within the UK office in 2019 and have made positive progress since this point where we feel confident that we’re making informed choices as a business, reducing our intake and importantly, offsetting our footprint through an accredited partner, Ecologi.
We made a pledge at the beginning of 2021 to turn our attention to our line of work as a media agency, researching the impact from the ads we manage for our clients to raise awareness of the often overlooked impact from digital carbon.
Identifying the carbon generated from a page load, we developed a calculation to assign a ‘carbon responsibility’ score from serving an ad, considering factors such as media outlet and ad format. Taking into account total impressions served over an annual period, we are now able to provide our clients with a view of their annualised digital carbon footprint for paid media.
As a digital partner which is all about growth, we want to go one step further. For a founding group of our clients, Fatface, Ganni and Lounge Underwear, and in collaboration with our sustainability partner, Ecologi, we have offset their digital footprint for the media we manage for them this year (2021), with a commitment to continue this offset pledge each year going forwards. The vision is to expand the program into 2022, opening the initiative to a wider pool of clients, bringing sustainability to the heart of our work.
“There’s a lack of awareness around the impact the digital industries have on the environment, so we are really pleased to help Incubeta and its international clients take this significant step forward in offsetting their digital carbon output. Following this announcement, we hope more companies in the advertising industry and wider digital sector will follow Incubeta’s lead and play their part in this collective effort to combat climate change.” – Linda Adams, Head of Partnerships, Ecologi
“FatFace is committed to driving our sustainability agenda across our three pillars of product, planet and community. We’re delighted to partner with Incubeta and Ecologi to offset our carbon emissions for our digital marketing activity as part of our sustainability journey.” – Steph Powell, Senior Global Marketing Manager at FatFace
“I am delighted to be able to bring this initiative to our clients which I feel represents an avenue for the whole industry to explore around how we can both learn and educate our clients on the impact of our work. To reach a point where sustainable digital media choices is a metric for optimisation is a tangible outcome which we can benchmark to surface what we are doing to combat climate change. “ – Andrew Turner, Incubeta