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How to reduce your agency’s carbon footprint

Watching Youtube, scrolling through Facebook or posting to Linkedin all have a carbon cost, and it’s likely higher than you think. The...

Profile picture of Ido Lechner

4.24.2023

3 min read

Watching Youtube, scrolling through Facebook or posting to Linkedin all have a carbon cost, and it’s likely higher than you think. The average digital ad campaign emits over 5.4 tons of CO2 based on the carbon costs of producing, distributing and measuring the campaign.


Emails are another unsuspecting culprit. According to Mike Berners-Lee's research in his book How Bad Are Bananas?, the footprint of a short email is estimated at 0.3 grams of CO2 (which can grow up to 17g for longer threads). At approximately 347.3 billion emails sent every day (according to research by Zippia) - or roughly 4 million per second - the carbon footprint of email tennis starts to add up.


Reduce your agency's carbon footprint with some easy-to-implement tips and tricks that won’t pinch your pocket or slow down your workflows.



Get creative with your marketing creative


Videoweek recommends slashing your production costs by opting to use 3D models in your creatives (as opposed to full on video shoots) and keeping videos short-form. This will inevitably change the type of content you produce, but as a general rule of thumb, staying digital with your creative production reduces your overall carbon footprint.

Asset optimization is also a quick win for agencies: ensure files are small and universally accessible across applications (ie: PDF, SVG, png and jpeg for most tools). Of course, this offers other benefits, such as improving overall page performance to foster a better customer experience.

Lastly, get creative with word-of-mouth marketing. While it’s more difficult to measure than digital ads, word of mouth marketing impressions result in five times more sales than a paid media impression, and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend, according to Invespcro.


Take a public stand for climate change


If you think environmentalism is a competitive disadvantage, think again. Without necessary changes to the corporate landscape’s carbon footprint, there won’t be a competitive playfield to begin with.


There are numerous climate pledges you can enroll your agency into, including The Climate Pledge and Ad Net Zero, each with their own dedicated community of companies involved, as well as an action plan to cut down on carbon emissions.


On our end, we release an annual ESG report detailing our environmental impact (among other statements such as DEI and governance). Consider publishing an annual report of your own, and crystalize an action plan by starting with the end in mind that you want to achieve, then working backwards to devise a strategy to get your agency there.



Invest in carbon offsetting


Carbon offsetting is a way for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and support climate change mitigation efforts. It means investing in projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, including renewable energy projects, afforestation (planting trees), and energy-efficient building projects, or methane capture projects, among others.


Typically this is achieved through the purchase of carbon credits. A single carbon credit represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gas emissions that have been prevented or removed from the atmosphere by a project. By purchasing carbon credits, a business is essentially funding a project that reduces emissions elsewhere, which offsets the emissions produced by their own operations.


Carbon offsetting is not a solution to the climate crisis in and of itself, but it can be a useful tool for businesses that are working to reduce their carbon footprint. It allows them to take responsibility for their emissions and invest in projects that have a positive impact on the environment. However, it's important to note that carbon offsetting should not be seen as a substitute for reducing emissions at the source. The most effective way for agencies to address their carbon footprint is to reduce emissions as much as possible, and then offset the remainder.


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