Sanofi Shares How It’s Working to Reduce Carbon Emissions in Media


The issue of media decarbonization has been increasingly buzzy, but many brands and agencies have trouble finding the best measurement paradigm to reduce the carbon impact of their media spend, and even more advertisers don’t even know how to start connecting carbon to advertising, according to previous Adweek reporting.

At Adweek’s NexTech event Nov. 15, pharmaceutical company Sanofi shared how and why they’re making their media buying processes greener.

“The biggest impact of carbon emissions on the planet is impacting people’s health,” said Prasad Ghag, global head of media, digital and strategic planning at Sanofi. “That goes hand and hand with what Sanofi is trying to do with healthcare products.”

Sanofi partnered with carbon intelligence platform Cedara to measure the carbon emissions of its media partners. Using Cedara’s data, Sanofi was able to bucket publishers into four quadrants, based on high to low carbon emissions and high to low campaign performance.

“Low performance, high carbon, all these publishers need to get out of my plan,” said Ghag. “High performance, low carbon, I need to move my investments there.”

Ghag noted that Cedara’s findings showed Sanofi how the company could reduce its carbon impact by 10%-15% and improve effiency by 20%.

Cedara is working to make carbon emissions data more integrated into media buying—last month, Cedara announced a partnership with supply side platform OpenX, which will allow brands to access automated emissions measurement on campaigns.

“You can’t reduce what you can’t measure,” said Eric Shih, chief operating officer of Cedara.

Sanofi was particularly motivated to undertake media decarbonization efforts after learning the carbon impact of the advertising industry, citing figures that 32% of a consumer’s carbon footprint comes from advertising. A 2022 report from Purpose Disruptors reported this figure for U.K. consumers.

“When we look at the volume of impressions that we do, it’s a huge problem,” Ghag said.

Ghag said that avoiding publishers that emit high amounts of carbon is not only good for the planet, but it can improve other advertising goals, an argument long made by media decarbonization advocates.

Made for advertising websites—spammy, click-bait publishers that are designed more to attract ad revenue than serve readers started this summer, but Ghag said Sanofi were aware of the MFA problem over a year ago by partnering with Cedara. MFA websites were also high carbon emitters, Ghag said, meaning Sanofi could avoid long-tail, surface-level impressions while making progress toward the company’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045.

“There was no technology that could measure MFA until we started to measure the activity with carbon,” Ghag said.

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