Sustainable advertising: growing reach while reducing carbon emissions 

Hanna Garrett
1 April, 24

Did you know that more than 50 percent of consumers would boycott a brand if it was found to have made misleading claims about its sustainability? The introduction of the European Union’s new legislation to prevent greenwashing highlights the continued pressure from consumers to ensure that brands’ environmental and sustainability practices align with their own values.

Greenwashing has a hugely negative impact on consumers’ trust in a brand and the EU’s new regulations are designed to ensure that consumers can feel confident in the products and services they are purchasing.

With a renewed focus on advertising content, now is the time for companies to consider the environmental impact of adverts themselves. Advertising is fundamental to a business’s marketing strategy to drive brand awareness but how can this be done in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way?

Digital advertising is often seen as a more environmentally friendly approach to promotion as it reduces the use of paper and plastic associated with traditional offline forms of advertising. However, according to CEPSA, one online advertising campaign generates 70 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. While the environmental impact of digital marketing is difficult to quantify, digital activities emit four percent of greenhouse gases.  

So, what approaches can a business adopt to ensure it continues to build brand awareness and connect with its customers while reducing the emissions associated with its advertising efforts?

  1. Compress the creatives – a smaller file size uses less energy to display. Opting for image-led carousels rather than videos can also reduce the energy required to display an advert
  2. Choose colours wisely – using colours such as reds and yellows uses less energy compared to blues and purples. Devices with OLED screens save energy when using black, so the more black used in a design reduces the number of LED lights used to display the advert. This, in turn, reduces the energy required to display the advert. Likewise, blurring the background of an image or using a duotone can decrease emissions by reducing the amount of detail that needs to be shown
  3. Repurpose content – not only will this limit the carbon emissions associated with travelling for photography or filming, it will reduce the emissions created during the process of developing creative assets by removing the need to create new content. Mars has recently reused high-performing advert creatives in its Healthy Planet Productions campaign; one step towards achieving its goal of Net Zero Emissions by 2050
  4. Offset carbon emissions – offsetting isn’t a solution to climate change but investing in carbon offset projects can help neutralise the emissions associated with digital advertising, making it more sustainable in the long term

Changes don’t need to be sweeping to have a big impact. Companies can continue to reach their target audiences while reducing the environmental impact of their digital adverts by making small changes to the development and distribution of these adverts – one small step for a business, one giant leap for the planet.  

Related posts


Latest posts