Dentsu pilots tool to manage media industry’s digital carbon footprint
DIMPACT, the pioneering initiative to help the digital media industry map and manage its carbon impacts, is moving beyond proof of concept.
Following a 12-month pilot phase, where computer science researchers from the University of Bristol collaborated with dentsu international and some of the world’s most innovative media companies, the DIMPACT web app is now operational with a clear path for further development.
Today’s announcement sees the culmination of 12 month’s work from the founding participants who joined forces in 2019 to launch DIMPACT, facilitated by sustainability experts Carnstone. DIMPACT is a web-based tool that calculates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with serving media content – downstream from the point of content production, including the end user.
DIMPACT has successfully created four modules covering digital video streaming, publishing, advertising services, and business intelligence, with gaming and music streaming modules next on the agenda.
Dentsu’s collaboration with DIMPACT is part of a wider workstream to interrogate the emissions associated with the placement of digital advertising on behalf of its clients. By working with media and technology partners, dentsu is building an accurate picture of the emissions resulting from the use of different digital media types.
This will allow dentsu to assess the carbon impact of a client’s digital media strategy and support them to select lower carbon alternatives. This work will provide transparent data for reporting and decision making, supporting others on their journey to Net Zero and best in class climate disclosure.
And the DIMPACT collaboration is growing as BT, Cambridge University Press, and Netflix have now joined founding participants BBC, dentsu international, Informa, ITV, Pearson, RELX, Schibsted and Sky. DIMPACT has engaged the Carbon Trust for an independent validation of the model underpinning the tool, and to establish the carbon impact of media streaming. The findings will be published in a white paper in the spring.
Anna Lungley, Chief Sustainability Officer, dentsu international: “At dentsu we recognise the role we play in helping our clients decarbonise their digital advertising. But quantifying the carbon emissions associated with digital media has been historically a complex and challenging exercise, with little accurate data to verify calculations. Our collaboration with Bristol University, Carnstone and some of the world’s most innovative media companies has helped create a tool we hope will help the media and advertising industry play its part in reducing the carbon impact of content”.
Dr Daniel Schien, Department of Computer Science, Bristol: “It is rare to see an initiative that combines cutting-edge academic research with real-world impacts to such a degree as DIMPACT. We have seen our research and modelling skills translated into meaningful results for a whole industry. We expect this technology to go far, as we have only just started. Internationalisation, forecasting, validation and increasing the scope are the focus areas that will drive the next phase of development.
In 2020, dentsu became the first advertising holding company to commit to Net Zero emissions by 2030, underpinned by an approved science-based target set in line with a 1.5oC warming scenario, the highest level of climate ambition.
Dentsu has also joined Ad Net Zero, an initiative that brings together major players in the advertising sector to reduce the carbon impact of the UK advertising industry to real net zero. This means achieving zero emissions without offsetting any residual emissions. In 2020 dentsu became the first in their industry to be powered by 100% renewable energy and achieved an A- rating by CDP for the second year running.
Dentsu International CEO, Wendy Clark, is also a member of The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of CEOs who see the business benefits of bold and proactive action to ensure a smooth transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.