CSR: The Core Element for Sustainable Digital Advertising

11
March
2024
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5
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In today's digital world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has quickly transitioned from a must-have to a core element of corporate strategy.

As we navigate through 2024, a year marked by regulatory changes such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) for European territories, the push for companies to integrate sustainable practices into their business models has never been more urgent. This shift is not just regulatory; it is a response to a growing consumer demand for ethical, environmentally conscious brands. 

In this article, discover how CSR shapes sustainable digital advertising by adopting responsible practices, using AI, and complying with CSRD regulations, highlighting its critical importance for the industry.

Embracing Sustainability in Advertising: A Necessity, Not a Choice

Imagine this: the advertising sector in France alone is responsible for 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, accounting for 2% of the country's total emissions. On a global scale, digital's contribution to CO2 emissions stands at 5.5%, likely to double by 2025, proving that a sustainable overhaul is undeniable. 

So, what does CSR stand for in the world of digital advertising? It signifies a brand's dedication to more than just sales; it's about selling with responsibility. It involves developing advertising strategies that aren't just impactful but also eco-responsable. At its heart, the strategy focuses on creating digital campaigns that lower environmental impact and carbon footprint as much as possible, encourage ethical content production, and back efforts that lead to positive societal changes.  

Understanding What Consumers Really Want

The latest findings from The Rise of Sustainable Media Report are eye-opening: 91% of consumers now expect brands to help them make more responsible choices. This shift goes beyond traditional product or service offerings; consumers seek meaningful engagement and advice on reducing their environmental impact. In this context, brands aren't just seen as vendors anymore; they're viewed as essential partners in creating a more sustainable tomorrow. With 88% of consumers inclined towards sustainable purchases, it's clear that brands need to adopt a communicative strategy that prioritizes environmental consciousness.

The Challenge of Digital Advertising: Reducing Carbon Footprint

As the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) regulations tighten in France, the digital advertising industry faces a big challenge: measuring and ultimately cutting down its carbon footprint. This directive is a game-changer, pushing for greater transparency by expanding non-financial disclosures. It gives everyone, from investors to everyday consumers, a clearer view of a company's performance in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects. 

Moreover, the CSRD is taking a firm stand against "greenwashing" by setting strict guidelines for reporting. Companies must accurately reflect their sustainability efforts, offering an accurate picture of their impact and progress. With key dates extending from January 2025 for listed companies in European markets to January 2028 for non-European companies with significant turnover, the timeline gives businesses a clear framework to prepare and adapt their reporting practices. (Source: Directive CSRD: Obligations et entreprises concernées, 2023 / The evolution of NFRD to CSRD, 2023)

The industry also challenges adopting a unified, reliable measurement method to reduce the effects. This challenge, however, also presents an opportunity for advertisers to lead the way in sustainable marketing practices. The initial step is to estimate the impact of both digital activities (OWNED environment: corporate websites, e-commerce sites, mobile apps, social media) and media campaigns (PAID environment). Then, by re-evaluating and reducing the environmental impact of the campaigns, from creation to distribution, advertisers can contribute to a more sustainable advertising ecosystem. Therefore, advertisers should adopt a holistic approach, encompassing everything from creative content to media planning, ensuring that each advertising facet is aligned with broader CSR goals.

Leveraging AI for Sustainable Advertising

The trend toward using artificial intelligence (AI) in digital advertising opens up a world where efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand. AI's capability to optimize marketing campaigns not only boosts effectiveness but is also a tool to reduce the environmental footprint. Artificial intelligence (AI) offers tools to enhance the efficiency of marketing campaigns while minimizing their energy consumption and carbon footprint. This aligns with the strategic CSR action points, such as reducing diffusion numbers and optimizing digital ad formats, to ensure a minimal environmental impact without compromising campaign effectiveness. 

In conclusion, the journey towards a more responsible and sustainable industry is not just a trend but a must in how businesses operate and connect with their audiences. Integrating CSR into digital advertising strategies is a powerful testament to the industry's ability to innovate and adapt to today's environmental challenges and evolving consumer expectations. By embracing sustainable practices, leveraging technology like AI, and adhering to regulations like the CSRD, advertisers are not only enhancing their brand image but are also contributing to a more sustainable future for all.

“Advertising has the potential to be a powerful vector of change in addressing our environmental and societal challenges. By integrating innovative strategies, skills, and partnerships, we aim to contribute to this essential transformation!“
Jean-François Zirger, CSR Director

At Gamned!, we're not just talking about making a change; we're actively engaged in pioneering practices to deploy campaigns with significantly reduced carbon footprints.

Are you looking to make your next digital advertising campaign impactful and sustainable? Reach out to a Gamned! expert today and tell us about your project.

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