Reconciling Media Performance with Carbon Reduction: Learnings from Sanofi’s Journey

Céline Craipeau

VP Sustainability

"Every fraction of a degree matters," wrote Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United States, emphasizing that each small change can impact hundreds of millions of lives, allowing people to live in decent and peaceful conditions. Answering his call, it’s imperative for us all to reduce as many tons of CO2e emissions as possible. The good news for marketers is that there are plenty of opportunities for us to save emissions within our digital media-buying plans.

In our recent webinar, ‘Reconciling Media Performance with Carbon Reduction: Sanofi’s Journey', we discussed with industry leading speakers Scope 3 and Sanofi how we can make a difference with carbon measurement and reduction.

  • Prasad Ghag, Global Head of Media at Sanofi, shares the brand’s journey to becoming a more sustainable and responsible advertiser, highlighting how the brand uses paid media and considers the planet and people in their media plan. Sanofi is dedicated to aligning business performance with a positive impact on the planet and people’s lives. 
  • Anne Coghlan, co-founder (along with Brian O'Kelley) and COO of Scope 3, leads the company’s mission to decarbonize media and advertising. Scope 3 is a pioneer in paid media CO₂ measurement and reduction and Anne shares how as a technology partner they can bring solutions to some of the challenges brands face when it comes to measuring emissions in digital advertising.
  • Kevin Geffray, VP of Paid Media at Jellyfish, works closely with Céline Craipeau, VP of Sustainability and our J+ Technology teams to ensure we implement the right J4 Sustainability solutions for our clients to effectively reduce carbon emissions while improving media performances.

Key Takeaways:

Don't be afraid to be a pioneer in your company:

  • In most companies, greenhouse gasses (GHG) from marketing activities are not scrutinized by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) teams. These emissions usually fall outside the carbon accountability that mostly focuses on Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
  • However, that does not mean that marketing teams should accept the status quo - in fact, Prasad Ghag thought the exact opposite when he brought this up at Sanofi: “media-buying has a tremendous carbon footprint that people tend to forget about because digital is deemed to be fully immaterial.”
  • “Starting your journey might be frightening but it will only add purpose to your job,” said Anne Coghlan; unlike other industries, we have the ability to make instant changes to our media plans that will reflect quickly on carbon emissions.
  • And if you need to build a case for yourself, Prasad's advice is to have a look at the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Global Media Charter 2023 that highlights the necessity to build more responsible media practices.

Aim big, start small, find the right partners:

  • Sanofi's carbon reporting now encompasses 35 markets and connects to 7 different media platforms across programmatic and paid social.
  • But Rome wasn't built in one day - it actually took Sanofi more than a year to go from their first analysis on a handful of campaigns to running carbon measurement 24/7.
  • Prasad and his team tested out several carbon measurement partners before choosing Scope 3 which met their requirement in terms of granularity, operability and transparency.
  • And when they were ready to scale, they turned to Jellyfish to design and develop the complete technical infrastructure and user interface.

Sustainable media strategy is usually high quality:

  • When Sanofi started its journey, Prasad and his team feared to lose efficiency but they actually discovered an efficient way to reconcile all objectives: excluding Made for Advertising websites (MFAs) from their diffusion.
  • To benefit from this kind of win-win optimizations at scale, Jellyfish developed an algorithm called J+Bidding for Climate, shared Kevin, that manages to reduce CO₂ per impression by up to 30% while improving performances.
  • Prasad is now convinced that sustainability should be an integral pillar of every brand media strategy with actionable KPIs because it will bring better business outcomes.

In Conclusion

This discussion highlights that although huge efforts are required from the digital media industry to make an impact, companies have no excuse not to begin taking action immediately. Start by selecting partners to work with who are committed to responsibility and sustainability. 

Anne Coghlan highlighted that measuring the carbon footprint of paid media is a crucial first step towards sustainability, but the real challenge lies in effectively reducing these carbon emissions. Take a look at the Global Media Charter 2023 that highlights the main priorities global advertisers need to tackle over the next 3-5 years to work towards a more sustainable media ecosystem.

Watch the webinar

Webinar: Reconciling Media Performance with Carbon Reduction: Learnings from Sanofi’s Journey. With guest speakers from Jellyfish, Scope 3 and Sanofi.

Watch the webinar

Webinar: Reconciling Media Performance with Carbon Reduction: Learnings from Sanofi’s Journey. With guest speakers from Jellyfish, Scope 3 and Sanofi.