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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

The OpenX Path to Net-Zero

Entered in Technology


Organizations are looking for ways to improve their Scope 1 (direct), 2 (indirect), and 3 (business activity) emissions. At a corporate level, reducing emissions requires changes to parts of the business including the supply chain, product production and capital investments, which includes warehouses, offices and factories. 

The adtech industry is particularly relevant in relation to reducing Scope 3 emissions. Companies work with a host of tech companies, data providers and agencies, etc., which are all connected through integrations and data transfer in the media buying and selling process. This means the entire industry is under scrutiny to become more sustainable.

Carbon emissions occur at different parts of the digital supply chain. Recent analysts from the company SeenThis estimate that 1GB of data generated from digital advertising is the equivalent of 1 kg of CO2 emissions.


With that calculation, consider that a global advertiser that buys 40 billion impressions of programmatic advertising each year would emit approximately 8,000 tons of CO2 annually just from these ad campaigns. That’s equivalent to the CO2 emissions generated from the production of over 200 million plastic bags.

The “OpenX Path to Net-Zero” was created to effect a transformational reduction of carbon emissions within OpenX as well as to significantly lower the carbon footprint of programmatic advertising. A key objective of the OpenX Path to Net-Zero is to encourage other companies to embrace both global standards as well as transparent reporting.

Strategy and Execution

To motivate the industry to report their emissions, OpenX had a goal of meeting its Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) targets and reducing emissions by 90 percent by 2027 from a base reporting year of 2018, when OpenX began reporting emissions.


In addition, OpenX set out to achieve its Net-Zero targets for the second year in a row and to be re-certified as CarbonNeutral® by Climate Impact Partners. By committing to transparent sharing and third-party verification of emissions, 


Finally, OpenX sought out recognition for its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction efforts as its commitment to third-party verification. This data is crucial, as it enables OpenX to track its climate initiatives and GHG reductions credibly over time. 


Real change comes from transparency, strategy, and process, which is how OpenX achieved its Path to Net-Zero objectives. As a pioneering leader in advertising technology processing more than 300 billion ad requests every day, OpenX is committed to transparent measurement, disclosure and education for both employees and the broader community and industry. 


A critical part of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Net-Zero Standard is to include significant emissions across a company’s value chain. In the case of digital ad exchanges, the greatest energy expenditure occurs through the use of an ad marketplace; therefore it is important that the associated emissions are also inventoried, verified, reduced, and offset as OpenX has done by having every key aspect of its actual performance verified by reputable third parties. With this achievement, OpenX possesses a distinctly differentiated and more strategically compelling offer to web publishers and advertisers than other exchanges. 


Led by employee advocates, OpenX’ internal "Climate Consulting Group" meets weekly to discuss corporate initiatives, products, and how to engage both employees and external partners on sustainability through educational opportunities such as lunch and learns, sustainability workshops and more.


To advance and encourage transparent sustainability in the ad tech industry, OpenX has hosted sustainability panels at Cannes Lions, is an active member of the ANA Sustainability Committee, and is a member of Ad Net Zero, actively partnering together on content. 


In support of OpenX’s long-term effort to significantly lower the carbon footprint of programmatic advertising, the company entered a partnership with Scope3, a leader in supply chain emissions data. Through this partnership, OpenX offers Green Xchange Packages, which leverage Scope3 to measure and compensate for carbon emissions. In turn, this provides marketers looking to reduce their emissions footprint with the lowest-carbon path to premium supply. 


OpenX continues to share its sustainability story to encourage every company in the advertising ecosystem to measure and report their emissions so that we can collectively make strides toward a more sustainable future. This places the company at the forefront of partners that can help marketers meet their own organizations’ sustainability goals and help lead ad tech to a more sustainable future.



Building on OpenX’s 2022 achievement of being the first supply-side platform to be independently certified as carbon neutral, the organization has reached several key milestones in the judging period.


As of February 2023, OpenX is the first and only company in the advertising, technology, and media sectors to receive independent verification that it has met the key requirements of the Net-Zero Standard established by the SBTi. OpenX’s reduction is now 95%, from a base year of 2018. This reduction is due to several factors, including a holistic multi-year effort to move from on-premises data centers to an energy-efficient cloud-based platform using renewable energy, reduced office space, the implementation of a remote-first work policy, as well as a general revision of the business travel.


In April 2023, Climate Registry, a leading voluntary registry for GHG emissions, announced that OpenX was awarded Climate Registered™ All Star status. All Star status is the highest level of recognition from the organization, a distinction only eight other companies in the world have achieved for their transparent measurement, public reporting, and reduction of emissions.

In June 2023, OpenX announced that it achieved its Net-Zero targets for the second year in a row. This was in conjunction with the reporting of the company's 2022 GHG inventory conducted by third-party environmental consultancy firm Cameron-Cole. At the same time, OpenX was re-certified as CarbonNeutral® by Climate Impact Partners.


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