37. Scope3

Company: Scope3

Founders: Brian O’Kelley, Anne Coghlan, Michael Freyberger and Emma Mulitz

Website: https://scope3.com/

About Scope3


Scope3 exists to decarbonise the media and advertising industry. The company has built a comprehensive emissions model of the entire ad ecosystem that enables businesses to first precisely measure the carbon emissions of their advertising activity, and then, take action to reduce that number.

Founded in 2021 by CEO Brian O’Kelley, Scope3 was actually created in part to clean up the mess born from the idea that earned him the industry designation ‘godfather of ad tech.’

At AppNexus, the company he founded in 2007, O’Kelley invented the technology that powers today’s $680 billion digital ad industry. After selling AppNexus to AT&T for $1.6B, he left advertising briefly before being pulled back in by a humbling realisation: his biggest success was contributing to a major global problem, the climate crisis.

Brian (along with the other soon-to-be Scope3 co-founders) had been working at a start-up called WayBridge that sought to make the supply chain for raw materials more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. The team applied those learnings to what they knew about digital supply chains in ad tech, and were shocked by the truth.

Turning their ‘back of the napkin’ maths into a fully functioning methodology and model (pressure tested by ad experts and climate scientists alike), they discovered that just one slice of the digital ad ecosystem, programmatic, contributed multiple millions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year – equivalent to the yearly electricity use of 1.4 million households.

That model is now the foundation of the Scope3 business, and the engine that powers the company’s mission to create products that will decarbonise all of advertising.

Two years later, Scope3 is now valued at $100M following a $20M Series B raise in October 2023. The funding has been used to continue developing the company’s collaborative sustainability platform (CSP), where global brands can explore sustainability information and emissions data for websites, mobile apps and tech providers, to find opportunities to reduce their emissions.

Serving both buyers and sellers of advertising, Scope3 also helps media owners understand their emissions and implement changes. After seeing the data, one top 100 global publisher worked with Scope3 to reduce its emissions by 70%. A global advertiser, Sanofi, reduced carbon emissions from their digital campaigns upwards of 56%.

Digital advertising is an incredibly complex and interconnected landscape, and Scope3’s emissions model accounts for every single realm of it – including programmatic, social, digital out-of-home, creative production, ad formats, and more.

It is built on granular, comprehensive and dynamic emissions data with contributed data from industry participants to maximise actuary. This collaborative approach is what allows Scope3 to provide clear guidance to the industry on how exactly we must shift operational practices to reduce our collective impact on the climate.

With Scope3 leading from the front and supporting the industry in this movement, advertising is poised to meet its goal to achieve a sustainable, net zero future.



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