Tom Dunning, Founder and CEO at Ad Signal & Sustainability60 Judge Tells Us What He’s Looking For From Entrants

Tom, Tell us a bit about yourself


I founded Ad Signal in 2018 to address the need for fast, accurate and independent linear advertising tracking. But the company has become so much more. 

Our sustainable fingerprinting technology now underpins a suite of products designed to deeply understand the content you hold, saving cost and carbon in the process. We now work with the likes of Clearcast to oversee the UK’s TV advertising industry, streamlining the clearance process for adverts.

Increasingly digital sustainability has become a core focus at Ad Signal, focusing on areas such as the de-duplication of video content to reduce storage and consequently the strain on networks and data centres which are having a negative environmental impact.

I’ve since become co-founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance, a leading voice for innovative, sustainable technology practices and solutions, to raise awareness for the environmental impact of storing and computing the vast amount of digital data being generated across the world. 


Ad Signal


What are you looking for from entrants?


Sustainability is a broad area, so I’m looking for entrants to either showcase an innovative solution that addresses one specific issue that’s causing a big issue within the sustainability space, or one that helps to tackle macro issues such as digital sustainability. 

I’m also looking to see how entrants are utilising technology in their sustainability efforts, is it taking a sustainability first approach to tech development and implementation, a use of technology to help with carbon emissions reporting, or improving the fundamental ways of doing something in a more sustainable way. 



But beyond anything else, I’ll be looking for products that are commercially viable and realistic. Nice ideas are all well and good but to have a significant impact, we need solutions that will be adopted in the market. 

The people behind the company is also an important aspect. I want to see the passion that founders and leaders have for sustainable solutions. Given the importance of sustainability and the need to improve the track we’re on, passionate individuals driving change and progress are essential.


What advice would you give for companies looking to stand out from the crowd?


Innovative products and solutions are important, but I want to know about the sustainability issues that are going largely unnoticed and what companies are doing to tackle them.

Take digital sustainability as an example, there was virtually nothing mentioned at COP28 in the mainstream media on this topic. Yet network traffic and data centres account for up to 3.7 per cent of global CO2 emissions, more than the global aviation industry and this is going to rise exponentially if it’s left unchecked. So, I want to promote these hidden issues and the companies that are tackling them head on.