Sarah is an Media Planner/Buyer at Vovia. She loves to keep busy with her family, playing softball, hiking, and running the occasional half-marathon for good measure.

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Embracing Sustainability in Your Advertising Campaigns

Earth Day is upon us and for advertisers and media partners alike, today represents an opportunity to showcase our industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability through advertising campaigns. There are a number of ways in which brands can work towards sustainability in executing advertising campaigns. We dig into these below and cover some challenges that brands and advertisers often encounter, plus details on how our media partners are focusing on environmental sustainability.

How can we be more sustainable when running a campaign?

Advertisers and media partners can adopt several strategies to make their campaigns more sustainable:

Prioritize Digital Advertising Formats
Digital ads have a lower environmental impact compared to traditional print ads. Advertisers can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and waste by focusing on digital channels like social media, display ads, and video ads.

Leverage Energy-Efficient Technologies
For digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, using energy-efficient LED screens and renewable energy sources to power the displays can help to reduce the environmental impact. Optimizing video content for OOH placements can also help to reduce data transmission and storage requirements.

Measure and Offset Carbon Emissions
Advertisers should aim to measure the carbon emissions associated with their campaigns and take steps to offset them.

Partner with Sustainable Suppliers
Advertisers can work with socially responsible suppliers that prioritize sustainability, such as those offering eco-friendly materials, green packaging, and energy-efficient services.

Promote Sustainable Messaging
Brands can incorporate sustainability messaging into ad creative to raise awareness and encourage eco-conscious behaviour among consumers. Highlighting the brand’s own sustainability efforts will help build authenticity with the audience. Earth Day campaigns, for example, can incorporate cause-related marketing strategies, where a portion of sales or profits is donated to environmental organizations or initiatives. This not only demonstrates corporate social responsibility but also fosters customer loyalty and goodwill.

By implementing these strategies, advertisers can significantly reduce the environmental impact of their campaigns while appealing to environmentally conscious consumers and building brand equity.

What are some challenges with trying to be more environmentally sustainable from an advertising perspective?

Digital Advertising
While prioritizing digital ad campaigns seems like an obvious way to be more environmentally friendly, it is important to remember that digital advertising still has an environmental impact. For example, ‘made for advertising’ sites carry a heavier carbon load because of the high ad weight of their numerous ad placements compared to websites with fewer placements available. Regular placement exclusion through optimization and purchasing quality over quantity impressions can be a pathway to more sustainable marketing in this regard.

Well-optimized websites and creatives also lead to better sustainability because less energy is required to store and load them. Controlling the number of ad variants can help alleviate wasted production and digital storage.

Out of Home – Print vs. Digital
Digital billboards are generally less environmentally friendly than traditional printed billboard posters due to the amount of electricity required to power their LED screens and cooling systems, contributing to higher energy usage and carbon emissions. Digital billboards also contribute to light pollution in urban areas.

In contrast, printed billboards rely on natural light during the day and do not require constant power, other than lighting systems to keep them visible at night. While digital billboards allow easy creative updates without having to reprint posters, the production and disposal of printed billboards generate waste from paper, inks, adhesives, etc. Despite this, the waste from printed posters is relatively minimal compared to the ongoing energy consumption of digital billboards. Printed billboards use materials like paper and vinyl which are easily recycled.

Overall, while both billboard types have environmental impacts, the continuous energy demands from digital billboards make them less eco-friendly than traditional printed billboards that rely more on recyclable materials and natural light.

What are some of our media partners doing?

Many of the media partners Vovia works with on a regular basis participate in various sustainability efforts, and not only as it relates to advertising! We’ve included a few notable examples below, including links to find out more details on what they are doing.

Post Media

Postmedia participates in a number of initiatives to ensure that they are promoting environmentally friendly practices in their day-to-day operations.

  • One such program is race2reduce, which encourages participating companies to reduce operating costs and improve their energy efficiency. They compete in a close-matched peer group with industry-wide recognition available for the top performers.
  • Read more here


Equativ has collaborated with Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit organization that supports the restoration of healthy forests by employing local villagers from around the world based on the campaign impressions with media agency partners.

  • They plant one mangrove in Haiti per 30,000 impressions. To date, the team has planted over 750,000 trees since the start of the project in 2020.
  • Read more here

Pattison Outdoor

Pattison Outdoor participates in numerous activities to support sustainability:

  • Blackout all digital boards for an hour for Earth Hour, with LED screens turned off. This took place Mar 23rd, 2024 and they’ve done this for many years prior.
  • Their ESG team/committee grew by 40% in 2024 with a commitment to produce a corporate year-end ESG report in 2025.
  • In their 2nd year for the PATTISON Day of Giving they had 50% more participation company-wide year over year. The Day of Giving is an opportunity for Pattison employees to spend a workday giving back to their communities. Last year saw over 100 employees participate across the country. Environmental activities included park and river clean-up, tree planting, community gardening and food sorting at food banks.


OUTEDGE maintains various initiatives supporting their ongoing commitment to working in an
environmentally responsible manner. Of note:

  • Their bullfrogpoweredTM signs in Toronto generate over 700 MWh of green energy credits annually.
  • 650+ of OUTEDGE transit shelters across Canada are solar-powered.
  • Vegetable-based inks are used in lithography, and billboards use a reinforced vinyl that weighs 7 oz, a substantial reduction in weight and waste from the 13oz standard that was previously used.

Bell Media

Bell Media Calgary have been active in reducing their carbon footprint. Recently they have gone to solar power at their remote transmitter site that services the Canmore and Banff area. This site returns energy to the grid.

  • At the station in Calgary they have converted their studio lighting to LED and have office LED lighting upgrades planned. Further energy-reducing projects are planned for the coming years.


Corus undertakes many tangible environmental practices at its facilities across the country, including:

  • Four of their office locations are in LEED®-certified buildings.
  • 96% of their sites have filtered water stations to help reduce individual plastic water bottle use and 77% of their sites use digital workflows to save on printing and paper.
  • Completion of full or partial LED lighting retrofits in nine of their owned sites with seven of those locations completed in 2023.
  • Read more here

Looking Forward

Working towards increased environmental sustainability is a constant work in progress and our industry is still learning in this space. Earth Day serves as a reminder that we have come a long way and have a long way to go, but our progress is encouraging. As long as we keep sustainability top of mind as we plan and execute advertising campaigns, we can make a positive impact.