Our Head of Customer Success, Platforms and Publishers, Guilherme Kfouri, shines a light on his role at Scope3, how his experiences have shaped his journey to decarbonizing digital advertising, and his unique perspective on the state of our industry.
This series offers a glimpse into the lives of the change makers at Scope3 and what drives them to create a more sustainable ad industry. (5 minute read)
What are your core responsibilities as Head of Customer Success?
I work closely with our partners to help them on their journey to carbon-neutral advertising. A lot of them are new to sustainability or are in the early stages of understanding the real challenges with emissions in advertising, so we work together to navigate the process. We want to empower our customers with the tools and knowledge they need to decarbonize as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
How has your experience led you to Scope3?
At the beginning of my career, I worked in commodities as a journalist. I gained insight into how goods travel around the world, and learned about supply chains and the complexity of the industry. Over time, I realized I wanted to work somewhere more in touch with my generation.
That thinking landed me in ad tech. It was fascinating to explore the inner workings of digital and the solutions powering the interconnected world we live in. It was also interesting to view the media industry through the lens of advertising, and the role it plays in funding high-quality journalism (a nice link to the early years of my career).
Right before joining Scope3, I worked at AppNexus with Brian and a few other Scope3 team members. Back then, sustainability wasn’t a critical consideration. I was stunned by the volume of activity in ad tech. Few industries operate at this scale, with such big numbers (trillions of ad requests monthly). And importantly, these numbers were huge compared to the active number of internet users globally.
Our industry has done great things for brands and for the internet, but it become somewhat disconnected from reality. How can we justify the current magnitude of ad requests that are generated on a daily basis when the number of ads served and the number of effective ads are comparatively much smaller? We needed to question the efficiency of ad tech.
Joining Scope3 felt aligned with my values and interests, combining tech with climate action. The climate change crisis affects all generations, but it will have to be solved by the current one. It’s fulfilling to work on a solution dedicated to solving this problem. Scope3’s ambition is refreshing and I love being part of this movement.
In a client’s journey to carbon neutrality, what are the issues that come up again and again?
Taking stock of the environmental impact of the industry and putting plans in place to reduce it can be quite destabilizing at first.
Ad tech has been operating largely the same way for the last decade and we are all used to how the system works. Introducing carbon to the equation can seem like a big – and daunting – change to digest. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s a case of working through the process and building knowledge around the topic, alongside pushing the need for each business in the supply change to collaborate and contribute the wider industry goals to reach net zero.
Are clients aware of the immediate need to fight climate change?
We’re getting there. And, along with most everyone else, I too was unaware of the impact that digital activity has on the physical world. I’m lucky to be able to raise awareness of the issue now and take our customers on this journey.
Most industries have focused on abolishing environmentally damaging practices from physical consumption. However, we need more awareness around the reality of digital emissions. In conversations with clients, the penny drops when we quantify digital-to-physical impacts, for example, sharing that a million digital ad impressions contributes the same carbon emissions as a flight from London to Boston.
Are there any myths about going net-zero that misguide organizations?
There’s a broad misconception that changing practices to drive net zero will disrupt business and threaten programmatic advertising. But this is about securing the future of our industry.
We encourage brands and agencies to start with the data, measure their carbon emissions and take small steps to change. Then, when brands become comfortable with new ways of working, they can accelerate efforts towards net zero goals.
Adding sustainability as a key component to campaign execution is really about reducing waste, which is never a bad thing.
What is your ambition for Scope3?
My ambition starts with driving awareness around digital advertising’s reality, and then quickly moving to action and systemic change. Change is inevitable, but it needs to happen quickly and it needs to involve radical collaboration between all parties. The challenge is reaching carbon neutrality together as an industry in a way that benefits all involved, so we can come out stronger on the other side.
What’s been the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
My best advice is: keep nurturing your curiosity, both as a professional and as an individual. We all have specific roles within a company and unique responsibilities to meet in our jobs, but having a broader set of interests in the industry you work in (and outside) is healthy and helps you become a better leader.
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