Cedara Helps Advertising Firms Track Their Carbon Footprint

The platform allows agencies to monitor Scope 3 emissions from publishers and other business partners.
Written by Jeff Rumage
December 15, 2022Updated: December 15, 2022
Cedara was co-founded by CEO David Shaw, left, and CTO Andrei Baragan.
Cedara was co-founded by CEO David Shaw (left) and CTO Andrei Baragan (right). | Image: Cedara / Built In

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About 35 percent of the companies on the Forbes 2000 have set a target year to reach net-zero carbon emissions, but reaching that mark requires not just an accounting of a company’s own emissions but also a reduction in Scope 3 emissions from vendors in its value chain.

To keep up with changing industry norms, companies across all industries are trying to get a handle on their greenhouse gas emissions, especially advertising, marketing and media companies that want to work with the world’s leading brands.

Cedara, a NYC startup founded in 2021, is using its knowledge of the advertising and media world to design a software that helps these companies account for their greenhouse gas emissions.

Cedara’s co-founders are CEO David Shaw, who previously led the software solutions division at adtech firm Teads, and CTO Andrei Baragan, who sold his adtech platform Brainient to Teads in 2016.

Cedara is initially focusing on helping advertisers because of its relationships and familiarity with the industry, but also because there is a demand to meet industry expectations. Major players in the U.K. advertising industry are leading the Ad Net Zero initiative to bring U.K. advertising operations to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. The initiative will soon expand to the U.S.

“We’re answering the need of getting that data so everyone understands what path needs to be taken, giving everyone the tools to become carbon neutral or net-zero, and for brands and agencies to have full business intelligence on the carbon impact across every single dollar spent,” Shaw said.

Cedara helps advertising and marketing agencies track their total emissions and break down that data by scope, media category, revenue and other factors. This allows agencies to track the emissions of their media vendors, data centers, events and business travel. This data can be broken down by marketing campaign and vendor.

We’re trying to help agencies and brands fully understand the carbon impacts across their investments.”

The local startup also gives a detailed look at participating vendors’ emissions data, including offsets purchased and when they last reported. Agencies can either input their vendors manually or sync their expenditure data from their accounting software systems.

“They can go in and see how company X is doing year-over-year,” Shaw said. “What’s their carbon intensity  — meaning for every dollar I give them, what’s my carbon output?” 

Advertising agencies often spend money with publishers, like magazines, websites and TV stations, making these businesses part of an agency’s Scope 3 emissions. If a large media organization already has emissions data, they can import it into Cedara to share with all of the agencies that spend money with them. If a publisher does not already have that data, Cedara’s tools can help benchmark or measure a publisher’s carbon footprint.

“We’re trying to help agencies and brands fully understand the carbon impacts across their investments,” Shaw said. “We will work with vendors like ad platforms and publishers and anyone else that’s tied to that dollar to aggregate their emissions data so brands and agencies can understand their actual impact.”

Cedara also has a marketplace where companies can buy carbon offsets, allowing companies to become carbon neutral by funding offsetting environmental projects, like creating a wind farm in India, planting trees in Kenya or capturing landfill gasses in Jordan. Cedara’s platform can also aggregate these climate projects into portfolios, so a company can allocate credits based on specific categories, like forestry or soil. Companies can also schedule recurring payments to ensure they remain carbon neutral.

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