Industry News

UK Advertising Launches Ad Net Zero

By Jess Browne-Swinburne

19 Nov 2020

The Advertising Association (AA), in partnership with the IPA and ISBA, has launched Ad Net Zero, an industry-wide initiative to help UK advertising respond to the climate crisis caused by CO2 emissions.

Ad Net Zero's mission is for immediate, collective industry action to help achieve real net zero carbon emissions from the development, production and media placement of advertising by the end of 2030. Individuals and companies seeking to support Ad Net Zero and make a real change to address the climate emergency should sign-up at the Ad Net Zero hub.

To mark the Ad Net Zero launch, the AA has published a report by its Climate Action Working Group with Credos, UK advertising's think tank, in which it estimates total UK agency operational CO2e emissions to exceed 84,000 tonnes a year. Credos estimates 42% of that comes from energy usage and 58% from business travel, with the biggest single contribution coming from flights. The industry as a whole could have a carbon footprint of nearer a million tons.

The report sets out Ad Net Zero's call-to-action through a 5-point plan:

  • Advertising businesses own operations: all companies commit to curtail their carbon emissions, principally by reducing travel, fossil energy and waste.
  • Advertising Production: advertisers, agencies and production companies commit to measuring and reducing their impacts with support from AdGreen.
  • Media Choice: media agencies commit to the IPA Media Futures Group Climate Charter, working with their clients to develop lower carbon media plans.
  • Awards and Events: organisers build sustainability criteria into awards, and plan events to minimise their carbon footprints, especially from travel.
  • Using Advertising's Positive Influence: agencies and clients harness the power of their advertising to promote more sustainable consumer choices and behaviours.

Keith Weed, President, Advertising Association, said: "The Climate Emergency is the biggest challenge we will face in our lifetimes, dwarfing the current COVID-19 crisis. Action is needed now, and for the long-term, to change the impact we are all having on the planet we live on. We need every company and individual in our industry to join us and become an active supporter of Ad Net Zero. Every single one of us has a role to play in ensuring our industry fulfils its responsibilities for future generations and help deliver a sustainable way of life for the 21st century and beyond."

Owen Meredith, PPA CEO, commented: “There is no greater threat to our world, and by definition our industry, than climate change. That is why the work undertaken by the AA on this issue is so important in helping lead us to a more sustainable and carbon-free future.”

The new report also recognises that concern over the climate emergency is shared across the advertising sector by individuals and companies alike. Some 71% of people working across the industry are worried about the negative impacts of the industry on the environment; more want their agencies to take climate action.

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