UK’s advertising sector charts course to net-zero by 2030

Industry specialist Jo Coombes and strategy advisor Tricia Duffy spearheaded the creation of the framework

Called Ad Net Zero, the scheme is being delivered as part of a partnership between the Association, IBSA and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

It helps companies to adopt a five-point framework for reaching net-zero 20 years ahead of the UK Government’s national target, comprised by the Association’s Climate Working Action Group. Representatives from the likes of Unilever, The Guardian and Sky – which all have net-zero targets – sit on the Group.

The framework takes into account the fact that the main sources of emissions for the average advertising agency will be business travel and energy use – both in terms of heating, cooling and lighting offices, and working on-set.

It contains best-practice advice on reducing emissions from these sources through investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and remote working technology. Companies will also need to tackle emissions from waste.

Also detailed are measures to develop sustainability criteria for events and awards shows, and for advertisers to use their reach to change sustainability narratives. To the latter point, the Association believes the industry can play a key role in changing consumer behaviours and challenging misconceptions around tackling environmental issues.

By signing up to the framework, agencies and production companies will commit to undertaking all of these actions, and to measure and disclose their environmental impacts.

“The climate emergency is the biggest challenge we will face in our lifetimes, dwarfing the current Covid-19 crisis,” Advertising Association president Keith Weed said.

“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 to future generations and help deliver a sustainable way of life for the 21st century and beyond.”

The launch of the framework comes shortly after media and communications giant Dentsu International set a 2030 net-zero target of its own. The firm has set 1.5C-aligned Science-Based Targets to support the delivery of this vision.

Sarah George

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