Top brands sign as UK Ad Net Zero crusade goes global

ADNETZERO_1The bosses of many of the world’s largest advertisers and trade bodies have pledged to follow the UK industry’s lead on the environment and will roll out the Ad Net Zero programme internationally to major markets.

Marketing agency groups Dentsu International, Havas, Interpublic Group, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP, along with Unilever, Google, Meta, and Sky have already signed up.

They will be supported by US trade bodies, ANA, 4A’s and the IAB, along with the WFA representing global advertisers, European and global agency associations EACA and Voxcomm, and the IAA to extend the Ad Net Zero programme from the UK internationally.

Ascential, owner of the Cannes Lions, has played a major role in convening this international action to tackle the climate emergency. The group has issued an invitation to more organisations with international reach to join and help support the plans for the roll-out.

The Ad Net Zero programme was launched in the UK in November 2020 by the Advertising Association, ISBA and the IPA, and counts over 100 advertisers, agencies, commercial media owners and production companies in its membership.

All the partners in the global coalition are supporters in the UK and are committed to build plans to extend Ad Net Zero into other markets.

The focus of the new Ad Net Zero group will be to rapidly establish plans for roll-out in major advertising markets with immediate focus on the US and the EU, working in partnership with the UK team.

The next update will be presented at the Ad Net Zero Global Summit which will take place online on November 9 and 10, alongside COP27. Going forward, progress will be shared and discussed at Cannes Lions each summer and the Global Summit each November, in line with the COP event, to maintain momentum during the decade.

The Ad Net Zero 5-point action plan pledges to reduce the carbon emissions from UK advertising operations to net zero by 2030, with businesses committing to robust, verified plans to reduce their emissions.

It also pledges to use the power of advertising to accelerate the switch to more sustainable products and services for consumers.

The UK programme provides a roadmap for development in other markets, with the flexibility to adapt and develop-market specific solutions. It offers tools readily available internationally, like the AdGreen carbon calculator to help to measure and reduce emissions from advertising production.

Lions chairman Phil Thomas said: “The UK Advertising Association have worked tirelessly to create Ad Net Zero, which has huge support from the UK industry, and we are delighted to partner with them to bring this critical initiative to Cannes Lions in order to gather together global players to commit to its simple but powerful aim: of all ads being net zero by 2030. Nothing could be more important for our industry.”

Unilever chief brand officer and chief equity chief, diversity and inclusion officer Aline Santos added: “Unilever is committed to reducing emissions to zero within our own operations by 2030 and to net zero across our value chain by 2039, with the first priority being to reduce emissions in line with the 1.5 degree ambition of the Paris Agreement.

“Everything our brands do, and that our partners do on behalf of our brands, needs to be totally consistent with this aim. As a founding member of Ad Net Zero in the UK, we look forward to the opportunity to apply the learnings and best practices from the UK pilot to shape its global roll out with the wider industry.”

The global advertising industry, as measured by advertising media investment, was worth $594,322bn in 2020. The top 20 advertising markets account for 89.3% of this spend and these markets will be the focus for the rollout of the programme following the US and Europe.

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