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Advertising industry launches Ad Net Zero

18 Nov 2020  |  Mike Fletcher 
Advertising industry launches Ad Net Zero

The Advertising Association (AA), in partnership with the IPA and ISBA, has launched Ad Net Zero, an 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.

To mark the Ad Net Zero launch, the AA has published a report by its Climate Action Working Group with Credos, a UK advertising think-tank, in which it estimates that UK agency operational CO2 emissions will exceed 84,000 tons a year.

Credos predicts that 42% will come from energy usage and 58% from business travel, with the biggest single contribution coming from flights. On the same basis, the industry as a whole could have a carbon footprint of almost a million tons.

The report also sets out Ad Net Zero’s call-to-action through a five-point plan:

  1. Advertising businesses’ own operations: all companies commit to curtail their carbon emissions, principally by reducing travel, fossil energy use and waste.

  2. Advertising Production: advertisers, agencies and production companies commit to measuring and reducing their impacts with support from AdGreen.

  3. Media Choice: media agencies commit to the IPA Media Futures Group Climate Charter, working with their clients to develop lower carbon media plans.

  4. Awards and Events: organisers build sustainability criteria into awards, and plan events to minimise their carbon footprints, especially from travel.

  5. Using Advertising’s Positive Influence: agencies and clients harness the power of their advertising to promote more sustainable consumer choices and behaviours.


Credos’ James Best, chair of the Climate Action Working Group, said: “People across our sector want advertising to be part of the solution to the climate crisis, through the role it can play in influencing corporate policy and consumer behaviour, helping people make more sustainable choices in what they buy, use and do. Our research has shown that for nine out of ten advertising professionals, knowing their organisation is taking climate action would improve their job satisfaction.”

Ad Net Zero is the result of work by leaders in companies including Unilever, Sky, The Guardian, adam&eveDDB, APA, W&K, Credos, PPA, Iris, Adjust Your Set, PRCA, The Marketing Society, The Marketing Academy and Mindshare. The Ad Net Zero brand was developed for the industry pro-bono by design studio, King Henry, and Adam&eveDDB.

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.

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