Report Reveals Ad Industry Falls Far Short of Achieving Net-Zero Goals

Report Reveals Ad Industry Falls Far Short of Achieving Net-Zero Goals

The ad industry is falling short of achieving net-zero goals, with agencies and production companies slow to adopt standards, causing a ripple effect throughout the mar-com supply chain

Article Brief:

A recently published review of the global climate action program's U.S., U.K., and global supporter base indicates that the advertising industry's attempts to minimize its carbon footprint are yielding inconsistent outcomes, as highlighted by Ad Net Zero.

According to the report, all tech platforms have established net-zero and near-term reduction targets, as indicated by publicly available information and insights from Ad Net Zero's supporters. Additionally, 88% of participating advertisers have set net-zero targets, while all have set near-term targets.

In contrast, only 35% of supporting creative and advertising agencies have set net-zero targets, although 54% have set near-term targets. Similarly, just 34% of production companies have established both net-zero and near-term targets, suggesting a discrepancy in the level of dedication within different sectors of the industry.

Article Insight:

In June, Ad Net Zero set a mandate for its industry partners to establish science-based net zero carbon targets within a one-year timeframe. Based on data accumulated until September, the organization's latest assessment reveals the significant gap that exists for both its partners and the industry as a whole.

"As we acknowledge progress, it is crucial to recognize that it falls far short of what is needed," stated Sebastian Munden, Chair of Ad Net Zero, in a forward to the report. "I encourage you to assess where your business stands in relation to this data and consider the potential impact you can make to transform our working practices and the content we produce."

While some brands have taken substantial measures to address this issue, the lackluster implementation of standards among agencies and production companies is causing a ripple effect throughout the marketing-communications supply chain. The report identifies these slow adopters and highlights their role in prompting the establishment of partnership requirements earlier this year.

The report highlights the limited number of media owners (only 25%) who have established net-zero targets and emphasizes their significant role in establishing and achieving these goals. According to estimates by WPP, media planning and buying activities could contribute up to 54% of total emissions across all scopes of its business.

In response, Ad Net Zero has developed a comprehensive five-point action plan to assist its partners in setting and attaining their objectives. This guide specifically addresses five key areas that should be focused on in order to reduce emissions and expedite the attainment of net-zero targets.

Business operations encompass the establishment and realization of net-zero objectives. Conversely, production plays a vital role in reducing emissions, notably through diminishing travel and transportation activities responsible for the highest recorded emissions.

Developing partnerships with major industry groups and award bodies to highlight small carbon footprint campaigns, including media planning and buying and creating a standardized methodology for measuring emissions from media campaigns.

Using the power of advertising to promote significant change in consumer behavior, the report emphasized the need for the industry to prioritize emission reduction efforts. It also expressed disappointment at the insufficient attention given to climate change during major industry events and the lack of critical examination of the industry's environmental impact.