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Advertising Association launches Ad Net Zero

UK advertising unveils its response to the climate emergency. 

Keith Weed, president of the Advertising Association, asked an audience of 650 industry professionals today: “If not us, who? If not now, when?” 

At a virtual event, the Advertising Association together with ISBA and the IPA presented its plan to tackle climate change, calling on the industry to reduce the carbon impact of UK advertising to net zero by the end of 2030.

To help individuals and organisations achieve this, they revealed a five-point action plan, which includes reducing emissions of business operations, curbing emissions during media planning, buying and advertising operations, plus encouraging more climate-friendly consumer behaviour.

Exploring how different organisations are bringing climate change initiatives to life, a panel of industry leaders gave their thoughts.

The panellists - Sebastian Munden, executive vice president and general manager at Unilever UK&I; Debbie Klein, group chief marketing, corporate affairs & people officer at Sky; and Mark Read, chief executive officer at WPP - talked about the unique position that advertisers are in to influence the behaviour of the public and their clients. Both Read and Klein highlighted the importance of bringing sustainability to the pitch phase as a great way of getting new clients on board.

With Rishi Sunak recently announcing that by 2025 all UK companies will be required to report their climate impact, Munden suggested by this time, ideally companies would be in a position to report something positive about their approaches and that now is the time to “start the journey”.

The panel concluded with a personal reflection on incorporating changes into everyday life. As Klein put it: “You have to commit heart and soul, not just on your laptop.” Munden agreed that the things you do for the business, you have to do at home too.  

Read, who would have previously spent a lot of time travelling for work, said “we are living through the most compressed period of innovation” this year. Reviewing 2020, he’s spoken to 50% more clients, improved client satisfaction scores and seen a 40% increase in new business wins this year.  

You can learn more about Ad Net Zero here.

18/11/20

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