Sep 29, 2023
Ad Net Zero and StopPress recently joined forces to publish a five article series, each delving into a different strategic area of Ad Net Zero’s Five-Point Action Plan.
Key takeaways and links to the articles are shared below:
Action 1 : Emissions from Business Operations
Every Supporter of Ad Net Zero is required to measure their business’ carbon emissions.
The first step towards [emissions] reduction is measurement says Strahan Wallis, Chief Executive of Clemenger Group NZ. “There’s a lot of terminology around sustainability and the planet that can be a little off-putting and a little scary,” Wallis says. “But ultimately it’s just about measuring what you’re doing and taking really simple steps to reduce carbon emissions.”
Ad Net Zero has developed a partnership with Toitū to provide licenses to its e-manage platform, which allows Supporters to map and measure their carbon emissions.
As part of Action Two, every agency and production company, supported by their clients, will be urged to embrace the concept of zero waste and zero carbon in their ad production processes. Ad production, both motion and stills, can have a significant carbon footprint, especially in the case of location shoots involving travel, hospitality requirements, and intricate supply networks. Similar to how businesses need to focus on efficient operations, the measurement of emissions becomes a critical factor in emission reduction during the production process.
“If you’re going to be implementing environmentally sustainable practices on set, you’ve got to have plans, and you’ve got to be reporting and monitoring how you’re doing. The earlier you get used to it, and the earlier you can adapt to the process, the easier it’s going to be. It’s best to learn with the whole industry than to come in as a late adopter.” shares Auckland-based producer and Chair of GreenLit, Craig Gainsborough
Within Action 3, every media agency will be motivated to prioritise the environmental impact of carbon emissions when making decisions regarding media planning and purchasing.
One of the major challenges is knowing where to start, which includes understanding the size of the problem and the carbon associated with media activity. To assist with this, Supporters of Ad Net Zero will be collaborating on a simplified measurement method that aids advertisers and their media consultants in scheduling campaigns while considering their carbon footprint.
A quick win for the digital advertising industry would be to avoid climate risk inventory, which is extremely high emissions compared to everything else on the market. Climate risk is often correlated with low value inventory such as made for advertising sites, sites that are paying for traffic and eyeballs, designed to “game the system” to get advertising spend but they do not return quality value.
June Cheung, Head of JAPAC at measurement data business Scope3, shares. “If we remove climate risk inventory from our ecosystem today, we would see a five percent increase in performance and a 20 percent decrease in carbon emissions. This is a win-win here for performance and planet.”
Commercial Communications Council’s CEO, Simon Lendrum says the focus and intent of Action 4 is twofold. “Events and award shows are quite an integral part of the advertising sector. We have lots of events that are created for clients in terms of experiential events and the like, and we have award shows across the industry,” he says.
“The first intent is to acknowledge that these events come with emissions and therefore to apply the principles of Ad Net Zero to those as well, which is to begin the process of measurement and by doing so, then build future reduction plans to lower the impact of those events and awards. The second component is to start the conversation around how and at what stage and to what extent we might start integrating sustainability concerns and criteria into the judging of award shows themselves.”
Action 5 focuses on harnessing advertising’s power to support consumer behaviour change. This means agencies and their clients collaborating closely to leverage advertising to encourage eco-friendly choices among various products and services, supporting innovations that provide more sustainable solutions to people’s wants and needs, and advocating for societal behaviours that ultimately reduce carbon emissions.
Jo Bye, Group Manager – Marketing & Communications at Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says the beauty of the advertising industry is that creativity and storytelling can be combined with commercial goals and behaviour change. “There is a natural recognition that the advertising industry has a lot of potential for early adopting and pulling people through into the mainstream of what good looks like in low carbon lifestyle,” she says.