Climate Change Environment Ecology

Google, Channel 4, Unilever and St Luke’s back ‘Ad Net Zero’ initiative


By John Glenday, Reporter

February 25, 2021 | 3 min read

A UK ad industry collaboration designed to help advertisers hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 has welcomed Accenture, Channel 4, Google, WPP and Unilever as supporters.

Ad Net Zero

Google, Channel 4, Unilever and St Luke’s back ‘Ad Net Zero’ initiative

The new signatories will provide funding, expertise and resources to make the Ad Net Zero goals a reality before this decade is out.

Companies pledge their name to ‘Ad Net Zero’

  • Launched last year the climate action group was founded by the Advertising Association (AA), Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising to coordinate efforts to limit emissions.

  • The full list of supporters reads as a roll-call of who is who in the agency, corporate and communications worlds with supporters including the likes of Accenture Interactive, adam&eveDDB, Droga5, Unilever, Wieden + Kennedy and WPP.

  • The grouping held their first time earlier this month under the direction of Sebastian Munden, executive vice-president and general manager, Unilever UK & Ireland, to thrash out how best to deliver upon promises made in the Ad Net Zero Action Plan.

Why it matters

  • The ad industry has come under pressure from environmental activists such as Extinction Rebellion to clean up its act, calls which came to a head in May 2019 when the group issued an open letter to advertisers and agencies to use their powers of persuasion for good.

  • These words were followed mere months later in September by an assembly of thousands of workers representing over 150 advertising agencies at Parliament Square, London, for strike action in support of global climate protests.

  • To translate fine words into action a series of five working groups have been established, each with a designated leader and set of goals to be achieved by the decadal deadline.

  • The five-pronged attack include a team focused on measuring and reducing carbon emissions emanating from ad business operations; a separate team tasked with limiting emissions from advertising productions and another sub-group asked to find ways to reduce emissions from media choices.

  • Resources will also be targetted toward cleaning up the industry’s awards and events while the potential of advertising to influence positive change will also be investigated.

  • AA chief executive Stephen Woodford said: “As a collective, our ambition is to set our industry on a clear path to net-zero with immediate actions to measure, track and reduce the carbon impact of the way our industry operates. We will also be focusing on how UK advertising’s creativity can support the rapid shifts in consumer behaviour needed to address the climate emergency that we all face.”

Climate Change Environment Ecology

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