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Marketing Brand Purpose Climate Change

The ‘carbon calculator’ that will let ad agencies measure their CO2 footprint


By John Glenday | Reporter

May 4, 2021 | 4 min read

AdGreen, the low-carbon arm of the Advertising Association, is to make its carbon calculator freely available to all in the UK advertising industry in September 2020.


Behind the ‘carbon calculator’ that will allow ad agencies to measure their CO2 footprint

The bespoke tool provides advertising agencies, production companies and service companies the ability to collaboratively measure the carbon impact of their projects and to identify the highest carbon-producing activities.

What will the carbon calculator do?

  • The carbon calculator serves as a one-stop tool for advertising agencies to benchmark their carbon footprint, helping to quantify ongoing efforts to limit CO2 emissions.

  • Dovetailing with the Ad Net Zero initiative, the calculator aims to nudge agencies on the path towards developing, producing and running UK advertising to real net zero by 2030.

  • AdGreen teamed up with the Advertising Association in July 2020, formally launching in September as a rallying banner for the entire ad industry to unite behind.

  • Over the following months, AdGreen’s advisory board has swelled, with companies including adam&eveDDB, APR (Advertising Production Resources), Google, Havas, MullenLowe, Publicis Groupe UK, Sky, WPP and Unilever signing up to help eliminate the negative environmental impacts associated with advertising production.

  • Thus far over 750 members have completed a free online training programme to better understand issues specific to advertising that impact climate.

  • The calculator will follow the introduction of The AdGreen Levy from June 1, which will make UK-based organizations providing production services to an advertiser liable for a 0.25% fee of the asset production costs.

  • The levy is supported by trade bodies including the APA, AOP, IPA and ISBA, with revenues passed to AdGreen every quarter.

  • An annual review of the charge will seek to reduce the levy in percentage terms as more advertisers commit to the programme.

Why it matters

  • Led by industry specialist Jo Coombes, AdGreen will utilize the levy to offer a range of tools, services and expertise for adland to utilize.

  • This will centre on the production of campaign assets specifically designed to mitigate climate change by lowering emissions.

  • Major advertisers including Unilever, Diageo, Mastercard, Dole and Tesco are also taking the initiative with ‘Planet Pledge’, a commitment to take a lead on finding solutions to the climate emergency.

  • Evolving public awareness of the issue has prompted broadcaster Sky to launch a £2m fund designed to assist climate-conscious brands wishing to harness the power of television to fast-track five sustainability initiatives.

  • Coombes said: “By attending our free training, using the online resources, signing up for our newsletter and events, and now supporting the levy, the industry is showing the commitment that’s needed to tackle our environmental impact together. We are excited for the launch of our carbon calculator later on this year, which will allow the advertising production community to measure and then really understand how to reduce a production’s environmental impact.”

  • Full details of the AdGreen Levy are available online, where principal production partners can also register their intent to collect levy payments and advertisers can register their intent to pay the fee.

  • Adam&EveDDB, Havas UK, Havas Studios and Mullen Lowe Group (representing IPG), and Unilever and Nestlé are the first to commit to paying the levy, with Publicis Groupe UK’s agencies also supporting its collection.

Marketing Brand Purpose Climate Change

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