Reckitt, PubMatic join Ad Net Zero Global group quest to decarbonise advertising

Latest organisations join global group set up to help the advertising ecosystem realise sustainability

Reckitt and PubMatic have become the latest organisations to join the Ad Net Zero Global Group aimed at bringing sustainability transparency to the advertising supply chain and decarbonising the ecosystem.

Ad Net Zero was established at this year’s Cannes Lions by several companies, agencies and associations from across the advertising industry, who are planning to rollout their roadmap for change to achieve real net zero by 2030 globally. The group has devised a five-point plan, pledging to decarbonise advertising operations, help other companies reduce their emissions and ensure the advertising industry is helping accelerate the switch to more sustainable products and services.

Among tools now on offer are the AdGreen carbon calculator to help to measure and reduce emissions from advertising production. The first international chapter of Ad Net Zero was formed by the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI). An Ad Net Zero Global Summit is due to be held virtually on 9-10 November alongside COP27.

Reckitt and PubMatic join a range of other supporters such as holding companies, Dentsu International, Havas, Interpublic Group, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP, plus brands such as Unilever, as well as media organisations including Google, Meta, European media company Sky. There are also trade bodies involved including US-based Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, World Federation of Advertisers, European Association of Communications Agencies, VoxComm and the IAA.

A key priority for the Ad Net Zero Group is exploring how the industry can determine a consistent and robust framework for measuring and managing Greenhouse Gas emissions from media, which WPP estimates account for 55 per cent of the emissions from advertising operations. A working group, chaired by Reckitt global media director, Craig Fryer, has been formed to analyse solutions, devised both by global membership organisations as well as relevant parties.

“At Reckitt, our ambition is to be net zero by 2040, because we understand the impact that climate change is having on everybody’s health, our lives and our world,” said the FMCG’s chief marketing, sustainability and corporate affairs officer, Fabrice Beaulieu. “Our ambition covers everything we do, reducing the carbon footprint of our factories, our brands and their communications. Signing this pledge with Ad Net Zero recognises the breadth of our carbon footprint. It reaffirms our ambition and our purpose at Reckitt, to protect heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner and healthier world.”

Fryer noted the very real challenge around how the industry accurately measures carbon emissions from media.

“There isn’t currently a clear action plan on how to address this issue. I am delighted to lead the Ad Net Zero Global media working group conversation to identify one solution for such an important initiative, so we have a uniform way of measuring and then reducing the carbon emissions within our media plans,” he stated.

PubMatic CMO, Johanna Bauman, also added the agency’s commitment to building digital advertising’s supply chain of the future. Transparency, efficiency, effectiveness and responsible practices are key in this quest, she said.

“The challenges of environmental sustainability are too big for any one company to address alone, and we must collectively align on standards, implementation frameworks and target outcomes. We are proud to join our peers from across the ecosystem to drive Ad Net Zero’s global and local efforts forward. Together, we can make progress achievable to all and drive substantive change across our industry,” Bauman said.

According to figures cited by Ad Net Zero, 71 per cent of people working across the industry are worried about the negative impacts of the industry on the environment, and more want their agencies to take climate action.

Global advertising based on media investment is worth approximately US$594 billion. The US is the biggest advertising market according to WARC 2020, figures, while Australia is ranked seventh.

Other brands taking an active stance of reducing its advertising carbon footprint are Volvo, which has signed up with GroupM’s Good-Loop initiative through agency, Mindshare. The initiative, announced in July, aims to help brands measure, offset and reduce their carbon footprint.

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