Advertisers of all sizes, along with their advertising agencies, media owners and platforms, need to decarbonise their operations rapidly and help promote the adoption of more sustainable products and services. Advertisers, agencies, and every company in our industry share the responsibility to make this happen.
ISBA is a signatory of the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, which include a commitment to halve emissions by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050.
ISBA has also signed the WFA Planet Pledge, a global commitment to make marketing teams a force for positive change both internally and with the consumers who buy their products and services.
As part of ISBA’s Public Affairs activity we are engaging with government and regulators on a broad range of issues, including environmental sustainability. Find out more about the other areas of ISBA’s Public Affairs work here.
To find out more, please contact ISBA’s Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability, Stuart Macnaughtan.
More resources and information
Ad Net Zero
ISBA is a founding member of Ad Net Zero – the advertising industry’s drive to reduce the carbon impact of developing, producing and running advertising to real net zero. The Ad Net Zero action plan provides the industry with a guide for its transition to net zero:
- Action 1: Reduce Emissions from Advertising Business Operations
- Action 2: Reduce Emissions from Advertising Production
- Action 3: Reduce Emissions from Media Planning & Buying
- Action 4: Reduce Advertising Emissions Through Awards and from Events
- Action 5: Harness Advertising's Power to Support Behaviour Change
More information about Ad Net Zero is available here.
ISBA is a founding partner of AdGreen – an initiative that supports the advertising industry to reduce the negative environmental impacts of production, and to measure and understand waste and carbon emissions.
AdGreen provides training, a carbon calculator, and resources for the whole industry in order to accelerate change.
The carbon calculator is free to use for the advertising production community, and enables brands to explore and analyse footprints for all projects within their campaign if logged.
More information about AdGreen is available here.
WFA Planet Pledge and GARM
ISBA has signed the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Planet Pledge, a global commitment to make marketing teams a force for positive change both internally and with the consumers who buy their products and services. The Planet Pledge framework is designed to galvanise action from marketers to promote and reinforce attitudes and behaviours meeting the challenges laid out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The WFA’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) has created a new workstream designed to focus attention on Sustainability. The goal: to create a cross-industry collaboration that designs voluntary frameworks that will reduce our industry’s impact on the planet. When set up the GARM workstream had three immediate goals:
- Create momentum via a Quick Action Guide: equip media leaders with a series of voluntary and tangible steps that can reduce the environmental impact of advertising campaigns and a set of criteria to consider with partners. This is now available here.
- Benchmark current media carbon measurement and estimation practices: create an industry-wide forum to suggest common definitions and measures to assist industry participants in measuring the environmental impact of their media campaigns.
- Develop a global media carbon framework: develop a flexible measurement and reporting system based on aggregated data, to be voluntarily implemented at local level by National Advertisers Associations, that will facilitate the measurement and reporting of media carbon emissions.
This work is ongoing, and ISBA is contributing. Our Director General, Phil Smith, is on the GARM Steering Group. Further information is available here.
Greenwashing and green claims
Understanding the updated regulations around green claims in advertising is a priority issue for many advertisers. The latest ASA guidance has its roots in the Climate Change and the Environment project commenced in 2021, and the work which has been done since – including proactive reviews of priority sectors and research into consumer understanding. Recent rulings have their basis in this work.
The ASA presented the latest guidance and answered questions at ISBA’s Sustainability Forum. A recording of that meeting is available to ISBA members here.
Advertising-driven carbon consumption
One of the challenges being put to the advertising industry is to evaluate the impact it has on people’s choices and on the emissions associated with those choices – both positive and negative.
To consider this, ISBA and the Advertising Association asked the Saïd Business School at Oxford University to examine this challenge, and to apply their best academic thinking to marketing attribution and carbon accounting. The Saïd analysis shows that trying to analyse advertising’s impact on real-world consumption emissions is complex – a management summary and presentation of their paper is available here.
Their report does not support the Advertised Emissions methodology put forward by Purpose Disruptors. A joint op-ed authored by ISBA, the AA and the IPA, and originally published in Campaign, which sets out our position can be found here.
Advertisers of all sizes, along with their advertising agencies, media owners and platforms, need to decarbonise their operations rapidly and help promote the adoption of more sustainable products and services. Right now, we must reduce the emissions from the advertising supply chain, end to end, and we need everyone’s support to do so. This will complement the work of the advertisers, who are doing this across their entire businesses.
We are continuing to collaborate across the industry to develop a framework to understand and monitor advertising-driven carbon consumption and harness advertising’s power to support consumer behaviour change.
ISBA Sustainability Forum
Responding to demand from our members, ISBA has taken the step to set up a new member-led working group focusing on climate change and sustainability.
This group will work to understand the questions, concerns and barriers that ISBA members face in moving their advertising operations toward net zero.
The outputs from this group will help to inform ISBA’s position on issues of environmental sustainability and climate change, and creates a forum for feedback between ISBA members and wider industry initiatives, including those led by Ad Net Zero and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).
If you would like to find out more and get involved, please contact Stuart Macnaughtan.
ISBA members can catch up with the most recent meeting of ISBA’s Sustainability in the video below.
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