The AA’s Stephen Woodford: Ad Net Zero marks first anniversary with major new initiatives

As COP26 rapidly approaches, the urgency around climate action has never been greater and is shared across the advertising sector by individuals and companies alike.

Some 71% of people working across the industry are worried about the negative impacts of the advertising industry on the environment. More want their businesses to take climate action. And when businesses do, their people are reassured by these commitments – in our research 91% reported that this improves their job satisfaction.

It’s essential that our industry gets to grip with this challenge now – carbon reporting will become a standard part of financial reporting for all UK-listed companies by 2025. So whether your business is listed or it supplies services to a listed company, knowing the carbon footprint of your activities will be essential.


In November the Advertising Association is marking the one-year anniversary of Ad Net Zero with the launch of a new set of initiatives from across the programme – the Ad Net Zero Global Summit, Ad Net Zero Essentials Training, and an industry Best Practice Guide.

Ad Net Zero is UK advertising’s response to the climate emergency: its mission is for immediate, collective industry action to help achieve real net zero carbon emissions from the development, production, and media placement of advertising by the end of 2030.

Ultimately, the Ad Net Zero 5-Point Action Plan is the catalyst to bring about change in the industry. Through implementing the 5-step action plan, supporters can reduce carbon emissions, save money, and retain talent.

We have seen a swell of support from across the industry and now count 70 organisations in our supporter base, including major agency holding groups, commercial media owners, global tech companies, advertisers and independent creative and production agencies, from right across the UK advertising landscape.

We need every company and individual in our industry to join us in this effort, by becoming an active supporter of Ad Net Zero and implementing the recommendations from the 5-Point Action Plan.

The Ad Net Global Summit is set to take place on November 3 & 4 live from Glasgow, just as world leaders will be gathering at COP26. The Global Summit will be free to attend for any advertising professional from around the world and will provide inspirational content through thought leadership sessions and practical workshops.

Already people from 26 countries have signed up for this, showing the global interest in our programme. In addition, all ad professionals, from agencies, brands, media, technology and production companies, so anyone who works in any part of the industry, will be able to access Ad Net Zero Essentials Training. This is a first-of-its-kind qualification and will be launched via the IPA’s superb online learning platform.

A free-to-access Best Practice Guide will also be published at the Summit, rigorously tested by the Ad Net Zero supporter base, for all businesses in the advertising supply chain to help track, measure, and reduce their carbon emissions.

The Summit will be a real moment and opportunity to discuss the action our industry needs to take to tackle climate change.

Now is the time to focus on how we can all play a part in promoting a net zero economy. If you’re not already signed up to Ad Net Zero, please get in touch with [email protected]

Stephen Woodford is CEO of the UK Advertising Association.

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