UK Ad Association’s Ad Net Zero aims at global reach

Still not entirely sure how adland can save the planet by cutting emissions – can’t be that many of them surely? – but the UK Advertising Association’s Ad Net Zero initiative is bigging it up at Cannes, announcing an international rollout.

The big ad holding companies are supporting it (as you’d expect) along with Unilever, Google, Meta and Sky plus the World Federation of Advertisers and trade bodies across the US, UK and Europe.

CANNES, FRANCE – JUNE 21: By 2030 Every Ad Will Be a Green Ad at the Debussy theatre, Cannes Lions 2022: Day Two on June 21, 2022 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)

The Ad Net Zero 5-point action plan pledges to reduce the carbon emissions from UK advertising operations to net zero by 2030, with businesses committing to robust, verified plans to reduce their emissions. It also pledges to use the power of advertising to accelerate the switch to more sustainable products and services for consumers. The UK programme provides a roadmap for development in other markets, with the flexibility to adapt and develop market-specific solutions.

Unilever chief brand officer Aline Santos says: “Unilever is committed to reducing emissions to zero within our own operations by 2030 and to net zero across our value chain by 2039, with the first priority being to reduce emissions in line with the 1.5 degree ambition of the Paris Agreement. Everything our brands do, and that our partners do on behalf of our brands, needs to be totally consistent with this aim. As a founding member of Ad Net Zero in the UK, we look forward to the opportunity to apply the learnings and best practices from the UK pilot to shape its global roll out with the wider industry.”

As with any discussion about emissions, the key probably lies in persuading other countries – most notably China and India – to follow suit. These are the world’s new economic super-powers, both with programmes of heavy industrialisation.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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