Bridget Jackson, Chief Sustainability Officer at PwC who served as the business engagement lead for the UK Climate Champions team, said advertising plays a pivotal role in changing attitudes. As reported by Reuters, she said, “the ‘architects of desire’ have a really important role to play in helping us get to zero carbon emissions.”
Many share the sentiment that the advertising community must step up and encourage clients to focus on the promotion of climate-smart products and green initiatives. There also needs to be a reduction in the marketing of products that are harming the planet.
There are already initiatives in place that are reflecting the need for advertisers to answer to industry-wide responsibilities. Companies such as Good-Loop, a UK based advertising company, focus on tying charity and meaning to their brand mission. Good-Loop donates 50% of all ad proceeds to various charities and uses their platforms to promote ethical accountability.
Scope3 is another company with aims to revolutionize the standards of the industry. Their mission is to measure carbon emissions across the media and advertising supply chain, and to decarbonize the industry with green media products. Similarly, GroupM is making strides to calculate and reduce ad-based carbon emissions.
Jonathon Wise is the co-founder of Purpose Disrupters,which he described as a network of ad industry insiders pressing for change. He points to financial organizations that are monitoring “financed emissions.” When they loan money or make investments, they track the greenhouse gas production of the beneficiaries.
Wise advocates for the application of a similar standard in advertising. Purpose Distributors engaged an econometric agency, Magic Numbers, to calculate the “advertised emissions” resulting from the UK’s advertising industry. The data determined that advertising is adding an additional 28% to the annual carbon footprint of every person in the UK, amounting to 186 million tons of CO2e. These numbers exemplify the impact that advertising sales have on greenhouse gas emissions.