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By Maddy Smith
As technology develops, now is a critical time to ensure that production companies and agencies consider sustainability at all points during media production.
As the advertising landscape moves towards a more environmentally-conscious future, the industry has seen a slow but gradual rise in the number of organisations which strive to ensure sustainable practises and growth throughout the production and marketing process.
Worldwide, the movement is still slow to take shape, however organisations are gradually popping up across the globe to establish a more sustainable future.
While there seems to be a lack of initiatives in South America which are pushing sustainable practises, there are also certain individual organisations rising up across the area which aim to supply support.
Similar to Producers and Procurers iQ’s guide to ethics organisations, movements and certifications across the globe, this guide is intended to brief the industry on the organisations available to advertising and marketing professionals.
Brands often rely on organisations such as EcoVadis, as mentioned below, to provide environmental advice for the advertising and marketing industries.
Another of the organisations featured in this list, AdGreen, aims to eliminate the environmental impact of production. The organisation is now available for use throughout Asia, as well as Europe and the US.
Led by Jo Fenn, AdGreen aims to make these tools available globally, to really induce change in the advertising and marketing landscape.
It is important to highlight the difference between sustainable marketing and green marketing.
Sustainable marketing is the process of delivering value to customers in a way that preserves or enhances natural and human resources.
However, sustainable marketing is not to be confused with green marketing. Green marketing is the process of marketing a company’s sustainability efforts to its target audience. An example of this is when Starbucks creates marketing assets with sustainability messages.
In general, sustainability is about continuity – companies that use sustainable marketing value behaviours and practices that make for an inhabitable planet that preserves resources for future generations. Sustainable products meet the needs of this generation as well as the next. Sustainable marketing applies the concept of sustainability to your brand’s products, image, and strategy.
Customers these days expect more than good products and services. They expect companies to take responsibility and accountability for social and environmental issues.
Below is a list of the 13 organisations with links to their websites.
AdGreen’s aim is to unite the advertising industry in order to eliminate the negative environmental impacts of production, as well as enable the community to measure and understand waste and carbon impacts, empowering them to act for zero waste or zero carbon.
As previously mentioned the organisation, Founded and Directed by Jo Fenn, has an advisory board of the IPA, ISBA, adamandeveddb, AOP, APA, APR, dentsu, Google, Havas, IPG, Publicis Groupe UK, Sky, WPP and Unilever.
Jo Fenn has also been featured as one of Producers and Procurers iQ’s Women of Influence. You can read the article here.
AdGreen states that the organisation is in place to support an industry shift towards net zero. The organisation doesn’t consult on individual productions (although they can provide ad hoc advice), but instead focuses on the bigger picture, creating tools, resources and training for everyone to access in order to accelerate change.
One of these, the carbon calculator tool, is globally accessible and supports the logging of activities in almost all territories, and can be used to log activities taking place in almost every territory in the world – local carbon factors are used for electricity for example. The service also allows its users to log budgets in multiple currencies.
Although AdGreen is currently operating as a small UK based team, funded by a small, voluntary levy (only payable in the UK at present), the organisation is looking to expand its resources where and when brands require its services. Currently tool users are not yet globally supported, but conversations have begun in the US, France and Holland to expand.
The organisation’s future plans include offering localised training and translations where required, in territories outside of the UK.
The Advertising Association (AA), in partnership with the IPA and ISBA, launched Ad Net Zero on November 18th 2020. Based in London, this is an industry-wide initiative to help UK advertising respond to the climate crisis caused by CO2 emissions.
Ad Net Zero states that their 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. Individuals and companies seeking to support Ad Net Zero and make a real change to address the climate emergency can sign-up to the Ad Net Zero hub.
To mark the Ad Net Zero launch, the AA published a report by its Climate Action Working Group with Credos, UK advertising’s think tank, in which it estimates total UK agency operational CO2e emissions to exceed 84,000 tonnes a year.
Credos estimates 42% of that comes from energy usage and 58% from business travel, with the biggest single contribution coming from flights and on the same basis, the industry as a whole could have a carbon footprint of nearer a million tonnes.
Wearealbert has been established to lead a charge against climate change; bringing the film and TV industries together to tackle the environmental impact and inspiring screen audiences to act for a sustainable future.
The creative industries offer the greatest opportunity to mobilise positive action for the planet and so the organisation aims to lead a charge against climate change; uniting the screen industries to make a positive environmental impact and inspiring audiences to act for a sustainable future.
Based in the UK and founded in 2011, governed by an industry consortium, albert supports everyone working in film and TV to understand their opportunities to create positive environmental change.
Also featured in the Producers and Procurers iQ ethics database, Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and non-profits alone. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities and the environment.
The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose.
#ChangeTheBrief Alliance is a not-for-profit partnership between agencies of every size and type – media, creative, design, PR – and their clients, learning and acting together to directly address the challenge of the climate crisis by promoting sustainability via every channel available to them.
The Alliance provides an on demand and face to face learning programme and community to all of its members, offering insights and expert advice at a category level on how we can adapt our work to promote more sustainable choices and behaviours in line with a zero-carbon world.
Alone, agencies will struggle to make a difference, but together we’re a formidable force that has the expertise to disrupt, influence and initiate real change. And that could make a real difference to attitudes, lifestyles, behaviours and ultimately, our future on the planet.
Clima specialises in working with media organisations to design their environmental management systems and provide them with an effective pathway to reach their net zero goals.
The organisation’s services range from implementing simple solutions which take into account basic measuring and reporting of carbon emissions, all the way to full environmental management system frameworks that can form part of an ESG report.
Run by Victoria Harvey and Rachel Smy, Clima identifies environmental aspects and advise controls in order to mitigate and ensure compliance as well as full CO2e measuring and reduction.
Measuring and reporting business emissions, they express, should be an accessible task that is available to all organisations no matter the size and scale. The organisation encourages every business to make a difference, reduce their emissions and help keep the planet to within 1.5 degrees of warming.
Since its founding in 2007, EcoVadis has grown to become the world’s largest provider of business sustainability ratings, creating a global network of more than 75,000 rated companies.
Co-Founded by Co-CEOs Pierre-François Thaler and Frédéric Trinel, Ecovadis envisions a global marketplace where sustainability intelligence influences every business decision – improving economies, people’s lives and the planet we all depend on.
EcoVadis is based in Paris, France, however the organisations also have offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Canada, Tunisia, Mauritius, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Spain. EcoVadis is used across the world where brands need more generalised support.
According to the WFA, whilst 95% of marketers believe that marketing can make a difference in the sustainability journey, there is still a lack of application, with 50% citing their marketing organisations are “about to start” or still “taking first steps”.
Created by Flock, “The Sustainable Marketer”, is a Marketing Sustainability Whitepaper to help fill this gap between a desire to do something and action. “The Sustainable Marketer” offers a definition for Marketing Sustainability, evidence for why Marketing Sustainability matters, introduces three important frameworks to help marketing organisations build a Marketing Sustainability Strategy and examples, useful resources and case studies from partners at WARC.
The report is not designed to be all-encompassing or complete and it will be updated as Flock’s work with clients progresses. The report is freely available to the marketing industry, as the company acknowledges its responsibility to the community and the world at large.
Green The Bid has created the framework for widespread industry adoption, with the aim to be leaders in this effort by making productions carbon neutral.
The grassroots initiative supports the advertising industry in shifting to zero-waste, carbon neutral, sustainable and regenerative practises. Green the Bid is a volunteer coalition, led by its founding members Jessie Nagel, Kat Friis, Gabi Kay, Julian Katz and Michael Kalisnki. This is as well as the stakeholders of the commercial community.
As part of their sustainability goals, big brands are beginning to step up and make their own contributions as well as increasing numbers of production agreements that require shoots to be sustainable. Green the Bid has advice for brands and clients, advertising agencies, production companies and post-production as well as vendors and crew members.
20 years ago, the founder and CEO of Green Element Will Richardson, had travelled around the world and saw first-hand the impact of climate change. After working for a variety of different businesses, he made what would be a life-changing decision: to dedicate his life to contribute towards a sustainable future for the generations to come.
Green Element was born to put sustainability at the heart of as many organisations as possible. The Green Element team has helped over 120 organisations become more sustainable, by tracking carbon footprints, environmental management and life cycle analysis.
Based in London, the organisation is one of the first B Corps to become certified in the UK. Through meeting a set of rigorous criteria, Green Element demonstrates support for the pioneering global #Bthechange movement: driving people to use business as a force for good.
The organisation offers environmental courses, coaching programmes, resources and podcasts to inform businesses of how they can operate sustainably and in the past has worked with the likes of IPG Mediabrands.
Launched by the WFA, Planet Pledge is an initiative which is designed to put marketers in a position where they can help lead brands’ responses to climate change, encourage efforts across the wider marketing industry and help consumers act more sustainably when using their products and services.
Planet Pledge is a CMO-led framework designed to galvanise action from marketers to promote and reinforce attitudes and behaviours which will help the world meet the challenges laid out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The pledge was launched at WFA’s Global Marketer Week and aims to encourage CMOs to take action in four key areas:
Purpose Disruptors aim to reshape the advertising and marketing communications industry to only promote attitudes, lifestyles, behaviours and brands aligned with a net zero world by 2030.
Their vision is to create a visible, large scale movement within the industry, working together to make the necessary transition to meaningfully tackle climate change.
Purpose Disruptors offers information on how the advertising industry can take full responsibility for its climate impact, working to build the #ChangeTheBrief Alliance, as well as holding events and conducting research on the issue.
At the core, running the organisation, are the three Co-Founders and Directors Lisa Merrick-Lawless, Jonathan Wise and Rob McFaul.
The core team is surrounded by a 1800 strong community of advisers, supporters and helpers from competing agencies as well as a small army of freelancers. Each giving their time, energy and support voluntarily to make change happen.
Purpose Disruptors have so far been funded by a number of charities and foundations including The JJ Charitable Trust, European Climate Foundation and KR Foundation.
Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
It mobilises a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, representing 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors, and 622 Higher Education Institutions. These ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Collectively these actors now cover nearly 25% global CO2 emissions and over 50% GDP.
Led by the High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action – Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz – Race To Zero mobilises actors outside of national governments to join the Climate Ambition Alliance, which was launched at the UNSG’s Climate Action Summit 2019 by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.
The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonised economy ahead of COP26, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. This will send governments a resounding signal that business, cities, regions and investors are united in meeting the Paris goals and creating a more inclusive and resilient economy.