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Ad sector responds to climate emergency with launch of sustainability initiative

Today marks the official launch of Ad Net Zero in Aotearoa New Zealand, an initiative inviting advertisers, media owners, production and advertising agencies to commit to collaborative climate action.

Launched first in the UK in late 2020, New Zealand will become the fourth region globally to harness the Ad Net Zero framework to help the advertising sector reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and support the transition to a sustainable economy.

Ad Net Zero is a five-point action plan that supports the transition to net zero emissions for a $3.4b industry.

Hon. James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change, attended the special launch event held in TVNZ’s Atrium in Auckland today.

“The launch of Ad Net Zero is a positive step towards bringing the advertising industry together to work towards a lower carbon future,” he says.

“The climate crisis is the most pressing issue affecting us all. It is important we continue to elevate the sustainability conversation to drive lasting behaviour change and shape the world for the better.”

Shaw says the initiative shows comprehension of a whole value chain “which is basically everything”.

“What it is you enable and support is way more significant than the buildings you work in and the way you get around, although that also has an impact when you start to understand the numbers. That to me is really exciting because you are looking under the hood.”

The initiative has already garnered the support of major foundation partners ANZ, BNZ, EECA, Go Media, Google, Kiwi Bank, Meridian, One New Zealand, oOh!media, SCG, Sky and TVNZ and aims to:

  1. Reduce emissions from advertising business operations
  2. Reduce emissions from advertising production
  3. Reduce emissions from media planning and buying
  4. Reduce advertising emissions through awards and from events
  5. Harness advertising’s power to support behaviour change.

Supporters are required to have created a greenhouse gas emission inventory within the first 12 months of becoming a supporter and a science-based target in line with the Paris Agreement, as well as an emissions reduction plan by year two.

Additionally, supporters are invited to participate in working groups that will collaborate on efforts to streamline industry efforts such as agreeing on a consistent measurement approach for ad- related emissions.

A steering group made up of representatives from across New Zealand’s advertising industry supply chain are leading the Ad Net Zero initiative.

Steering group spokesperson, Simon Lendrum, Chief Executive of Commercial Communications Council, says: “The advertising industry has proven time and again the power of collective creative thinking and innovation. Both will be essential in reducing carbon emissions across the entire advertising ecosystem.

“Individually, many organisations in the sector are already playing their part, but the Ad Net Zero initiative is about deep sector-wide collaboration – and supporting those just starting their journey.”

Lendrum says that being a supporter of Ad Net Zero comes with an obligation to commit to science based measurement as well as setting public targets and reduction plans and participate in working groups.

As well as foundation partners, the initiative has early agency support from Acumen Republic, Clemenger Group, DDB, Dentsu, FCB, Federation, Harvey Cameron, Hearts and Science, Lassoo, MBM, Motion Sickness, OMD, PHD, Pitchblack, Quantum Jump, RUN, Saatchi & Saatchi, Spark Foundry, The Monkeys, True, Together, VMLY&R and YoungShand.

The advertising sector in New Zealand employs an estimated 44,000. The Ad Net Zero framework supports a future in which ads are made by sustainable businesses, using sustainable production processes, and distributed through sustainable media supply chains, while promoting sustainable products, services and behaviours.

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