A range of agencies and organisations in the UK ad industry have committed to being greener in a new climate manifesto.
The Conscious Ad Network (CAN), has teamed up with leading agencies including Virgin Media 02, Friends of the Earth, SSE, Ipsos, Havas Media Group and Purpose Disruptors to launch the Climate and Sustainability manifesto.
What is the climate and sustainability manifesto?
The manifesto aims to incorporate climate and sustainability practices in advertising media, such as asking organisations whether they have a plan for Net Zero and whether they estimate carbon emissions from proposed production. It also commits to ensuring that misinformation regarding climate change is tackled. The manifesto also includes tools that can be used and groups that can be consulted to ensure that ads are not inadvertently spreading misinformation regarding climate change. Finally, the manifesto highlights the need to consciously invest in climate journalism and content, with suggestions on how to achieve this.
How will this affect advertising?
It is the sixth manifesto released by CAN, following similar manifestos regarding topics such as hate speech, children’s wellbeing and ad fraud. With these manifestos, the CAN aims to ensure that ad organisations remain ethically conscious as the technology of modern advertising continues to improve.
In a joint statement, CAN co-founders Jake Dubbins and Harriet Kingaby said: “Climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation and it’s important that advertisers are doing everything they can to ensure we meet our goals under the Paris Climate Agreement and keep warming to under 1.5 degrees. That means considering the impact of everything we do and make, including what our media spend funds and the norms that we project on screen.
“Advertising can have a huge role to play in changing hearts and minds about climate, defunding the disinformation economy and decarbonising our operations, but we must act now”.
In recent years, advertisers have become increasingly aware of the role they play in social change. According to Muse by Clio, increasingly socially conscious consumers are calling on brands to stand up for issues they support and lead conversations around hot-button issues, including climate change. For example, HP spoke out after the US withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017.
And with this new manifesto, the UK ad industry has pledged to take steps to ensure that the issue of climate change is given responsible coverage, that misinformation regarding the climate is tackled swiftly and that companies take steps to ensure their operations are environmentally friendly.
The move comes following increased attention from consumers on the climate emergency. Ahead of the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow in November last year, a study from the ONS revealed that three-quarters of adults in the UK are worried about the effects of climate change, with many prepared to make lifestyle changes to combat it.
CAN’s new climate change manifesto comes a year after the organisation submitted an open letter with more than 250 signatures to the CEOs of leading media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google calling on them to do more to combat climate change misinformation.