“We’re the only trade association in the advertising industry that is focused exclusively on sustainability, particularly how do we decarbonize the advertising industry and get the whole industry to net zero, which is a 90% reduction.”Rachel Schnorr on sustainable advertising
In this episode of EnvironMental with Dandelion, we welcomed Rachel Schnorr, the Membership Director for Ad Net Zero, to our show. Ad Net Zero is a non-profit trade association with a mission to decarbonize the advertising industry and achieve a 90% reduction in emissions. They operate as a coalition, bringing together various stakeholders such as trade organizations, advertisers, agencies, and ad partners to create solutions and inspire sustainable consumer behavior change.
This is one of the first times we’ve had another marketer on the show and it was really refreshing. Like a lot of sustainability professionals, we often find ourselves feeling alone when we talk about our mission with other professionals in our industry. Not today! We were able to have a conversation about the roles and responsibility of advertising in the sustainable transition!
The Role of Sustainable Advertising
We know that globally advertising results in about 2 to 3% of emissions…and we know that those operations really impact the other 97 to 98%.Rachel Schnorr about the impact of advertising
One of the reasons that we operate Dandelion the way we do, and why we wanted to bring Rachel onto the show, is because we see the impact that marketing has on people. And not just consumer behavior, but on belief, on action, on self identity – truly on every part of our world. We are sick of fear mongering media and the constant inundation of consumerist ideals. They’re not good for people and they certainly perpetuate the supply and demand system that pays no heed to how we gather and use (or steal and abuse) the Earth’s resources.
We all believe that a focus on sustainable advertising can help change the way we browse, the way we consume, and the way we live. Our largest (and loudest) societies are built around growth as defined only by their GDP. Is it any wonder that people listen to the brands they trust?
We saw this plainly during COVID when folks looked to their favorite businesses to offer guidance on how to protect themselves. A lot of brands picked up on that and migrated to communicating about protection, wearing masks, and staying part of a community. We saw less sales in the short term, but a massive boost in trust that lead to retention later on.
We believe using this same sustainable advertising method for the climate crisis will make a big difference in consumer behavior! Instead of constant sales and spending effort on greenwashing, companies should be taking care of their communities, educating about protecting our planet, and investing in building safer social systems. That’s how we move the needle realistically.
The Challenge of Measurement
Transitioning to a sustainable world presents many challenges, one of which is the need for measurement tools to calculate the digital carbon footprint of media.
We struggle with this ourselves. We want to have our emissions calculated along with our impact, but because we’re almost exclusively an online company we have a hard time finding an agency that can give us accurate calculations. And we don’t want to settle just to be able to put numbers on our website.
That’s why we were so excited when Rachel told us that Ad Net Zero is working with sustainability consultants, measurement companies, climate scientists, and the British Standards Institute to evaluate different tools and develop a framework for measuring media emissions. The goal is for these tools to align with a standard set by Ad Net Zero, to provide confidence in the calculations they use!
Get Involved – Get In Touch
Ad Net Zero operates through five actions: getting their own house in order, making sustainable production choices, embedding sustainability in events and awards, and driving consumer behavior change. Collaboration within Ad Net Zero happens through working groups for each action, where brands, advertisers, partners, and trade associations come together to discuss challenges, solutions, and progress.
Ad Net Zero also shared their quick action downloadable with us, which you can get by clicking here
If you want to join the Ad Net Zero cause, get in touch with them!