“What we’ve done here essentially is look at the data of all our supporters and say, ‘OK, who set science-based targets? And what kind of targets have they set?” Ad Net Zero Chair Sebastian Munden said. “We see advertisers and tech platforms, in our supporter base, have done that and we see agencies and production companies in the process of doing that.”
Ad Net Zero is mandating that its supporting companies set targets by June 2024 if they have not already. It’s not clear what will happen if they don’t.
“We’re obviously very hopeful and confident that people will have set it by then,” Munden said. “Our job at Ad Net Zero is to encourage and support the companies across the industry to set targets and then to create action plans against those targets. Our focus is really making sure that once targets have been set, there are real concrete programs and activity systems that companies can put in place to reduce their carbon footprint.”
Long-term and near-term targets
The group looked at both net zero targets that will take longer to achieve as well as more immediate, near-term targets companies have set.
The report found that tech platforms are leading the charge with 100% of these supporters setting net zero targets, followed by 88% of marketers setting these targets.
“We are seeing progress particularly amongst advertisers because they understand the importance of reporting,” Ad Net Zero U.S. Director John Osborn said, adding that their momentum will drive others to act. He said marketers are already asking about these types of commitments when assessing which agencies to work with in account reviews.
More: Leaders working to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint
The long-term, science-based decarbonization targets Ad Net Zero looked at are based on the definition of the “Science Based Targets Initiative,” which essentially mean companies are making commitments to reduce their carbon footprint by 90% by 2050, “in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” according to the firm. Companies typically have set these targets to be achieved by anywhere from 2030 to 2050.
Ad Net Zero has also partnered with The World Federation of Advertisers’ Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) to outline certain near-term targets that advertisers can take over the next five to 10 years before setting the larger 90% reduction goal. One example would be reducing their carbon emissions by a lesser percentage by 2025 by taking steps such as decreasing the number of ad tech partners involved in media buying or even reducing the size of the videos advertisers put out digitally.