Sustainability efforts are seeing ripples within advertising & marketing. This is a welcome sight.
From data released 27 June, we learned that Australia’s carbon emissions rose in the final quarter of 2021. This result is a reversal of the gains seen during COVID. This should have been expected, that industries such as transport and manufacturing will breathe back to life as we move past the peak of the pandemic, however, it is unfortunate that this was not offset enough as it allowed emissions to also bounce back. With the recent change in Federal Government along with this new set of data, debate has resparked amongst experts and lobby groups about the toughness of Australia’s 2030 emissions target. After all, this data suggests that Australia’s ability to decarbonise is becoming more and more like it’s moving at a snail’s pace.
Thankfully, as 2030 continues to inch closer, we see a welcome sight in our industry as the media supply chain steps up its efforts to contribute to environmental sustainability.
For Australia, this begins with the largest advertisers such as Telstra, who has been carbon neutral since 2020 and has more stringent targets than the Australian government for 2030. These companies are creating blueprints and forcing the hand of some for how we, as an industry, should behave when it comes to decarbonisation and social responsibility as they aim to cut out their supply chain – tech, agencies, and publishers alike – if they do not match these or at least create similar goals.
Media agencies are therefore in lockstep with these brands and will lead the way in pushing the supply chain for net zero emissions. This includes actions from large holding companies that will bring environmental sustainability to the negotiation table as they recommend brands to pull spend from media or tech that do not support decarbonisation and similar initiatives or creating opportunities to operate through only renewable energy. Smaller agencies are also finding their own feet here with some going the BCorp certification route.
With advertisers and agencies on board, technology providers and production companies can be seen in stride as well. Tech providers such as Pubmatic, by achieving 100% renewable energy use for its data centres, are creating avenues to compete for marketing dollars. As for production companies, we know blueprints exist from UK and European counterparts. This may be similar to what’s seen above for brands and holding companies around tying executive bonuses to carbon targets but could extend to the use of virtual production to limit travel, and making more use of renewable energy in the supply chain.
Whilst it may take us sometime to develop and even more to agree on universal identifiers, cookie replacements, and much of ad tech for that matter, it is clear that we are aligned as an industry to move forward with sustainability together. As this diverse set of examples tell us, blueprints exist across the industry that you can follow to ensure to not let your brand be left behind in our push for better.