CEO Update | The road to sustainability

​​In amongst the accolades at Cannes last week – and congratulations to our members Special, DDB, Colenso, and HeyYou for bringing home the metal – was a significant announcement for the future of our industry. Ad Net Zero has been operating in the UK for a couple of years. The ambition to reduce emissions from advertising operations to net-zero by 2030 is going global. So what is it, and what are we doing about it?

The Comms Council has been talking with the Advertising Association in the UK for several months about the possibility of adopting the Ad Net Zero programme. We are currently in discussions with media owners, production companies and clients to gauge our readiness to launch Ad Net Zero here in New Zealand. It is an ambitious plan – and it needs to be. If we are to play our part in addressing the pressing issues around climate change, we need a unified approach that enables everyone to participate.

The Ad Net Zero programme is a five-point action plan to reduce emissions, measure and off-set, across the whole advertising supply chain; agency operations, production, media planning & buying, events and awards, and through the work that we do in influencing behaviour change.

It’s not a silver bullet, and it doesn’t address all aspects of how advertising plays a part in climate change. But in my view, it’s a very good start.

We will be spending the next three months in due diligence. We need to be sure that all the elements of successful implementation are accessible in our market. We need to be sure that all members are able to measure their impact, that the media industry is in a state of equal readiness, and that certain tools currently in use in other markets can be translated to New Zealand usage. We’ll be leaning on experts within our industry and externally to fast-track Comms Council’s understanding of the issues and how they might be addressed locally. And we’ll be engaging with government along the way.

Once we have more answers to the many questions that such a scheme raises, we hope to be able to unite the industry in a collective pledge towards net-zero impact of our industry, firm in the knowledge that we can meaningfully fulfill that pledge. As has often been said, there really isn’t a plan B. We need to take responsibility for our contribution to the problem, and in doing so, deliver to the needs of the planet, our place, and all of our people.

I will provide regular updates on our explorations in sustainability as they unfold. We will soon have a hub on our website for all those interested in being involved. But if this is a burning platform for you, individually, and you want to help with solutions, please do get in touch with me directly.