The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has given its backing to an industry-wide initiative to help UK advertising respond to the climate crisis caused by CO2 emissions. 

Ad Net Zero’s mission is for immediate, collective industry action to help achieve real net zero carbon emissions from the development, production and media placement of advertising by the end of 2030. 

Individuals and companies seeking to support Ad Net Zero and make a real change to address the climate emergency should sign-up at the Ad Net Zero hub.

Simon Francis, Chair of the PRCA Council and Founder Member of social enterprise Campaign Collective, commented: 

With PR and communications professionals increasingly involved in the design, delivery and implementation of advertising spend – especially on social media – it is vital that Ad Net Zero is seen as relevant to the PR community.

We’ve been delighted to be involved in the planning and development of this initiative and would urge all PR and communications practitioners to look carefully at the proposed solutions to drastically reducing the sector’s carbon emissions.

To mark the Ad Net Zero launch, the Advertising Association has published a report by its Climate Action Working Group with Credos, UK advertising’s think tank, which sets out a 5-point plan:

  1. Businesses’ own operations: all companies commit to curtail their carbon emissions, principally by reducing travel, fossil energy use and waste. 
  2. Production: advertisers, agencies and production companies commit to measuring and reducing their impacts with support from AdGreen. 
  3. Media Choice: media agencies commit to the IPA Media Futures Group Climate Charter, working with their clients to develop lower carbon media plans. 
  4. Awards and Events: organisers build sustainability criteria into awards, and plan events to minimise their carbon footprints, especially from travel. 
  5. Using Advertising’s Positive Influence: agencies and clients harness the power of their advertising to promote more sustainable consumer choices and behaviours. 

The PRCA Council will meet today (18 November) to discuss the implications of the launch of Ad Net Zero on the PR and communications industry.

Keith Weed, President, Advertising Association, said: 

The Climate Emergency is the biggest challenge we will face in our lifetimes, dwarfing the current Covid-19 crisis. Action is needed now, and for the long-term, to change the impact we are all having on the planet we live on. We need every company and individual in our industry to join us and become an active supporter of Ad Net Zero. 

Every single one of us has a role to play in ensuring our industry fulfils its responsibilities to future generations and help deliver a sustainable way of life for the 21st century and beyond. It really is a case of All For None.

The new report also recognises that concern over the climate emergency is shared across the advertising sector by individuals and companies alike. Some 71% of people working across the industry are worried about the negative impacts of the industry on the environment; more want their agencies to take climate action. 

James Best, Chair, Climate Action Working Group and Credos, said: 

People across our sector want advertising to be part of the solution to the climate crisis, through the role it can play in influencing corporate policy and consumer behaviour, helping people make more sustainable choices in what they buy, use and do. Our research has shown that for nine out of ten advertising professionals, knowing their organisation is taking climate action would improve their job satisfaction.

Ad Net Zero has the ambition for the UK advertising industry to work together to drive carbon-curbing policies throughout the advertising eco-system that will strengthen and extend the sector’s response to a shared challenge. Practical steps to take and tools to adopt are outlined in the report’s Resources section and online at its special Ad Net Zero hub. Looking forward, Ad Net Zero will be tasked with co-ordinating, monitoring, reporting on and pushing forward these five action areas. 

Anybody interested in the industry’s work around Climate Action should contact the Advertising Association at climate@adassoc.org.uk and can keep up to date on progress at the Climate Action policy page on the Advertising Association’s website. The Ad Net Zero brand was developed for the industry pro-bono by design studio, King Henry, and adam&eveDDB.


Campaign Collective

Campaign Collective is a social enterprise helping charities, social enterprises, public service organisations and other campaigners benefit from affordable professional communications advice and support. With all Members having over ten years experience in a range of communications skills, the Collective helps organisations create, build and deliver effective marketing campaigns. Profits are used to subsidise support for micro charities and community organisations as well as help develop the next generation of communications professionals. Visit campaigncollective.org for more information.

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