Conscious Advertising Network Launches Climate and Sustainability Manifesto

Dan Meier 18 May, 2022 

The Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) has launched a Climate and Sustainability manifesto to position the environment at the core of business practices in advertising.

Created alongside Friends of the Earth, Havas Media Group, SSE, Ipsos and Virgin Media O2, the manifesto joins six others by the organisation, aimed to inspire conscious choices among advertisers.

Quoting an IPCC report emphasising that time is running out “to secure a liveable future,” CAN stressed the importance of responsible advertising content and processes, “avoiding either creating or funding climate misinformation and disinformation.”

The coalition called climate change “the biggest challenge of our generation” and emphasised the role of advertising in shaping public attitudes, adding that “we must act now.”

“It’s important that advertisers are doing everything they can to ensure we meet our goals under the Paris Climate Agreement and keep warming to under 1.5 degrees,” said CAN co-founders Harriet Kingaby and Jake Dubbins. “That means considering the impact of everything we do and make, including what our media spend funds and the norms that we project on screen.”

Yes we CAN

A 2019 report by Purpose Disruptors revealed advertising to be responsible for an average 28 percent uptick to the annual carbon footprint of each person in UK. In 2020 Avaaz identified more than 100 brands advertising on YouTube videos actively promoting climate misinformation. In light of those figures CAN’s urgency seems inescapable, and their latest manifesto marks a key move in promoting sustainable practices in advertising.

There is also plenty of appetite within the industry to undo some of that damage. Last year, CLICKON found 71 percent of UK brands planning to deliver carbon neutral advertising in the next five to 10 years, with 32 percent by the end of 2023. Meanwhile 79 percent said delivering sustainable advertising was an important message to relay to their customers.

That outlook is reflected in consumer attitudes. An Ipsos poll showed that 60 percent of shoppers consider themselves to be ethical or sustainable consumers. “People do want change, but they aren’t completely sure what actions they should take to have the greatest impact,” according to the manifesto. By following CAN’s guidance on content, production and investment, brands can help sow the seeds of change.

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