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 organization to inspire conscious choices among advertisers.
Quoting an IPCC report emphasizing that time is running out “to secure a liveable future” CAN stress 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 emphasized the role of advertising in shaping public attitudes, adding that “we must act now.”
“It’s important that advertisers do everything they can to 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 our media spend funds and the norms we project on screen.”
Yes we CAN
A 2019 report by Purpose Disruptors revealed advertising to be responsible for an average 28% uptick in the annual carbon footprint of each person in the 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 damage. Last year, CLICKON found that 71% of UK brands plan to deliver carbon neutral advertising in the next five to 10 years, with 32% by the end of 2023. Meanwhile, 79% 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% of shoppers consider themselves 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.