GroupM rolls out framework to reduce ad-based carbon emissions

GroupM rolls out framework to reduce ad-based carbon emissions

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GroupM is introducing a newly developed global carbon measurement framework to measure and reduce ad-based carbon emissions. The framework is a new set of measurement methodologies designed to break down the media value chain and define the necessary data inputs to measure carbon emissions across all five stages of the advertising lifecycle for all formats, channels and markets in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s standards.

According to GroupM, this is a major step the agency is taking to deliver on its commitment to decarbonise its media supply chain by 2030, as announced by WPP in April 2021. The framework provides the parameters, data inputs and methodology necessary to power what GroupM believes to be "the industry’s most robust global carbon calculator", which will be available to GroupM clients later this year and will allow media planners to map the total carbon footprint of advertising campaigns from development to delivery.

To develop its decarbonisation framework, GroupM worked with independent specialists in carbon measurement and incorporated input from clients, industry partners, third parties, and experts across GroupM and WPP. In addition to providing standards and processes for measuring carbon emissions, the framework also outlines steps advertisers can take immediately to accelerate their decarbonisation efforts. These include buying fewer but higher-quality ads, cutting the complexity of the supply chain by reducing intermediaries, and buying low-carbon media products.

To encourage the establishment of industry-wide standards for carbon measurement across channels and formats, GroupM will make the methodologies and processes supporting its new framework available to industry bodies and organisations committed to decarbonizing the media supply chain setting a target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

(Read also: Opinion: 5 ways to decarbonise your advertising production)

Christian Juhl, GroupM’s global CEO said its clients want to prioritise media investment with publishers and platforms that are actively decarbonising their media supply. "While we applaud the many steps taken to quantify ad-based carbon emissions in recent years, having different standards across companies, platforms, and markets is delaying meaningful action," Juhl said.

He added that by sharing this global framework, GroupM hopes to begin aligning the industry behind a consistent set of standards that will create clear goals and incentives for rapidly decarbonizing the media supply chain.

Jérôme Amouyal, media performance insights director, AXA said: “We have seen that our industry has an increasing number of calculators, but not an aligned reduction plan. It is important that we as a collective get behind a robust, actionable solution that accelerates decarbonisation. We believe that market approaches such as GroupM’s will lead the way in educating, informing and enabling vital change in the industry. We’re looking forward to working with them to have the right framework to inform our future buying decisions.”

Sebastian Munden, chair, Ad Net Zero, added: “Action 3 of the Ad Net Zero action plan is all about getting the whole industry to the point where we can accurately track, report and therefore reduce the carbon footprint of all media channels. This is no easy task, especially as we scale the efforts of Ad Net Zero globally. We would need an agreed standardized approach that works for all parts of the ecosystem: advertisers, agencies, media and tech. This move by GroupM is hugely welcome, and a very timely development to help deliver those aims."

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