Ad Net Zero, an organization focused on reducing advertising’s carbon footprint, has appointed a lead for its U.S. chapter amid an expansion in the market, according to a news release. The move comes as the industry comes under increasing fire for its role in climate change stemming from both the mechanics of running ads and partnerships with fossil fuel clients.
John Osborn is a veteran of the agency space, previously serving as CEO of OMD US and BBDO New York. The executive is tasked with encouraging U.S. marketers to adopt and build on a five-point Ad Net Zero program that could offset some of their environmental impact, along with designing strategies tailored to a region that wields significant media influence.
The U.S. is estimated to represent roughly 40% of the world’s total advertising spend, per figures cited in the release. The global ad industry as measured by media investment was valued at about $594.32 billion in 2020, with the top 20 markets comprising the lion’s share of that pie. While brands and agencies have implemented individual policies around carbon emissions reductions, calls have grown louder for systemic action.
Osborn will have a presence at upcoming trade shows where Ad Net Zero is promoting its work to industry stakeholders, including Advertising Week New York and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Masters of Marketing Conference. Ad Net Zero hosts its own global summit Nov. 9-10.
The group got its start in the U.K. two years ago as the result of a collaboration between local trade bodies the Advertising Association, Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. In June, it unveiled plans to scale internationally, with the European Union and U.S. as its initial priorities due to their large chunk of spending activity.
Ad Net Zero has received endorsements from almost all of the agency networks — Dentsu, Havas, Interpublic Group, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP among them — as well as marketers like Unilever and platforms including Meta Platforms and Google. The pick of Osborn and further development of a U.S. chapter is supported by trade bodies like the ANA, 4A's, Interactive Advertising Bureau and the World Federation of Advertisers.
Ad Net Zero’s five-step program is fairly broad to fit the needs of particular brands and markets. It involves: getting an organization’s house in order; curbing emissions from ad production; curbing emissions from media planning and buying; curbing emissions from awards and events strategy; and using advertising to encourage more sustainable consumer behavior and purchasing decisions.