Advertising Business Group partners with Ad Net Zero to reduce emissions from UAE’s advertising sector

Published on March 8, 2024

Today, the Advertising Business Group (ABG), a leading self-regulatory non-profit organisation, has announced a strategic alliance with Ad Net Zero, a global initiative committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the advertising sector, signifying the launch of a pioneering initiative aimed at decarbonising the UAE’s advertising sector and encouraging sustainable behaviour change through advertising.

The announcement, which was made at Dubai Lynx, MENA’s premier festival of creativity, underscores a collective commitment to bolstering the markets’ role as the regional epicenter for driving sustainability within advertising and marketing initiatives across vital industries. By partnering with Ad Net Zero, the ABG aims to help the advertising industry contribute to the UAE’s net-zero goals and promote responsible consumption and production. The launch of the chapter will serve as the regional hub for MENA and is a decisive move towards shaping a more sustainable future for the advertising industry in the region.

Ad Net Zero is set to launch in the UAE with its founding supporters Google, META, Unilever, Group M, MCN, Dentsu, Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Media Group, all taking the lead in sustainable leadership and adding to the wider list of ANZ global supporters*. This commitment underscores the industry’s dedication to pioneering responsible advertising standards and shaping a sustainable future.

Commenting on the milestone Khaled AlShehhi, Executive Director of Marketing and Communication, UAE Government Media Office, stated: “With 2023 and 2024 declared as the Years of Sustainability by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the successful culmination of COP28 in Dubai, the message is clear: Sustainability is not optional. The UAE proudly launches Ad Net Zero, marking a pivotal moment in our journey towards sustainability. This initiative, a project close to my professional journey in the UAE, is not just a response to a global climate emergency; it is a bold statement of our commitment in the advertising industry. Ad Net Zero empowers us to leverage our industry’s unique influence to drive meaningful change. With this launch of Ad Net Zero, it’s imperative to remember that everyone has a crucial part to play. This isn’t just an initiative for the advertising industry; it’s a universal call to action. Every individual, business, and sector can make impactful contributions toward our sustainable future. Let’s unite in this vital effort.”

Sebastian Munden, Chair of Ad Net Zero, said: “We are pleased to see the reach of Ad Net Zero grow with the launch of the UAE Chapter, which will act as the regional hub for MENA. It takes motivated people across the sectors to get momentum for launch. The ABG’s public commitment for a more sustainable future in advertising is a vital step and connects them to the global community and the Ad Net Zero tools to help facilitate this outcome.

“Motivating citizen behaviour change at scale was a topic that came up in many discussions I was part of at COP 28 in Dubai. A more sustainable and globally connected approach, from how ads are made to what they promote, can only be a good thing. There’s no time to lose.”

The ABG recently unveiled its comprehensive sustainability agenda that aims to empower the industry to take direct action and reduce its negative impact from both advertising emissions and content. The agenda focuses on building a more sustainable sector through emissions reduction, closing the industry wide sustainability knowledge and skills gap, and empowering the industry to combat greenwashing practices.

Leyal Eskin, Vice President, Head of Personal Care Business GCC Countries at Unilever and Chair of Advertising Business Group commented: “The Advertising Business Group’s (ABG) alliance with Ad Net Zero marks a pivotal moment in driving environmental sustainability for the UAE advertising industry and supports the UAE’s Net Zero commitment. This collaboration is a testament to the ABGs overall commitment in driving responsible advertising business practices and will help shape a sustainable future for the UAE’s advertising and marketing industry.”

The advertising sector needs to take responsibility for a sustainable future, through both reducing its operational emissions and through creating work that leads to a more sustainable future.

Ad Net Zero supporters, global, and at a national level, are required to set public science-based net zero targets. This can be done through either the Science Based Targets initiative, a commitment to the UN Race to Zero (including via the SME Climate Hub), The Climate Pledge, or other comparable alternatives. Supporters need to measure and report their progress annually. If supporters do not already have net zero targets in place, they are required to establish them within 15 months of joining Ad Net Zero. Ad Net Zero and ABG are committed to guiding supporters during the initial phase. For the first three months, both teams will offer comprehensive assistance, including information, training, and upskilling, to facilitate a smooth start to the measurement journey.

ABG invites companies within the advertising and marketing industry to become Ad Net Zero supporters. By committing to ANZ, companies can play a leading role in setting responsible advertising standards, positively shaping the future of the industry. The initiative offers a clear five-point action plan and guidance for organisations to achieve net-zero GHG emissions within the advertising sector. Following the initial learning period, supporters will have 12 months to measure their emissions accurately and set their public science-based net zero target. Guidance and support will be provided to assist supporters in this crucial endeavor.

Source: Press release

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