7 Key takeaways from Climate Week

The good news from Climate Week is that it is becoming a very big and important event, which shows that more people are aware of the need to reduce our collective carbon footprint. More people are participating from across industry and government. The portion about advertising remains relatively small, mostly because company leaders are not aware of the advertising emissions footprint of their company nor do they grasp the value of advertising to educate and inform consumers.

Here are a few key themes from the great sessions that did focus on advertising.

1. We must work to beat the drum about sustainability within the advertising community itself (brands, agencies, tech companies and media companies). Awareness of the problem is still low, and many people do not even realize that advertising has a carbon footprint. Education is critical at this stage.

2. Company leaders aren't aware of the role of advertising in sustainability as part of their overall emissions and ability to change behavior. The emissions caused by advertising are virtually invisible to anyone outside the advertising community. Again, we must educate and inform. At the same time, we can show that we are making a difference that improves the bottom line.

3. Companies are focused on greenwashing, but positive improvement should also be a focus. We must push past fear and focus on the things that we can do to reduce emissions and inform consumers.

4. Collaboration is critical to our success. Brands and agencies want to have more opportunities to talk and share about solutions and share what works.

5. There is valuable research out there, we just need to use it. There is a lot of good consumer research that shows people's expectations from brands and products, as well as their spending patterns driven by sustainability claims. Companies should work towards meeting these expectations. Our own industry also has enough information to leverage to increase awareness and urgency.

6. Sustainable products do not have to be sold on sustainability. One theme that was talked about a lot was that for a small section of the population, sustainability is a value driver. For many people, they are skeptical. There was a lot of talk about how sustainability can be built in, rather than giving consumers a reason to choose. It needs to become the norm.

7. Events themselves need to reduce waste and minimize their footprint. We should minimize disposables and single use products, focus on vegan and vegetarian options, reduce giveaways and reduce the scope and size of signage. Minimizing travel needs to also be factored in.

Sep 28, 2023