GroupM reveals advertiser coalition for media decarbonization

GroupM reveals advertiser coalition for media decarbonization

WPP’s GroupM has announced the creation of a client coalition with the goal of accelerating the decarbonization of the world’s media supply chain.

The announcement comes as world leaders meet in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for COP27, and follows GroupM’s proposal of a media industry carbon measurement standard in July.

Founding members of the Media Decarbonization Coalition include GroupM and its agencies Mindshare, Wavemaker, and EssenceMediacom, as well as clients such as Audible, AXA, Bayer, Danone, Deutsche Telekom Mars, Paramount, Sony, and Tesco.

Collectively, these companies represent $10bn in global advertising investment. GroupM is the media-buying arm of advertising agency holding company WPP.

GroupM global CEO Christian Juhl described the creation of the coalition as “a clear message that decarbonization and supply chain sustainability is a top priority for media decision makers and the brands and businesses they represent.”

A “steering committee” made up of representatives from coalition companies and chaired by GroupM global chief innovation officer Krystal Olivieri will govern and set the agenda for the coalition’s activities. Committee representatives will participate in workstreams, share learnings from their companies’ sustainability activities, evaluate initiatives executed inside and outside the coalition, provide feedback on proposed vendor solutions, and pursue opportunities for “collaborative innovation”.

Of the consortium, Olivieri stated: “By creating a coalition to focus on the decarbonization challenge, we will provide an important forum for collaboration across companies and channel our shared energy into new technologies and solutions that will make advertising one of the cleanest industries in the world.”

GroupM is asking non-clientele to reach out and join the coalition in order to “benefit from opportunities to pioneer best practices and principles, peer-based learning, early insight into vendor and partner initiatives, and advance their efforts to achieve their own net zero and decarbonization goals.”

The coalition states it is committed to adopting a shared approach to measuring ad-based carbon emissions and will work with GroupM, and the media industry more broadly, to test and improve upon the previously proposed framework.

It has further committed to “insist on accurate, standardized emissions reporting by platforms, publishers, and media suppliers” and advancing and incentivizing “efforts across the industry to reduce the total amount of carbon created by the placement and consumption of advertising.”

The Media Decarbonization Coalition’s formation is modeled after the success of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), which GroupM co-founded in 2019 to better focus the industry on brand safety controls and guidelines.

The need to act on climate change within the advertising community was separately highlighted this week at Ad Net Zero’s annual conference, where GroupM global head of partnerships and managing partner Kieley Taylor urged media owners and agencies to put rivalries aside, share best decarbonization practices, and establish a common carbon measurement.

In the US, Ad Net Zero USA director John Osborn said that recent efforts to approach US brands, agencies, and partners to work to decarbonize were received warmly, but he did not offer details on the UK-based initiative’s progress in American markets. Still, Osborn pleaded: “we’re in the communications business. Speak up.”

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