As the dust settles on the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the impact that advertising has on the environment is now firmly in the spotlight.
Research published by Purpose Disruptors during COP26 highlighted that the advertising industry was responsible for adding an extra 28% onto the annual carbon footprint of every single person in the U.K.
The good news is, there seems like genuine commitment to take responsibility and action on this issue within the advertising community. As the wider sector looks at ways to become more environmentally friendly, it could perhaps do a lot worse than look to out-of-home (OOH) for inspiration. We are, after all a sector that has always led the way when it comes to green innovation. ,
A force for good
OOH has a long and proud heritage of actively enhancing the urban environment. It’s arguably one of the best media channels not only to deliver on net zero goals, but also to positively impact local and national infrastructure and communities.
While we naturally talk about the wonderful examples of creativity we see across poster sites, it’s rare that we talk about what’s really going on behind the scenes. It’s impossible to miss advertising on bus shelters in towns and cities, yet few are aware that the ad pays for the cleaning and maintenance of those shelters. In fact, according to a survey by Outsmart and PwC, 50% of OOH revenue goes back into public infrastructure, local authorities, or the wider economy.
From a sustainability standpoint, OOH is leading the charge. From Pluvo advertising columns that suck viruses and pollutants from the air, to bus shelters that provide habitats for bees, poster sites that harvest rainwater, to solar powered sites and billboard vinyl made from recycled ocean plastic -- OOH’s green revolution has been turbo-charged in recent years. Likewise, many OOH operators have also committed to go carbon-neutral and send zero waste to landfill.
With 88% of the public saying they want brands to help them be more environmentally friendly (according to study by Futerra), and sustainability increasingly at the core of many brand strategies, advertising has the power to be a force for good. The time has now arrived to be bolder when it comes to capturing the public’s imagination with green advertising innovation.
An advertising tool for greater environmental change
According to the latest Advertising Association and WARC Expenditure report, OOH spend is set to increase by nearly 30% in 2022. With sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and increased footfall as people get out and about, now is the time to harness this powerful advertising tool for greater environmental change.
A huge part of the medium’s charm is that it is at the heart of our towns, our cities, and our communities. Being such an integral part of our urban environment has always come with the responsibility to take sustainability seriously, and it’s a duty that our sector has never shirked.