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‘Media Decarbonization’ Will Have An Impact On Where GroupM Places Ad Buys.

When choosing its media partners, GroupM intends to look beyond just the audiences they deliver and the outcomes they produce. The world’s largest buyer of advertising is moving ahead with plans to consider the carbon emissions of the media companies it places advertising with.

The agency giant said Tuesday it will release the findings of a one-year analysis of methods currently being used by the ad industry for determining the impact media has on carbon emissions with hopes that it will become an industry standard by the end of 2022. Speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival, Ollie Joyce, Executive Director of GroupM’s Media Decarbonization Program, said he would like to have a working draft by the end of the year that can be continually improved upon, according to MediaPost.

Joyce, who also serves as Global Chief Transformation Officer at GroupM’s Mindshare agency, didn’t disclose any specifics of GroupM’s findings. But he characterized the advertising industry’s current media decarbonization efforts as a “calculator arms race where everyone is developing different tools and they’re coming up with broad estimates.”

That lack of consensus is standing in the way of “massive change across the industry,” Joyce said. “The reality is no one has defined exactly what we’re including with the supply chain.”

GroupM plans to “move investment money around” to media companies with lower carbon footprints. “That’s what we believe will happen and that’s what we’re seeing growing demand from clients,” Joyce explained.

Fourteen months ago, the agency giant announced a new commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions in its operations by 2025 and across its entire supply chain by 2030.   That includes the placement of advertising in media channels from television and press to radio and online. In making that commitment last year on Earth Day, WPP said it was the first in its industry to include media in its net zero commitment.

Now Joyce says GroupM’s commitment is for a 50% reduction of carbon emissions in its media buys. “It’s not an offset, it’s a 50% absolute reduction,” he emphasized.

As MediaPost reports, there is anecdotal evidence that “those figures are possible, but we just want to be able to enable it across the whole industry,” he added.

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