A new initiative is being launched to unite the advertising industry in its effort to introduce zero carbon emissions and zero waste to the process of ad production.

AdGreen, previously a voluntary project aimed at eliminating the negative environmental impact of advertising production, will become a fully funded venture with full-time staff, and an operational budget to give it the tools to establish it as an industry-wide standard, according to the Advertising Association.

AdGreen is being launched by the Climate Action Working Group, led by the Advertising Association, in partnership with the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, and is backed at launch by comms agency adam&eveDDB, APR (Advertising Production Resources), Havas, MullenLowe, Sky, Unilever and WPP.

The organisation has two core aims: to measure advertising production carbon footprints to allow the project team to understand which activities have the biggest impact, and to help the industry to reduce emissions and achieve zero carbon – zero waste.

It will offer the UK advertising industry a carbon footprint calculator incorporating data from over 140 countries, as well as specialist training, and a renewable energy buy-in scheme. A certification and a high-quality offsetting scheme are also planned.

Meanwhile, Unilever’s vice-president of marketing for home care, Tati Lindenberg, has explained how the FMCG giant is leveraging one of its most successful campaigns to communicate the brand’s concrete action on the environment.

The brand’s ‘Dirt is Good’ message, which has been attached to Persil in the UK and similar products in other markets for 12 years, will be updated for the Greta Thunberg age and used to highlight the brand’s commitment to spend €1 billion in order to cut fossil fuel use in its detergents.

“Although people love the idea of ‘Dirt is Good’, the way we’ve been executing the purpose has been a bit shallow and out of touch with reality,” Lindenberg told The Drum.

“It’s always been about individual kids benefiting from getting dirty,” she said, pointing to the fact that the creative has come to be synonymous with one young protagonist doing “something heroic” and reaping the rewards of freedom and discovery.

“We got stuck two generations back somehow. When we look at the [popularity and impact] of someone like Greta Thunberg among young people, we can see that kids now want a voice and contribute to the world and society in general.”

The result is a new campaign, ‘Real Change,’ reports The Drum, which sees Persil take on the new ethos of ‘Dirt for Good’ in a global campaign designed to communicate its brand purpose and the action it’s taking on the environment.

“This is about a change in society and looking beyond our business’s books,” said Lindenberg. The view aligns with that of Unilever’s chief executive Alan Jope, who last summer announced he would “dispose of brands that don’t stand for something”.

Sourced from Advertising Association, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff