In a context of climate change, advertisements for the most polluting products are criticized. They represent a significant part of the advertising sector’s revenues. What are the solutions to support the awareness of an entire sector without destabilizing its economy?
The Citizen’s Climate Convention had proposed a ban on advertising for products that emit the most greenhouse gases. The bill on combating climate change aims to ban advertising in favor of fossil fuels. However, a large part of the economy of this sector relies on these advertisers (eg automotive).
In this context, the government has entrusted Agathe Bousquet, President of Publicis Groupe in France, and Arnaud Leroy, President of the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME), with a mission to reflect on the commitment of actors in the advertising sectors in a process of voluntary commitments. A report advocating the formalization of a “climate contract” was submitted to the government on June 10, 2021.
The climate contract
In order to formalize the climate contract with players in the advertising industry, the rapporteurs define five thematic areas:
- measure the actions and engage in their management in order to comply with the objectives of the Paris Agreement;
- produce and design editorial or advertising content with regard to their ecological and societal footprint;
- promote editorial programs for information or awareness of the environment and climate issues in order to limit overconsumption;
- control and monitor the implementation of voluntary commitments in order to establish their credibility and allow equal treatment between the different actors;
- raise awareness and train employees on issues and good practices.
The report insists on the “measurement” and “control” axes in order to give credibility to the individual and collective initiatives of a sector with a “contrasting reputation” . The exercise is all the more ambitious as the diversity of size and activity of the companies concerned is accompanied by a difficult economic context.
An annex to the report is given a model climate contract, based on these five axes.
Starting point, stage points
The report is intended to be the starting point of a project , while underlining the awareness and the willingness to engage, shared and expressed, of the various actors.
In addition to the definition of the five essential axes of the climate contract, the following are also recommended:
- the definition of a common methodology for carrying out carbon assessments and trajectories;
- the establishment of a governance platform and framework to help make commitments;
- the publication of an annual report on the climate contract, steered by the CSA.
This annual report will be a first progress report at the end of 2021. A more detailed report will have to be produced at the end of 2022, with improvement commitments until 2030.
The year 2023, two years after the first implementation meeting, will be an important stage in the project. This will involve verifying in a documented manner whether the voluntary commitment process is working.