IPA Media Climate Charter to help measure and reduce carbon impact of media plans

New carbon calculator component allows media agencies to measure carbon footprint of media plans.

The IPA has launched its Media Climate Charter that provides media agencies with the tools and resources, including a new carbon calculator, to support their transition to a zero-carbon future.

Housed on a new IPA hub: https://ipamediaclimatecharter.co.uk/, the Charter offers a pathway for media agencies to demonstrate their commitment and action in response to the climate crisis.

One of the core tools on the site is the carbon calculator for media plans. This new tool will allow the industry to measure the overall carbon footprint of the campaigns that media agencies plan and buy for clients across all channels, identifying where they need to reduce the climate impact of running clients’ campaigns. It does this by calculating the carbon emissions associated with a media plan based on the media mix, and uses a range of data sources, including DEFRA electricity emissions factors and device power outputs and energy intensity. to determine the carbon footprint of a media plan at channel level.

The Charter addresses one of the five core areas identified by the cross-industry Ad Net Zero initiative, point 3, to ‘curb emissions from media planning, buying and distribution.’ Alongside the calculator, it provides additional guidance via reports, research and recommendations for industry initiatives such as AdGreen and #ChangeTheBrief, to help reduce the carbon impact of agency operations and influence the work that media agencies produce for clients and aims to advance the industry's sustainability goals through an ongoing programme of research, education and events.

It has been created by the IPA Media Climate Action Group and funded and supported by the IPA Media Futures Group and other leading IPA media agencies. Signed-up agencies at launch account for over £7 billion in 2020 media billings according to Nielsen. This represents almost 90% of billings from Campaign’s Top 50 Media Agencies.

Says Chair of the IPA Media Climate Action Group, Mindshare’s Rob McFaul: “There are multiple pressures on our industry regarding the climate crisis which makes this Charter so imperative. Firstly, there’s client pressure with many clients having committed to climate action and set ambitious targets including expectations from all of their supply chain to have similar targets, including their media agency partners. Secondly, our industry talent is awakening to the scale and urgency of the climate crisis. Young talent, born with a deep awareness of climate change do not wish to enter an industry that is not fully directing its creativity and strategic firepower to make a positive difference, and more experienced talent also wants to contribute to a brighter future for their children and grandchildren. And crucially, our reputation is at stake if collectively our industry continues to remain neutral in response.

The UK government has set a net-zero target by 2050. Many other business sectors have committed to collective action. For an industry that prides itself on being future facing, we have a clear opportunity to help bring a brighter future forward.

Says IPA President Julian Douglas: “The science is clear. We need to turn fast and hard if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and mitigate the worst effects of global warming. Incrementalism is the enemy here too. This requires every single one of us to respond and transition. But we can’t succeed acting alone - we need fully committed industry-wide coalitions that drive the change we need to see. The IPA Media Climate Charter is a response to that challenge for collective action. It sets the pathway for sustainable transformation, making accessible to all charter members the tools and resources to make a genuine impact at their own agency for the collective benefit of all.

Most importantly, Climate Charter members will join a community of motivated media agencies, which together can solve problems, share lessons and inspire the 10x change that we know is required.

Says Sebastian Munden, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Unilever UK & Ireland, Advertising Association Vice Chair and Ad Net Zero Chair: "Unilever has committed to have net-zero emissions from our products from cradle to shelf by 2039 and we’re already making good progress.

However, for the world to reach Net Zero by 2050, every part of our value chain will need to play its part, including the media in which we advertise.

"It’s wonderful to see the IPA Media Climate Charter launching, I hope this helps our industry to rapidly shift to decarbonisation pathways. Our trials of the IPA carbon calculator have allowed us to make even more informed media choices and, equally importantly, have triggered constructive conversations with media owners and agencies on how we can work together to create a more sustainable media landscape."

For any questions about the Media Climate Charter or to any IPA media agency interested in joining the Climate Charter (available via a tiered pricing structure), contact [email protected]

Join the IPA Media Climate Charter


IPA Media Climate Action Group and creators of the Charter, include:

  • Mindshare - Rob McFaul
  • the7stars – Anuschka Clarke
  • Mediacom – Helen Brain and Pauline Robson
  • PHD - Frith Hofmeester
  • Rapport - Jack Monaghan
  • MGOMD - Tim Pritchard
  • Havas - Tony Mattson

The IPA Media Climate Charter is funded and supported by the IPA Media Futures Group and other leading IPA media agencies:

  • All Response Media
  • Carat
  • Essence 
  • Goodstuff
  • Havas Media
  • Hearts + Science
  • Initiative UK
  • iProspect
  • MediaCom
  • MindShare Media UK Ltd
  • OMD
  • PHD Media
  • Spark Foundry
  • Starcom
  • the7Stars
  • The Kite Factory
  • UM
  • VCCP Media
  • Wavemaker
  • Zenith
Last updated 01 May 2024