Lead Forensics

Whatever COP26 brings, the ad industry knows what it must do

02 November 2021


Finally, after months and months of build-up, world leaders are congregating in Glasgow and Rome with the goal of thrashing out a blueprint to avoid catastrophic changes in the climate.

The challenge is clear: limit the warming of our planet to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. This is the non-negotiable figure scientists say represents a cliff edge: step beyond it, and swathes of our precious planet will fall to the waves. Or wildfires. Or unendurable heatwaves. The litany of threats makes for a pretty harrowing lunchtime read.

Alas, climate change in some form is a reality we can’t escape. Millions are already being impacted. Yet fatalism, this is not. On the contrary, if we can all band together and place an emphasis on the NOW, we have every chance of ensuring the world our children and grandchildren inherit is one they can prosper in.

We cannot rely on governments to lead us out of the mire, however. If the last few decades are anything to go by, COP26 will be rich in rhetoric and short on clear, actionable solutions.

Instead, pressure must be built from below – and here’s where ad folk have a huge part to play.

When it comes to shaping public discourse, brands, agencies and media owners wield significant power. We have the capacity to create narratives, mould attitudes and guide shifts in behaviour. As an industry we are sometimes accused of abusing this power for profit – now is the perfect time to demonstrate that we are in fact allies, not villains.

And the signs look promising. A recent article in Campaign revealed that 77% of UK agencies have set themselves the goal of being net zero by 2030, which corresponds with the science-based target for halving global emissions by the same year. All said they were reducing plastic use, while 90% plan on cutting energy consumption in the office and 58% aim to reduce business travel.

As far as Guerillascope’s plans go, our immediate goal is to lower Scope 1 and 2 emissions by a minimum of 75% come the end of 2022; by 2023, our target is to ratchet this up to 100%, while collaborating with partners to drastically reduce scope 3 emissions. The company’s mission is to be net positive by the turn of the next decade.

We additionally want to work with our clients in developing and executing campaigns that authentically encourage small lifestyle changes and green purchasing decisions on a big scale, harnessing the reach of media channels such as TV, radio, social and out-of-home to inspire the actions required of each and every one of us as living organisms on this planet. We are all in this together, whether you’re a business owner, media planner, sales executive or consumer.

Pressure will rightly build on those who drag their feet or resist change, but we must also be honest and open about the challenges we face. We cannot claim to have all the answers or wash over the things we find difficult; the journey facing us will be one of constant learning and evaluation. If we are proactive in taking the fight to climate change and collaborative in our approach, anything is possible.

We look forward to keeping you updated on our own progress over the coming months – we’d love to hear how you’re getting on, too?

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