Purpose Disruptors partners with Iris and Elvis on new ‘Ecoffectiveness’ methodology

- New framework measures the greenhouse gas emissions driven by advertising and identifies ways to maximise the ‘Return on CO2e’ - Initiative led by Purpose Disruptors network members Ben Essen, Chief Strategy Officer at Iris and Caroline Davison, Managing Partner at ELVIS

Purpose Disruptors, the network of advertising insiders working together to reshape the industry to tackle climate change, has today revealed a new effectiveness metric, ‘Ecoffectiveness’, as it seeks to measure the greenhouse gas emissions driven by advertising.

With many major brands committing to the key business metric of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero, Purpose Disruptors recognised a need to develop a new methodology to measure advertising’s impact on the environment, and begin to answer the urgent question of how to increase profitability while reducing emissions to Net Zero.

At the heart of the framework, which has been led by Purpose Disruptors network members Ben Essen, Chief Strategy Officer at Iris and Caroline Davison, Managing Partner at ELVIS, is an invitation for organisations to calculate and report the incremental uplift in greenhouse gas emissions associated with all sales that are attributable to their advertising.

The new methodology incorporates three key elements:

  1. Transparent reporting of the incremental uplift in greenhouse gas emissions driven by advertising – to create a core data set from where improvements can be tracked
  2. Establishing an industry standard ‘Return on CO2e’ (the revenue generated for every tonne of CO2 equivalent emitted) – to provide a consistent approach that allows for comparison across sectors and campaigns
  3. Building insights by identifying Levers of Ecoffectiveness – a model which adapts Iris’ award-winning evaluation framework to identify where headroom exists and what methods can be used to reduce impact while maintaining profitability

The methodology will be launched at the IPA’s Effworks Global conference on the 15th of October using data from previous IPA Effectiveness Awards winners, with a focus on the 2018 Grand Prix winning case study from Audi. Essen and Davison will share their work to date as open source, inviting ad industry professionals to join the development of the tools and data set. Effworks is free to attend. More details and tickets are available at https://bit.ly/2I2zCW3.

Purpose Disruptors will also be holding a free follow-up event in November that will help industry participants to apply the framework to their own work. Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/purpose-disruptors-resetting-our-impact-24-nov-2020-tickets-124391721989

The announcement follows the recent launch of Purpose Disruptors’ national awareness campaign, as part of The Great Reset movement, which harnessed the power of creativity to encourage people to maintain the new environmentally positive behaviours adopted during lockdown and embrace a ‘new normal’. A comprehensive white paper commissioned by Purpose Disruptors at this pivotal moment in time reports that 77% of people believe it is the advertising industry’s responsibility to encourage people to behave more sustainably.

Jonathan Wise, Co-Founder of Purpose Disruptors and 2008 IPA Effectiveness Gold winner said: “A primary goal of advertising is to sell and yet, as a strategist, I came to realise that the better I was at my job, the more damage I did. This is because a consequence of increasing sales, is the increase in carbon emissions this consumption generates. If we want to celebrate the sales growth we create, we have to take responsibility for the associated carbon uplift. That’s on us. This new initiative provides a simple way for the industry to step up and take our place in helping society and business to reduce our collective carbon footprint.”

Ben Essen, Chief Strategy Officer, Iris, said: “We developed the Ecoffectiveness framework as an invitation to help answer one question: if profitability and emissions have always grown hand in hand, how do we uncouple them? By taking on 21st century advertising’s most significant challenge, we hope the UK can live up to its reputation as world leaders in marketing effectiveness.”

Caroline Davison, Managing Partner, ELVIS, added: “Reducing emissions while maintaining profitability is a challenge that all of us in the industry must take responsibility for. It’s going to be hard, and difficult decisions definitely lie ahead, but we need to face into them and do it together in a way that is honest, consistent and open for all. This practical framework sets out how we can start to do that and helps agencies and clients to see how their success metrics can evolve accordingly.”

Sue Unerman, Convenor of Judges for the 2020 IPA Effectiveness Awards and Chief Transformation Officer, MediaCom, said: “This initiative is crucial. We have all taken private responsibility for our behaviour in terms of climate change. We must now incorporate effectiveness measurements in terms of our business behaviour. A sustainable future is what the IPA effectiveness effort is all about, and this is a more than welcome addition to our thinking.”

John Grant, author of Green Marketing and winner of the 1992 IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix, said: “What I think is important about this initiative is that transparency in itself drives responsible behaviour. In the 1980s, Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) legislation required US companies to quantify emissions of pollutants like lead. With no further intervention these emissions fell 46% over the following 11 years, leading the EPA to declare it “one of the most effective environmental programs ever legislated by Congress”. With today’s Net Zero targets, analysing ROC (Return on Carbon) should become commonplace. And marketers need to get their heads around this. Awards recognising ‘Ecoffectiveness’ provide a nice carrot. While Unilever asking suppliers to declare CO2 emissions on every invoice is a pretty big stick!”

Source: Purpose Disruptors

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