Marketing Report
GARM and Ad Net Zero announce global framework to measure media's carbon emissions

GARM and Ad Net Zero announce global framework to measure media's carbon emissions

Ad Net Zero (ANZ) has published the first iteration of its Global Media Sustainability Framework - a series of voluntary industry standards to improve consistent, comparable measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from digital, television, print, audio, outdoor and cinema channels.

The new framework has been supported by a collection of the world’s largest advertisers, as well as the world’s 6 largest advertising holding companies, major media owners, tech companies and trade bodies, many of whom have contributed to its development.

The framework is the outcome of a 12-month, GARM-led global engagement effort to build a series of common measurement processes and includes the first versions of formulae, as well as tools to help efficiently collect emissions data from companies throughout the media supply chain. Up until now, there has been no consistent, agreed industry-wide measurement framework.

The goal is to help every advertiser and their partners understand and take positive action to reduce the carbon impact of their media plans – in line with Action 3 of the Ad Net Zero Action Plan.

The work has been supervised and assessed for consistency with best carbon accounting practices by a Climate Science Expert Group including representatives from PwC, Brain Oxygen, Climate Impact Partners, BL Evolution and top climate experts from Unilever, Reckitt, and Diageo. A key foundation for the development of the formulae used in the framework has been provided by the Oneframe Initiative in France, with specific components provided by SRI, Alliance Digitale, SNPTV and UPE.

The first versions of formulae being released are for TV, digital and OOH (representing 81% of global 2023 ad spend according to Magna), with the formulae for the remaining three media types - audio, print and cinema - to follow. It is expected that the formulae will continue to be refined.

In addition to the formulae for six media channels, the new framework provides the industry with:

A common enterprise level data request form for more efficient data collection of company data from media sellers, with more specific channel level data being required in the framework over time.

A disclosure form for the industry to understand the scope, data rigour and scientific validation of media sustainability solutions providers.

A voluntary monitoring template to help GARM and ANZ learn about the adoption and effectiveness of the frameworks.

Sebastian Munden, Chair, Ad Net Zero: “Today’s release of standard calculations for the carbon footprint of major media channels is a significant milestone for Ad Net Zero and the global ad industry. They are the starting point for creating a common currency for global voluntary adoption: a base for calculating reduction and accelerating progress. Concerted efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of media should go hand in hand with the efforts to support more sustainable choices to change the way we work and change the work we make. The ad industry has the business opportunity of a generation to be part of the solution.”

What next?

The next phase of work for GARM and Ad Net Zero will be to establish an efficient system to transfer emissions data between buyers and sellers, followed by validation of media GHG data using agreed industry voluntary standards. Uptake and adoption will be tracked, with the first results published in Q2 of 2025.

How each part of the global advertising industry can play a key role in driving this framework forward:

Advertisers are asked to check that the partners who measure GHG emissions from their media activities are using the Global Media Sustainability Framework.

Agencies can ensure their own tools or partners are using the Global Media Sustainability Framework and make GHG emissions a consideration for all media plans.

Media owners can supply the requested data to advertisers, agencies and other solutions providers in as much granularity as possible, continually improving the quality of this data over time.

Rob Rakowitz, Initiative Lead, Global Alliance for Responsible Media: “We are proud to support Ad Net Zero and help the group to create an essential foundation for the industry to benchmark their activities. We are hopeful that this work stemming from our uncommon collaboration will allow industry stakeholders to pursue a larger transformation in voluntarily reducing emissions stemming from media campaigns.”

How the framework was created

Six cross-industry working groups – supported by the Responsible Marketing Agency (RMA) - have produced this comprehensive set of voluntary standards to help reduce varying approaches to measurement, data and reporting. This approach has ensured widespread support and action across the industry, with 70% of responding organizations saying they plan to implement the voluntary standards in ways that are relevant to their media operations.

Bob Liodice, CEO, ANA: “The ANA is proud to support the marketing industry's collective advancement toward a common measurement framework for emissions reduction through Ad Net Zero and GARM. We will continue to collaborate with industry associations, brands, and partners to lower marketing’s environmental impact through the Global CMO Growth Council and ANA Sustainability Committee.”