I feel like I deserve a Grand Prix for not calling this blog ‘Cannesversations’. One day they will give out Lions for dad jokes and my place in history will be secure. Reviewing my notes from my second day with the Department of International Trade and the Advertising Association’s UK trade mission to Cannes Lions 2022, I realised I had taken down snippets from the best chats I’d had throughout the day. And there had been a lot. But a common thread was sustainability in advertising.
The theme for the day was set early when I started Wednesday morning being inspired at a panel cheekily titled ‘For offsets sake we are all in this together!’
The common theme I noted down was ‘just start somewhere’. The world of sustainability can feel overwhelming and intense, however if you start to make those changes in your personal life, then you can echo them out into your work.
One of the easiest things we can do as an industry is to have the conversation at the beginning of any journey. Work it into your infrastructure, talk to the building’s landlord, mention it in pitches, event suppliers, when you’re onboarding clients. It’s a step you must take before the beginning, because if it’s an afterthought the risk and expense of greenwashing are getting bigger and bigger.
The good news is if you first build it into your culture, it soon becomes second nature.
Carbon offsetting was discussed, and although it’s something everyone should be doing, it’s not a be-all and end-all solution. We have to think of it in the same way as recycling – you need to reduce first.
We want to be taking action and changing behaviour, and carbon offsetting allows us to just excuse our behaviour. It’s paying someone else to clean up your own mess.
We can also echo this and be effective through our creativity. If you’re advertising a product through a party scene, don’t show single use plastics within that scene. Not only making the sustainable changes to create the advert, but also inspiring and normalising those behaviours in the media we create.
In response to the prompt, ‘where will we be in five years and what will success look like?’ a closing point has stuck with me:
“In the future we’re not going to be talking about ‘how are we sustainable?’ It’s just going to be.
In the same way you wouldn’t say, ‘We had a really safe stunt shoot’ – of course you did? It’s a no-brainer, part of the set way of working. Sustainability will be the same.”
Anything is Possible’s AdGreen training and accreditations in sustainable advertising have been key in letting us lead the way here. We don’t have to let the climate crisis limit what’s possible when it comes to client growth and effectiveness.
Do your bit to tackle the big issues we face. Get in touch with us and make your advertising more sustainable.