Sustainable advertising addresses the
carbon footprintand other negative environmental and social impacts associated with the production and distribution of advertising materials. A growing number of companies are making a commitment to the reduction of their environmental impact associated with advertising production and distribution.
Advertising's environmental impact
Print advertising impacts the environment due to the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere as a result of the production and distribution of print media. Factors include the sourcing and production of paper, petroleum-based ink, solvents, plastics and adhesives used and the fossil fuels burned in the manufacturing and distribution of newspapers and magazines. Digital media has impacts due to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacturing and operation of servers and datacenter devices, networking devices and client computers as well as the e-waste impacts of these devices at the end of their useful lives.
In 2004 over 7 billion metrics tons of
carbon dioxideequivalent greenhouse gases associated with print media advertising were emitted into the atmosphere by the United States. [ [http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/index.html EIA - Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the U.S. 2006-Overview ] ] In 2005 U.S. advertisers spent over $65 billion dollars on print media advertising and created over 250,000 ad pages. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/25/business/media/25adco.html NY Times Advertisement ] ] A single ad page run in a popular consumer magazine can represent as much as seven tons of carbon dioxide emissions when supply chain factors associated with papermaking, printing, logistics and landfill disposal or incineration of post-consumer and unsold media are taken into consideration. According to a recent " New York Times" article quoting David J. Refkin, director of sustainable development for Time Inc., a single copy of " Time" magazine results in the emission of .29 pounds of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gasses.
Corporations such as
General Electric, Timberlandand Wal-Martare making substantial commitments to developing and marketing sustainable products and business practices. Victoria's Secrethas recently agreed to reduce the impact of its catalogues by using recycled papers and stopping using paper from endangered forests.
In 2006 jewelry company John Hardy began a pilot bamboo reforestation project on
Nusa Penida, a small island off the coast of Baliwhere the company’s workshops are located. The primary object is to sequester carbon dioxideby planting bamboo, a long-lived, rapidly growing woody perennial grass. In order to offset the company’s advertising footprint of 451 metric tons of CO2, an area equivalent to four football fields will be planted.
Institute for Sustainable Communication
* [http://www.sustainableadvertising.org John Hardy reforestation project website]
* [http://www.sustaincom.org Institute for Sustainable Communication]
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