Every year, Earth Day sparks global action. So how could this year’s action affect companies?

Today, on Earth Day President Biden called leaders from the major economies together for the Leaders Summit on Climate and announced an ambitious emissions target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030. Setting the US on a path to be Net zero by no later than 2050. Leaders worldwide are considering their own commitments. The UK enshrined a new target in law to cut emissions by 78% by 2035, and Japan pledged to reduce emissions by 46% by 2030.

We anticipate a wave of policy change and business commitment off the back of these announcements, requiring companies to fundamentally transition their business models. Brands must proactively demonstrate environmental leadership through marketing communications, concrete carbon targets, sustainable products and packaging, supply chain transparency, a circular economy model and a shift towards net-zero emissions.

At least 21% of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies, representing nearly $14 trillion have Net Zero commitments (ECIU, 2021). And since the beginning of the year, over 140 companies have set a science-based emissions reduction targets, including PepsiCo, Adobe, BMW and most recently Burger King (SBTi).

At dentsu, we believe that for business growth to be truly sustainable, we must accelerate the transition to a low carbon future and reduce the impact of climate change by becoming a Net Zero emissions business by 2030. Our Net Zero target is underpinned by an emissions reduction target approved by the Science Based Target Initiative, who define best practice in emissions reductions in line with climate science. In 2020 we became the first in our industry to become powered by 100% renewable energy, meeting our commitment to RE100.

We cannot underestimate the impact of Earth Day this year. In 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilising 200 million people in 141 countries worldwide, and since then it has sparked a wave of environmental legislation, including the Clean Water ad Clean Air Acts, and the Endangered Species Act, without which life would be very different. On Earth Day 2016, leaders from 175 countries signed the historic Paris Agreement, a binding treaty on climate change. This commits signatory countries to limiting temperatures to well below 2 degrees and pursuing efforts to limit temperatures below 1.5 degrees.

This year, the impact is likely to be widespread, as world leaders feel the pressure ahead of the G7 and G20 summits, culminating in COP26 in Glasgow this November. Where stronger climate collaboration has been cited as a key goal by COP26 President Delegate, Rt Hon Alok Sharma.

As more global companies commit to reducing emissions, we recognise the opportunity and responsibility we have to help our clients decarbonise their media spend, and we are committed to objectively and transparently assessing the emissions associated with our placement of digital advertising.

We partnered with Bristol University’s Department of Computer Science along with some of the world’s most innovative media companies, including Sky, ITV and BT to launch DIMPACT. DIMPACT is a web-based tool that calculates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with serving media content – downstream from the point of content production, including the end user. Our collaboration with DIMPACT is part of a wider workstream to interrogate the emissions associated with digital advertising on behalf of our clients which we will be rolling out for clients later this year.

For more information, please see our Sustainable World page.

We will bring together our people, partners and clients to build a better future.