When it comes to climate action, there is no room for compromise. The climate crisis is already threatening life as we know it. At dentsu, we’re committed to the highest level of climate ambition.
What is Net Zero?
Net zero means reducing the emissions we add to the atmosphere whilst increasing the amount we remove. Globally, emissions added must halve by 2030, and reach Net Zero by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.
To avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must not exceed 1.5°C of warming globally. Worldwide industry and governments are making commitments to slash carbon emissions and create a sustainable balance. We must accelerate our transition to a net zero world.
Our dentsu Consumer Vision research shows that consumers are acutely aware of this fact, with 8 in 10 people saying they believe climate change will have irreversible consequences. They expect businesses to take urgent action.
Our Net Zero target
- Near- term - By 2030 we will reduce our absolute emissions by at least 46.2% across our entire value chain compared to 2019
- Long-term - By 2040 we will reduce our absolute emissions by at least 90% across our entire value chain compared to 2019
- Remaining emissions - We will neutralise the remaining emissions (10%) through credible and verifiable greenhouse gas emissions removal projects
What you need to know about dentsu’s Net Zero target
One - It has been validated by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi)
Dentsu is one of the first companies in the world to have its target recognised and formally validated by the SBTi. We have both a verified short-term and a long-term target. Under the SBTIi Standard, no company can reach Net Zero until they have achieved deep decarbonization of 90-95% before 2050.
Two - It covers direct and indirect emissions
As part of the validation process, we undertook a detailed screening assessment and set targets on various categories of emissions. This ensures we’re covering both our direct emissions and the indirect emissions associated with our supply chain.
Three - We will only meet Net Zero when we have reached our deep decarbonisation target
Offsetting emissions is no longer enough, and neither is reducing emissions by half. We must go further. Science-based net-zero targets require long-term deep decarbonization targets of 90-95% across all scopes of emissions before 2050. Dentsu has committed to reduce its emissions by at least 90% by 2040 and only then go further to neutralise the remaining emissions before claiming ‘real’ Net Zero.
Four - We will reduce emissions from flights by 65% by 2030
This will be an important step towards Net Zero emissions. Whilst we recognise that business travel will still be required in many parts of the business, there is an opportunity to travel smarter; considering the mode of transportation, choice of suppliers, or the routes taken. There will also be adaptation in the airline industry over time to reduce emissions.
Five - We are already making this real. Dentsu’s own operations are powered by 100% renewable energy
In 2020 we reduced our scope 1 and 2 emissions by 39%. In 2016, we became signatories to RE100, committing to procure 100% renewable electricity across our global operations by 2020. In 2020, we achieved this goal, switching to renewable electricity in all markets where it is possible to do so*. We continue to be powered by renewables in all countries in which we operate in support of our commitment to RE100, and our transition to net zero.
At dentsu international we have been calculating and reporting our emissions since 2015. In 2020, we completed a Scope 3 screening assessment, using methodologies consistent with the World Resources Institute’s Reporting Standard to inform our science-based targets. 97% of our emissions sit within Scope 3.**
Getting to Net Zero
We have set out on an exciting journey to radically decarbonise our entire value chain over the next decade. We are doing this through these key areas:
We will reduce emissions from flights by 65% by 2030. We are leveraging corporate travel policies and increasing our use of leading collaboration technologies to facilitate remote meetings and reduce our reliance on flying. But we know that sometimes nothing is the same as meeting in person. So, where flying remains necessary, we are encouraging behaviour change and have secured leading data solutions to analyse and then choose more environmentally friendly modes, airlines, and routes.
We will work directly with our key technology partners and suppliers that share our leading climate ambitions. Where possible we will collaborate with such partners to reduce emissions and stipulate the requirement to source 100% renewable electricity.
Research and advertising
We are gathering more granular data. We will set an environmentally preferred policy which includes a list of preferred suppliers with emission reduction commitments and establish ongoing dialogue with such material suppliers on data collection and emissions reduction initiatives. We will also ensure that procurement contracts stipulate the requirement to source 100% renewable energy.
Buildings and fleet
We will reduce emissions from our buildings and fleet by at least 46.2% by 2030. We are embedding environmental considerations into each stage of decision-making, from property selection through to business-as-usual operations. We will ensure all dentsu buildings meet the leading environmental criteria in key markets, both in existing buildings and any new buildings going forward, and we will implement a global energy strategy through which investments in energy efficiency can be focused. In support of our commitment to RE100, we will continue to be powered by 100% renewable electricity in all markets where we operate and advocate for the long-term production of renewables in all markets.
As with research and advertising, we are gathering more granular data. And we will set an environmentally preferred policy which includes a list of preferred suppliers with emission reduction commitments and establish ongoing dialogue with such material suppliers on data collection and emissions reduction initiatives. We will also ensure that procurement contracts stipulate the requirement to source 100% renewable energy.
Many of our clients have set their own science-based targets and are looking for ways to accurately report and reduce media emissions in line with these targets. For technical reasons media emissions sit outside of dentsu’s science-based target, however we are committed to helping our clients calculate and reduce these emissions to achieve their own Net Zero targets. Find out more about our efforts to help our clients reach Net Zero below.
Where we cannot decarbonise directly, we will work to neutralise any residual emissions through investing in projects that sequester carbon from the atmosphere and deliver co-benefits aligned with dentsu’s wider Social Impact strategy and delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Many of our clients have set their own science-based targets and are looking for ways to accurately report and reduce media emissions in line with these targets.
Making carbon reduction a reality for media and advertising requires insight across the whole value chain, from production to placement and distribution.
For media placement and distribution, digital media has been dentsu’s initial focus as it accounts for a large portion of our client’s ad spend (48% of our ad spend in 2020), and this is only expected to grow (dentsu Global Ad Spend Forecasts). In 2019, dentsu partnered with some of the world's most innovative media companies – including BBC and Sky - to launch DIMPACT, a web-based tool that calculates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with digital media content.
We’re combining industry initiatives such as DIMPACT with in-house innovation to develop solutions that work for our clients. In recognition of the need to calculate media emissions for our clients, dentsu is piloting a Digital Media Carbon Calculator to accurately report on these emissions and provide verifiable data for reporting. In the future this will allow clients to understand the emissions linked to their media choices and make proactive informed decisions about the type of digital advertising used.
Dentsu’s efforts to reduce emissions in production are centred in our involvement with the UK’s AdGreen initiative, an advertising collaboration to eliminate the negative environmental impacts of production. Dentsu sits on the AdGreen Advisory Board.
Reporting against our targets
We provide full and transparent disclosure of our progress to reaching Net Zero through CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). In 2019, we were awarded an A- rating, reflecting our strong performance in implementing our climate strategy to date. We also disclose environmental data via EcoVadis and were awarded a silver rating in 2020. We are signatories to the UN Global Compact and RE100, and we are listed on the DJSI and FTSE4Good.
*For nine markets (Russia, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Argentina) accounting for 9.7% of our remaining electricity demand, we purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) from adjacent countries. RE100 supports this approach as interim measure while the coalition works to improve supply in these markets. Our continued support of RE100 will enable us to advocate for the long-term production of renewables in all markets.
**Under the new SBTi standard our Scope 3 inventory has been updated (October 2021) from our 2020 Social Impact report. The SBTi is very clear about the inclusion of “indirect use-phase emissions” within corporate climate targets. Indirect use-phase emissions are generated by products that only consume energy indirectly during use over their expected lifetime. This is where media planning, buying and distribution sits. Indirect use phase emissions do not count towards a company’s Scope 3 science-based target, however we ae committed to helping our clients calculate and reduce these emissions.