Through dentsu agency Merkle in the UK, we participated in the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) – a voluntary coalition of over 70 organisations, set up to ensure that industry ethics keep up with the technology of modern advertising.

The CAN mission is to highlight the conscious choices advertisers and agencies can make to ensure good practice. It addresses advertising issues such as sustainability, ads targeting children, fake news, hate speech and ad fraud.

Across all sectors of the advertising industry, modern technology has advanced so quickly that ethics haven’t been able to keep up. As a member of CAN, we want to change that.

Now more than ever, brands, agencies and AdTech are perfectly placed to change consciously both the way they operate and the content they produce, resulting in communication that is better for all. Ultimately, CAN aims to embed frameworks into brands, agencies and suppliers – across the supply chain – for ethical and sustainable action in marketing and advertising activities.

We apply CAN principles and action through a dedicated cross-department team of CAN Champions, who look to weave key actions and themes into day-to-day working and operations. All their involvement is voluntary (almost 2,000 hours volunteered to date), and each team member brings a specialist area of capability or expertise – such as programmatic media, search, social or analytics.

With our involvement in CAN, we have actively embedded ethical and sustainable frameworks into our ways of working and the delivery of our services. This has positively impacted a number of our clients, by enabling us to give them a much better understanding and control over their media spend – helping them to meet their own commitments and initiatives around sustainable and ethical media.