Advertising trade bodies unveil climate crisis training for marketers

The first-of-its-kind course will provide training in sustainability for advertising and marketing professionals, as the industry works to achieve net zero emissions in advertising operations by 2030.

Ad Net Zero, the climate crisis initiative led by the Advertising Association (AA), ISBA and the IPA, has launched a training course to provide marketing and advertising professionals with the knowledge and skills to drive genuine and positive change.

The ‘Essentials Certificate’ is a 10 hour online course delivered via five modules, available to all professionals in the UK and internationally through the IPA’s training platform. It offers trainees practical techniques to measure and reduce the carbon emissions related to the work advertising produces, outlines the role the industry can play in instigating consumer behaviour change and explains how to avoid ‘greenwashing’.

After a final multiple-choice exam, participants will receive a digital certificate of completion and a membership to the IPA (MIPA). The course costs £120 per person as standard, with a 50% discount for Ad Net Zero supporters.

The content of the course has been devised by Ad Net Zero and a specialist team of more than 20 leading advertising and sustainability experts from across the industry, including Unilever UK and Ireland’s executive vice-president and general manager Sebastian Munden, and NatWest’s group chief marketing officer Margaret Jobling.‘Sustainability is a journey’: Marketers on their mission to go green

“The pressing challenge of climate change requires a system-wide and fundamental response from our industry to change the way we work in order to change the work we make,” says Munden, as he encourages brands, agencies, media owners and ad tech firms to take part in the course.

“This new training course arrives at the right moment for us to take responsibility as individuals to learn and put into practice techniques and approaches that are all geared towards positive climate action.”

The launch of the initiative comes one day into the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop26), which is being hosted in Glasgow.

Recent research by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) found half (49%) of marketers are weary of working on sustainability marketing campaigns due to fears their company or clients will be accused of greenwashing.

Indeed, in September the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced that it would “crack down” on misleading environmental claims in ads. A month later, Alpro fell foul of the tightened rules for claiming its dairy alternative products were ‘good for the planet’.