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Radio - the 'greenest' choice

Sustainability is a topic increasingly on everyone's lips. As a passion for the need for change in favour of the planet's future grows stronger among consumers, there will be a great move towards sustainable advertising.
Source © Eric Nopanen  Radio advertising has by far the lowest CO² emissions of all media
Source © Eric Nopanen Unsplash Radio advertising has by far the lowest CO² emissions of all media

What is sustainable advertising?

Broadly speaking sustainable advertising considers the carbon footprint and other negative environmental impacts associated with a specific advertising medium. Interestingly, it is radio advertising that has by far the lowest CO² emissions of all media.

Measuring a medium’s carbon footprint can be a somewhat intricate measurement. Essence Global’s Carbon Calculator provides an estimate of the carbon generated by a media plan based on the channels, formats, and devices to be used. It also provides an opportunity to compare scenarios to understand the carbon impact of different iterations of a plan.

Using the annual electricity emission factors for each medium in each market, the Carbon Calculator then applies an algorithm to compute the carbon footprint of a live campaign.

Radio top performer

According to the Essence Global Carbon Calculator, traditional radio and digital audio are among the top-performing environmentally positive media channels, with radio taking the top spot.

Traditional radio is the most environmentally friendly medium, due to low device energy consumption.

Results by Mediaplus Green-GRP calculator, which calculates the CO² emissions of advertising campaigns, also show that radio advertising has the lowest CO² emissions. In fact, the German radio trade board, Radiozentrale, recently highlighted radio’s great climate-credentials in a new campaign.

Sustainability important to consumers

For consumers, even in South Africa, the issue of sustainability is evidently important.

The Target Group Index survey indicates that close to 80% of the radio audiences, which Mediamark represents, are prepared to make lifestyle compromises to benefit the environment.

It was also revealed that these consumers are prepared to pay more and support brands that are actively finding ways to go green by limiting practices that pollute the environment, and that offer eco-friendly products.

Brands can mirror these consumer commitments by taking a more sustainable approach to their advertising campaigns.

The prioritisation of channels will need to balance efficiency and effectiveness, with sustainability considerations overlaid with business needs.

Recognising a need for change

International trends suggest that the industry itself recognises the need for change. Ad Net Zero, which is backed by the Advertising Association in the UK, found that seven in 10 people working in the media industry are worried about the negative impact the industry has on the environment.

The good news is that the global shift towards ‘going green’ provides marketers with the opportunity to be a force for positive change.

About Patricia Saunders

Patricia Saunders, head of analytics & insights, Mediamark

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