Sustainable Advertising with Matt Bourn and Sebastian Munden

Matt Bourn and Sebastian Munden, authors of the new book, “Sustainable Advertising,” share insights on how agencies and brands can transition to more sustainable practices. Starting with a five-point action plan, our conversation also explores the role of strategy and research in developing sustainable advertising, and how agencies can evaluate partners’ sustainability efforts. Listeners save 25 percent when ordering directly from – use code BIGEYE25 at checkout.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant: Coming up in this episode of IN CLEAR FOCUS:

Sebastian Munden: I suppose we want to challenge in the book the idea that the only way to sell the sustainable economy is on sustainability. 

Matt Bourn: We’ve drawn on lessons from the film and TV industry, to really look at the smartest ways that you can create brilliant advertising content, but to do that with a much-reduced carbon footprint and a much-reduced impact on the environment.

Adrian Tennant: You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, fresh perspectives on marketing and advertising produced weekly by Bigeye, a strategy-led, full-service creative agency growing brands for clients globally. Hello, I’m your host Adrian Tennant, Chief Strategy Officer. Thank you for joining us. Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection and raise awareness about climate change and other pressing environmental issues. The first Earth Day was held on April 22nd, 1970, and it has since become a globally recognized event with participation from over 190 countries. Over the past 12 months, several of our selections for the Bigeye Book Club have examined marketing and advertising professionals’ roles in promoting the transition from greenhouse gas-emitting practices to more sustainable approaches. We featured Sandy Skees’ “Purposeful Brands” last May; Solitaire Townsend’s “The Solutionists” in June; Mark Shayler’s “You Can’t Make Money From a Dead Planet” in December, and Paul Randall and Alexis Eyres’ “Sustainable Marketing” just a couple of months ago in February. Now, with Earth Day being celebrated this month, our April selection for the Bigeye Book Club is “Sustainable Advertising: How Advertising Can Support A Better Future,” by Matt Bourne and Sebastian Munden. The book informs every stage of the advertising process, setting out a clear action plan for agencies, brands, media owners, tech platforms, and individuals. The authors have significant experience and expertise in addressing the ways ads are made and distributed, as well as the necessary changes in consumer behaviors that communications can inspire. Sebastian Munden is the Chair of Ad Net Zero, an initiative committed to decarbonizing the advertising industry and helping every industry promote more sustainable products and services. During his three decades at Unilever, culminating in his role leading the UK and Ireland business, Sebastian championed sustainability across the industry. Today, he also serves as chair of the Waste and Resources Action Programme, or WRAP, for short. Sebastian’s co-author, Matt Bourn, is the Director of Communications for the UK’s Advertising Association, with over 25 years of experience steering the industry towards impactful climate action. Matt blends strategic communications with environmental sustainability within the international advertising sector in his parallel role at Ad Net Zero. To discuss their new book, I’m delighted that Matt and Sebastian are joining us today from London, England. Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS!

Matt Bourn: Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Sebastian Munden: Yeah, great to be with you, Adrian.

Adrian Tennant: Thank you. Well, Seb, you chair Ad Net Zero, and Matt, you’re Director of Communications. Now, I mentioned it briefly in the intro, but could you explain what Ad Net Zero is and its mission?

Sebastian Munden: Yeah, sure. I mean, Ad Net Zero – we kind of say it’s here to change the way we work as an industry and change the work we make. Two very important, connected, but different objectives. And it was set up about five years ago now under the auspices of the Advertising Association in the UK, together with fellow industry associations for the advertisers and the advertising agencies. So it’s a cross-industry initiative. It began in the UK, we now have chapters in the US, and we have chapters in other countries like Ireland, New Zealand. We just opened a chapter in the Middle East in the UAE. And really, what we’re here to do is help all the companies, from advertisers through to agencies, production houses, and media owners, to change the way they work, decarbonize the process of advertising, but at the same time put advertising to work to accelerate a more sustainable economy.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, what prompted you to write “Sustainable Advertising” with Seb? 

Matt Bourn: So I’m Comms Director. I view my role as riding shotgun rather than being the person that’s on stage. But when speaker requests come in, and somebody can’t do it, like the Chief Exec can’t do it or step can’t do it, I’ll step in. And I was speaking at an event in London and unbeknownst to me, there was a commissioning editor from Kogan Page in the room. So out of the blue, the following day, I got an email saying, “Have you ever thought about writing a book?” which I was very excited to receive. And really we sort of then developed the pitch from there. It’s such a big subject, it seemed logical and natural to work, you know, with a co-author to really sort of help put all of the structure together, and Seb, with all of his experience, was the perfect co-author, really to take 120,000 raw words and sharpen them up into the sort of 85,000 or so that are in the book now.

Adrian Tennant: In your book, you outline a five-point action plan for sustainability in advertising. Can you summarize these actions for us? I’ll start with you, Seb.

Sebastian Munden: Yeah, so first of all, why are there five? I mean, the working group that predated the public announcement of Ad Net Zero really grappled with how you distill all these enormous kinds of actions and responsibilities into something simple and memorable. And that’s why we have the five actions. Of course, they vary enormously in size, and maybe if we had our time again, we’d kind of organize it slightly differently. But if we take them in order, Adrian: Action one is really focused on measurement because if you don’t know what your current carbon emissions are from what you’re doing, you can’t really create a plan to tackle them. So what we say is get your house in order. And actually, for those listeners who love and understand the Scopes 1, 2, and 3, our “Get Your House In Order” covers all three scopes and thinks about the footprint of the business, energy, travel, which are usually in advertising, the main footprint generators. So action one: Get your house in order, measure, set targets, reduce.

Matt Bourn: And then action two – I’ll jump in – is once as a business, you’ve got to grips with that, you’re then thinking about, “Okay, I’m going to make an ad.” You know, all of the production process of making that ad, in whatever form it might be, has an environmental impact. So how do you account for it? And what are the techniques that you use to essentially reduce the from making that ad? And we’ve drawn on lessons from the film and TV industry, to really look at the smartest ways that you can create brilliant advertising content, but to do that with a much-reduced carbon footprint and a much-reduced impact on the environment.

Sebastian Munden: Action three is thinking about the distribution. You know, you’ve made your ad, and then you distribute it through media, and it really focuses on what’s the carbon footprint of media and distribution. Actually, the answer is a lot. Some of the big agency groups have tried to estimate this, and all the estimates I’ve seen show that this is probably over half the total carbon footprint of the advertising industry itself, and therefore, it’s a key priority to work on. And really, what people are looking for here is one way of defining and measuring the footprint of each channel. Because if you’re a media owner, at the moment, you’re being bombarded by lots of questions from people trying to do the right thing in agencies and clients asking, “Well, what is the carbon footprint of your channel?” So the idea here is to try and define the calculation or the formula for that. And Ad Net Zero is collaborating with GARM who’ve really been extremely successful thinking about advertising safety and bringing that now to advertising sustainability. And both of these fit under GARM’s title about responsible media. Action 3, then is to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of media.

Matt Bourn: Then action four: We turn our attention there to our industry. Like many of the service industries, advertising thrives on competition and thrives on networking, and coming together. And many people in advertising strive to win the biggest awards and to be seen speaking at the biggest events. So we look at the role of awards in helping encourage and celebrate more and more sustainably successful work. And we also look at the role of best practice in running events sustainably, and all of the lessons that we’ve learned – from the periods of time when through lockdowns, we couldn’t travel to events and how you run those virtually. But also all of the techniques that the event industry itself is developing to essentially decarbonize and lessen the impact of their events because we do believe that people do need to come together. So yes, virtual meetings work, but in person meetings run in the most effective and responsible way are still a hugely important part of a successful industry.

Sebastian Munden: If you think about Actions 1 to 4, they all add up to change the way we work. Action five is to change the work we make. And this is about using the powers of advertising to accelerate a sustainable economy and promote more sustainable brands, products, and services. And if you like, this is the most important, but it would come across as greenwashing if we hadn’t got all the other things in place. So I think it’s very important as an industry to underpin our role in making the sustainable economy more appealing with the work in the previous actions to get our own business and supply chain to be more sustainable. And actually, action 5, if you like, is the inspiration in many ways for most of the case studies in the book, “Sustainable Advertising,” is about: Using the power of advertising to reframe better choices to citizens and make people feel that they’re not sacrificing or somehow losing out, but actually making great choices in all the categories and sectors that they want to purchase.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, when we were chatting about the topics we might discuss today, you mentioned the importance of redefining creative excellence in the context of climate change. So how should agencies and brands approach this?

Matt Bourn: So I think, you know, certainly over the next few years, that it will be hypocritical of ourselves in the industry to celebrate work for creative excellence without being, to also put into context the impact of that work in a time of climate change. And actually, truly successful work will be work that is both commercially and sustainably successful. So, what we’re encouraging, and what a lot of the work that Ad Net Zero is involved in, and a lot of the people that we spoke to in the book, is really about bringing the classic commercial metrics – you know, brand awareness, share of voice, competitive share, product sales, service sales, customer feedback – all of those kind of metrics that you would see in every advertising campaign. And coupling those with the sustainability metrics that are being driven by the sustainability part of the business, so that might be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, that might be water savings, that might be a reduction in landfill, that might be a shift in people’s behavior away from a single purchase to a reuse or a rental. All things that we know are essentially building a more sustainable economy and supporting jobs in sustainable business models. And to us, the success of a great advertising campaign should be one that is both commercially and sustainably successful and should be able to evidence both. If you can’t evidence the sustainability part of it, we think that the work is going to become even more and more problematic, really, as an industry to celebrate given all of the different pressures that we’re all going to be feeling, whether that’s regulatory pressures or customer pressures, you know, or the reality of seeing the impact of climate change impacting on people’s lives.

Adrian Tennant: Advertising is about influencing hearts and minds. So, what role can strategy and research play in developing more sustainable advertising and consumer behaviors?

Sebastian Munden: Well, this is actually one of my favorite topics, Adrian. I mean, I think this is at the heart of putting the power of marketing and advertising to good use to kickstart that more sustainable economy. We were very fired up by a Kantar study from last year called “Are Brands Failing Their Customers on Sustainability?” where it really started to probe and tackle some of the tropes that sustainable products are more niche, more premium. And we really felt that this was probably because there’s just not enough first-hand understanding of most consumers. Another study, the Media Bounty study called “The Persuadables” said most consumers are persuadable. You just have to find the right ways. So I believe that strategy and research is going to be enormously important in moving beyond a fairly kind of lazy assumption that we can just market sustainable products and services to the 15 to 20 percent of people who want to buy them as such to actually marketing more sustainable products and services to everybody. And I think this is a really important point in the end, which you have to move from trying to sell things on an eco benefit to actually on non-eco benefits. And what you have to do is make sure that the products themselves are playing their part in decarbonization and pushing more sustainable behaviors, and then sell them on all the things that products are sold on usually – you know, they’re easy to use, they make things better or easier or provide more fun or entertainment. All of these things can be done. So I suppose we want to challenge in the book the idea that the only way to sell the sustainable economy is on sustainability. And for that, strategy and research really needs to sort of dig in and figure out how to address some of these markets to much, much bigger groups of citizens.

Adrian Tennant: Sounds like planners have got their work cut out, but thanks Seb, we’ll bear all of that in mind. There are a ton of case studies, of course, in the book. Matt, what are some of the most effective steps you’re seeing brands and agencies taking to make their advertising more sustainable?

Matt Bourn: So I think there are lots of different examples when you look across different categories. If I was to pick out one that sort of stood out for me, because as I interview people for the book, you know, I interview people in various different states of mood, depending on whether or not they were comfortable and happy with the work they were doing in advertising, or they, were seeing it as problematic and contributing to the acceleration of climate change. So the best sort of anecdotal example, the most rewarding I’ve had was through a conversation with a French team that had been working on the promotion of train travel as an alternative to internal domestic flight routes that were banned by the French government. So, less than two hours, you need to take the train. So the campaign was all about highlighting the appeal of train travel, but the way in which the ads were made was a fully circular ad production. So, you know, the set and the materials were borrowed, and they were returned afterwards. So everything about it, from the way the campaign had been thought about, the motivation for it, the objective, the results that they were aiming for, the production of it, was all anchored around the result of this is going to be a much more sustainable outcome that people will benefit from through the experience of the train journey, but also the results of that as well. So that’s just one example. And for me, there are so many, emerging business model examples of where people can find really rewarding ways to do things that they enjoy, or things that they need to do. And we as an industry can help make those desirable, aspirational, easy to access, and actually create that work in really smart, circular, supportive ways as well. So, you know, that’s kind of my hope with the book is we get to the point where we are an industry where everyone feels that the work that they’re making and the way in which we’re making the work is actually contributing to this because I think that is genuinely rewarding.

Adrian Tennant: Let’s take a short break. We’ll be right back after this message.

Adrian Tennant: Each month, in partnership with our friends at Kogan page, the Bigeye Book Club features books by industry thought leaders. Our selection for April is “Sustainable Advertising: How Advertising Can Support A Better Future,” by Matt Bourn and Sebastian Munden. 

The book is a manifesto for the advertising industry, highlighting why we need to change the way we work and to change the work we make. 

Sustainable Advertising” incorporates best-in-class case studies and practical guidance, from the ways ads are made and distributed to the products, services, and behaviors they promote. 

You can save 25% on a print or electronic version of this month’s featured book using the exclusive promo code, BIGEYE25. This code is valid for all Kogan Page titles, including pre-orders, and their free paperback and e-book bundle offer. Shipping is always complimentary to the US and UK when you order directly from Kogan Page, and it supports the authors as well. 

So to order your copy of “Sustainable Advertising” go to ​

Adrian Tennant: Welcome back. I’m talking with Matt Bourn and Sebastian Munden, the authors of the new book, “Sustainable Advertising,” which is this month’s selection for the Bigeye Book Club. Matt, how does the Sustainable Advertising Manifesto guide advertising professionals towards sustainability?

Matt Bourn: So this was something that Seb and I really sort of came to towards the end of the book as we reviewed all of the content, and we said we think that [to] really sort of put all of this together, we need a very clear articulation of what we think anybody who works in a sustainable advertising industry should sign up to. And it’s a step-by-step, to-the-point Manifesto. I won’t talk through all of the manifesto points in it, but essentially, we’re to put the awareness and the thinking about the importance of sustainable outcomes, and sustainable behaviors, and sustainable processes right at the heart of everything advertising does. It is going to be important for people working in our industry to be climate literate. To understand the science. To understand the rules around making environmental claims correctly. To understand the behavior science that Seb has alluded to earlier, which is you won’t always need to say, “Buy this because it’s better for the planet,” in order to have a result that is better for the planet. So it works its way through all those things, including tying all of this together into a genuinely rewarding career where people can marry their personal passion with their professional skills – you know, the creative storytelling, the technology, the strategic thinking, the kind of understanding of people’s behaviors – but aligning that with things that we know are incredibly important to people as they come to work in the industry; that they want to see work that is in support of a sustainable future. And they have increasing concerns and problems and maybe even make decisions not to work on things that aren’t in support of a sustainable future.

Adrian Tennant: So no longer having to make a choice between profit or planet?

Matt Bourn: No, absolutely. I think we’re seeing emerging business models in all parts of the economy and really smart ways to align those. I think we could spend hours debating whose responsibility it is to accelerate those even faster, whether that’s private investors, whether that’s government regulators, whether that’s NGOs putting enough pressure on, whether that’s the employees of a business doing that. I think ultimately the pressure is going to be coming from everywhere, and it will be coming because of the reality of what we are living through and what we’re going to continue to live through while we solve this.

Sebastian Munden: Yeah, Adrian, just to add a point to that, you know, there are a lot of similarities between the Western world’s quest for productivity and the features of a more sustainable economy. Because in the end, they both revolve around creating more value with less stuff and, you know, the people that we have today. And so these two things can work very much in hand and not in opposition because effectively creating more value with less stuff is at the heart of what we need to do to create a sustainable net-zero economy, and it’s also the kind of the trigger for productivity increase. So, I believe very passionately, and it’s one of my big motivations in writing the book with Matt, is that people need to kind of think of these two things not in opposition, but actually as two brilliant outcomes of the same set of practices and behaviors.

Adrian Tennant: Hmm. Seb, you led Unilever’s UK and Ireland business, and in the book, you describe your experience as a young brand manager working on the introduction of a sustainable product and experiencing firsthand how transitioning to more sustainable practices can be challenging. So how do you think consumer brands can work with their agency partners to manage this transition? 

Sebastian Munden: I think one of the advantages of the sector is that marketers are very much co-determiners of the product, and in listening to customers, can modify and improve the product. And I think this is extremely powerful because It allows marketing a front row responsibility in shaping more sustainable products and services. So I think the first thing is agencies can help, and particularly planners – thinking of you, Adrian – can help the brands think about how would the improved product be more appealing to their users, to the people who buy it, and “What obstacles do we need to overcome?” “How would we need to talk about it?” So I think the first point here is the product has to be open for improvement, and good searching questions need to be asked about the supply chain of those products is responsibility across a variety of measures, including carbon. But not only thinking about sustainable agriculture, thinking about living wages and the sort of employment status of the people in the supply chain. All of that can be reshaped, which could be extremely powerful. Once those products have been created, then making them as appealing in the marketplace and talking about their strengths in the right way to the right audiences, I think is really important. What I learnt – two things, really. One is never to let perfection be the enemy of progress. And secondly, I think very importantly these days, about using skill around environmental claims and making sure that there’s no accidental, inadvertent greenwashing, but on the other hand, also not to duck it. And I think well-trained agencies who really understand and are literate and fluent in environmental claims can help clients navigate that with confidence. So I think those three things. You know, the reformulating the product, really interrogating its supply chain, thinking about how to appeal to a broader group of customers and helping brands think through the way they claim, I think that’s going to be really important. And certainly, at my time in consumer products, those were all things that really made a difference.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, various regulatory and voluntary initiatives related to reporting corporate greenhouse gas emissions exist in the United Kingdom and the United States. Which ones should we be paying close attention to?

Matt Bourn: So this is something that we tackle right at the start of the book. It’s really interesting, you know, the advertising industry loves the sort of acronyms and the various different descriptions, whether that’s KPIs, ROIs, you know, SEO, PPCs, all those kind of things. And as you immerse yourself in the world of sustainability, you find similar Phrases and acronyms. And so in the book, we put a “useful terms and phrases” right up front I would say that really everything starts with the Paris climate agreement – the Paris agreement, you know – trying to do everything that we can to keep the global warming limits to well below two degrees, preferably the 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the COP every year is really about sort of keeping that on track. So keeping up to date with COP and the most recent one, COP28, you know, there was a very significant announcement about the transition away from fossil, which I think is a really important step and something that we need to see happening as fast as we can, particularly in the way the advertising industry can deal with that as well. But then you have lots of standards which come into place. But I guess the most important next one is then the science-based targets initiative and what’s asked certainly of supporters of Ad Net Zero in the UK, globally, and as it rolls out around the world is to make sure that you have a plan with science-based targets in place and that you’re publicly reporting on that. And then we have lots and lots of different reporting standards that are coming through. I think the interesting thing that we are seeing is that with every development, there is more sophisticated understanding and better reporting coming through. So whether you look at one of Britain’s biggest commercial media owners, ITV, their latest impact report is a really excellent way of demonstrating the kind of reporting that we think is going to be commonplace and required, you know, legally and financially.

Adrian Tennant: Seb, how can those of us who work in advertising agencies evaluate potential creative production or media partners’ sustainability efforts and carbon footprints?

Sebastian Munden: Yes, I mean, of course, this is what everyone’s trying to do up and down their supply chain, in the same way that advertisers are doing that of you as agencies. And I think this has really changed the nature of procurement really in the advertising supply chain. And we’ll start to see that ripple through. And in those procurement, you know, requests for tenders, you’ll start to see stipulations around sustainability in its broadest sense. But specifically, if you’re in an agency and you’re thinking about production houses or media partners, I’ll take them one at a time, but essentially at the heart of it are two main things, which is the energy that they use and save, or don’t use, and the various techniques around that. And their attitudes to travel in the case of production. So if you think about production, travel and energy are the main things. Now, that’s not to say it’s not important to be mindful around food waste, and all those things are important. But actually, the thing you’ve got to tackle at the heart is travel and energy. So asking production companies about the way in which they source their energy, the way they minimize the amount of energy, use of virtual sets, virtual techniques, and we’ve seen in the Ad Net Zero Awards, a very large global advertiser, Reckitt, make a step change in the way they’ve done production. And the use of virtual production to reduce travel and energy around the world in the way they create their ads. In media, it’s really about understanding what are the main drivers of energy use by channel. And how are the media owners planning to reduce those. But you also have a topic that Matt’s very keen on, which is how do media owners use the loyalty of their readers or viewers to explain the climate emergency and help those readers and viewers make better choices themselves. So you could look at that too, but, to come back to the main point on media. The work that Ad Net Zero is doing with GARM will actually make that a lot easier because it will start to produce the formula which allow all media owners to show how their numbers are stacking up against other players in the same channel and those people who’ve invested in more sustainable effort will be able to show that in those numbers.

Adrian Tennant: Will that be in the form of a report or an online dashboard? What might that look like?

Sebastian Munden: I think that’s still a work in progress and Rob Rakowitz, who’s leading this, he’s got an extremely ambitious rollout program of starting with the calculations and making sure that the calculations are right first, which then allows all the media owners to insert their own numbers, their own values into those calculations. And I think it’s very important those calculations get widely socialized and are used as the currency in media planning to allow clients to see media schedules, no matter who they’re produced by, they’ll come up with the same numbers for the same channel. And that’s a bit the problem that we have at the moment, which is depending on who’s defined the calculation, the same campaign laid down in exactly the same way can come back with quite different carbon footprints. And that doesn’t help the client make decisions, and it doesn’t help the media owners show the benefit of the work they’re doing to be more sustainable. So I think, first of all, the calculations, socializing those, then it doesn’t really matter. It’s not about, I think, having an enormous database. It’s actually about having the right calculation, widely socialized, and people being able to back up their numbers with some kind of third-party verification.

Adrian Tennant: that’s really excellent. Well, finally, what actions do you hope readers will take after reading your book?

Matt Bourn: So I would say, it’s certainly in some of the events that I’ve been speaking at, you know, we talk about the manifesto at the start. That’s there in chapter 1, and in chapter 16, there’s a checklist. The feedback that we’re getting, you know, from people about the book is that there’s something in there for everyone, you know, in terms of the kind of different sort of topics that we’re covering. That was the hope. It was to try and make sure that we touch on every single aspect of working within advertising. So, my hope would be that people take the manifesto and they look at that and they have conversations with colleagues and their senior colleagues, to their board about how can we adopt this manifesto and make it work for us as a successful business with a successful, sustainable future? Are we doing this? And by all means, personalize that manifesto equally. The checklist is a really good place at the end to say, “Are we doing all the things we need to do?” And to really review that with a sort of an honest look at this, “Are we doing all of the things that ideally we would be doing in order to be a business and a practitioner that is involved in a sustainable advertising industry?”

Sebastian Munden: I mean, our book is primarily written for people in marketing and advertising and media. And in its very short 260 pages, we attempt to cover: “New readers start here,” “What is the climate emergency, and how can we help?” through to quite specific calculations around how you work out particular media channels’ carbon footprint. So we’ve really tried to cover it. So when we say it’s for everyone, that’s not some glib claim. We really think that it’s a great place for everyone to start. And then, as they put the book down and think, “So what?” you know, there are so many “So what?”s depending on where you are. And one of the key things I think about it is that there’s a bit of hope for inspiration. You know, the case studies and all the people that Matt interviewed have got great stories to tell. And in those stories, there’s some inspiration for everyone to take the next action. And I think that’s the most important thing: Take the next action. If your next action is our company doesn’t really have a sustainability strategy, it’s, “Well, let’s see how we can put sustainability into our business strategy.” So we have one thing that covers both, because it’s too difficult to have two. If that’s in place, then it’s, “Well, how do we accelerate the realization of that? Who do we need to work with?” And I suppose the thing that I’ve learned in working on the book with Matt, is that collaboration has been such an underpinning pre-competitive conversations across the industry to help people understand, “What does good look like? and “how can I be part of that?” Lastly, we call this book “How Advertising Can Support A Better Future,” but if you’re in advertising, this is how a better future can support advertising because frankly, without it, there won’t be advertising in the way we know it today, because it will be more and more regulated, more and more sectors will be exempted from wide-scale advertising, and so really this is also advertising’s opportunity to reinvent itself and take advantage and be there for a more sustainable economy, and stand for that. And of course, without it, you know, fewer and fewer talented people will want to work in advertising if they feel that it’s actually working contrary to the best interests of human beings and to the detriment of the environment.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, if IN CLEAR FOCUS listeners would like to learn more about your book, “Sustainable Advertising” or Ad Net Zero, what’s the best way to do so?

Matt Bourn: For the book, I would say go to the Kogan Page website and search on “sustainable advertising,” and that’s certainly the first port. There is also a website we’ve built,, where there’s a little bit more about the book to find out there. And Ad Net Zero is simple: it’s, and everything that people would like to know about the work that the Ad Net Zero team has been doing, you can see that there.

Adrian Tennant: And a reminder for listeners, if you’d like a copy of Matt and Seb’s book, “Sustainable Advertising,” remember you can save 25 percent when you order directly from the publisher, Kogan Page, using the code BIGEYE25 at checkout. Matt and Seb, thank you both very much for being our guests on IN CLEAR FOCUS!

Matt Bourn: Thank you. 

Sebastian Munden: Thank you very much, Adrian.

Adrian Tennant: Thanks again to my guests this week, Matt Bourn and Sebastian Munden, the authors of the new book, “Sustainable Advertising.” As always, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation and links to the resources we discussed on the Bigeye website at Just select ‘Insights’ from the menu. Thank you for listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, produced by Bigeye. I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Until next week, goodbye.


00:00:00 – Introduction to Sustainable Advertising Book
00:05:30 – Writing the Book: Matt’s Unexpected Opportunity
00:06:00 – Five-Point Action Plan for Sustainability
00:11:32 – Redefining Creative Excellence in Climate Change Context
00:13:42 – Strategy and Research for Sustainable Advertising
00:16:16 – Effective Steps for Sustainable Advertising
00:18:32 – Bigeye Book Club Promotion
00:19:56 – Sustainable Advertising Manifesto
00:22:27 – Transitioning to Sustainable Practices
00:26:38 – Regulatory Initiatives for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
00:28:47 – Evaluating Partners’ Sustainability Efforts
00:32:40 – Actions Readers Can Take After Reading the Book
00:36:22 – Learning More About Sustainable Advertising and AdNet Zero

And More