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Advertisers Assess Own Climate Impact

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

At the first ever New York Climate Week, some in the advertising business are assessing their own impact on global warming. WNYC's Ilya Marritz has more.

REPORTER: Everything is marketed as green these days, from cars to condos.

Kelly Stephenson is with Ogilvy Earth, a unit of the global ad giant Ogilvy and Mather. At a forum for advertisers, she said people have gotten hip to companies that don't match their environmental rhetoric with action.

STEPHENSON: But consumers have a lot of heart for brands that say, this is where we're going, now help us get there.

REPORTER: Ogilvy has helped some big clients do that, like IBM and the software giant SAP. But the company says it doesn't have any environmental guidelines of its own.

Some participants at the advertisers' round-table said that's the next step: to recognize the carbon footprint of print campaigns, which use paper, and TV and internet ads, which consume electricity.

Right now, no one can say exactly how much the $150 billion a year ad business contributes to global warming. For WNYC, I'm Ilya Marritz.

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