Leading International Industry Trade Bodies Unite with Ad Net Zero, Green The Bid and AdGreen In Endorsement Of New Hard Drive Use Best Practice

In a first-of-its-kind response to the advertising industry’s urgent need to decarbonize, ad industry sustainability trade associations the 4A’s, Ad Association, AICP, ANA, AOP, APA, IPA, and ISBA, have all jointly announced support for the adoption of best practices to encourage production hard drive reuse over single use. The guidance, developed by Green The Bid, Ad Net Zero and AdGreen, aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions in production and lessen the burden on natural resources implicit in excessive hard drive usage.  

In unanimous agreement, the above trade bodies for the ad industry endorse the statement that ‘So long as hard drives have been wiped and tested before use, all “Enterprise Class” drives can and should be reused multiple times during the manufacturer's stated warranty period and provided such reuse would not put the production company in breach of any of its contractual obligations.' 

Detailed information on the agreed practice, its environmental impact, as well as a full FAQ, are available on the Ad Net Zero, Green The Bid and AdGreen websites. 

Unlike the film and television industries, where hard drive reuse is common practice, the global commercial production industry primarily uses hard drives as single use items, often purchasing as many as two or three per shoot day of a production. Additionally, many more drives are frequently used throughout postproduction and archiving on every project.  

"AICP has long been committed to supporting the industry’s adoption and implementation of sustainable approaches to production and post,” comments AICP President Matt Miller. “The hard drive best practice is a practical application that will have meaningful results, which is why the industry organizations have unanimously aligned to support it.” 

The carbon associated with an average 5TB hard drive, from manufacture to responsible disposal, is approximately 200-250kg of CO2e. Thus, using three hard drives per day on a standard three-day production results in roughly 2.25 tons of CO2e, equivalent to three one-way flights from New York to Los Angeles. Like many sustainability best practices, there are also economic benefits to being more mindful of resource use. 

Generous research support and carbon figures verified by Filmlocker the number one supplier of carbon neutral storage. 

Demand for new hard drives also contributes to the unsustainable usage of the Earth’s natural resources, with global mining for overall materials being extracted at a rate that would require at least three planets to meet projected needs by 2050 and continuing to accelerate (UN Environmental Programme 2016 and 2024 reports). Additionally, The UN also just issued a report predicting that the global population will generate 82 million tons of e-waste in 2030, and that we already generate enough to fill enough shipping containers to circle the earth every year, illustrating the importance of reducing our footprint from data usage and storage. 

"We firmly support the shift in advertising production from single use hard drives to multi-use, whenever possible. It is a sensible change of practice that will lead to a measurable impact on waste reduction in our industry. We support this announcement and encourage agencies and advertisers to embrace these new best practices," said Mollie Rosen, EVP Strategy, Insight and innovation at the 4A’s. 

“This is a great practical scheme to help our goal of minimizing the environmental impact of commercials production.” - Steve Davies, Chief Executive, APA. 

“It’s time to stop the madness of boxes full of random hard drives piling up in long term physical storage. Aside from the environmental impact, it’s a costly overhead and isn’t the safest and most orderly way to safeguard our clients’ project materials. I urge agency and in-house production teams to support this initiative, investigate better rushes storage options and encourage their suppliers to do likewise.” - Eliot Liss MIPA Head of Production IPA 

“The Hard Drive best practice came directly from our work with Green The Bid’s post production community, whose passion and diligence ultimately sparked this industry-wide consensus,” notes Green The Bid Co-Founder Jessie Nagel, “This governance will have concrete impact, and is a shining example of what’s possible if we come together to prioritize environmental decisions alongside creative and business practices.” 

“Advertisers can make a meaningful change now. We are optimistic that this new guidance will be embraced by the advertising community. Together with AdGreen and Green The Bid, and our advertisers, brands and production companies Ad Net Zero US Action 2 Group, we have developed a plan that supports direct action that can actively reduce emissions in our industry. The film and television industries reuse hard drives, and we can, too,” said John Osborn, Director US at Ad Net Zero. 

“Tackling the climate crisis will require us all to reassess typical behaviors seen in our industry and measure the carbon cost of our actions. The one-off use of hard drives is a perfect example of how we have allowed a wasteful practice to become commonplace. This new guidance, endorsed by the leading trade bodies, shows a united approach across advertising to address our impact and make meaningful reductions.” Emily Plunkett Fleischer, US Director at AdGreen.

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