How do you solve a problem like … making your agency greener?
Every week, we ask agency experts for advice on the real issues facing today’s marketing practitioners. This week, we asked our readers what practical steps they have taken to make their agencies more environmentally sustainable.
Last week, AdGreen’s free carbon calculator was picked up by Unilever, Adam & Eve and Havas as part of a larger effort to imbue the advertising industry with sustainable practices. But the effort to make marketing greener isn’t limited to big campaigns, but also to small things. We interviewed agency experts about practical ways in which their businesses had become more sustainable.
How do you solve a problem like … making your agency greener?
Ben Bilboul, Managing Director, Karmarama and Managing Director, Accenture Interactive
It’s not the most obvious place to start, but reviewing your retirement policy and that of your staff can have a surprisingly large impact. Make My Money Matter suggests that it may be 27 times more effective than any other measure.
So sign up for Ad Net Zero and watch your carbon footprint. If you can’t measure it, you can’t handle it. Finally, think about how you can give more than you take. Going beyond zero and becoming a positive nature should be our ultimate goal. Check out Get Nature Positive for inspiration.
Jemima Monies, Deputy Managing Director, Adam & Eve DDB
In addition to our long-standing work for sustainable production, we are driving industry-wide change by being at the forefront of the Ad Net Zero action plan. We’re also very focused on identifying those small improvements that can make a quick impact in every corner of our office. We reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible, with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. But our greatest achievement, at least in the literal sense, is perhaps our rooftop beehives, which have just come from start producing honey.
Su Millar, Director of Building Services, Havas UK
We love to make sure our workplace inspires forward-looking behavior – our HKX building is one of the most energy efficient developments in the country and we’ve even cultivated a living sedum forest on the roof to support wildlife.
We have reduced single-use plastic in our coffee by 90% and we turn our used coffee beans into fuel briquettes, we only provide 100% recycled paper and our toilets get their recycled rainwater. We send zero waste to landfill. But Havas has not finished yet! We are very proud of our ISO and B-Corp certifications and will continue to research new technologies and programs to limit our environmental impact.
Tom Denari, President and Chief Strategy Officer, Young & Laramore
“Making a difference in the world” is part of our agency’s mission. A few years ago, we created a multi-stream recycling program to reduce waste going to landfills, reducing waste from three dumpsters per week to one. We have developed electronic waste recycling programs, as well as the elimination of light bulbs and batteries that we also make available to employees. We have improved our 25-year-old HVAC system, reducing our electricity consumption by almost 40%, which also reduces our carbon footprint. We’ve even added motion sensors to our washrooms to make sure we don’t light them up when they’re empty.
Trudy Waldron, Integrated Production Manager, MullenLowe Group UK
We’ve taken things like remote filming and reducing film attendance, encouraging the use of sustainable materials and looking at CGI rather than set construction. We want to work with more conscious studios (renewable energies, food waste from catering). We reuse objects, for example by giving flowers to retirement homes. As founding partners of AdGreen, we have made improvements to our office spaces: motion sensor lighting, reduced water consumption and reduced single-use plastics. Our travel system includes an emissions calculator at the time of booking, which allows us to monitor our footprint and provides us with real-time data.
Dan Coleman, Chief Strategy Officer, Starcom
As marketers, we know that there are always new or simple ways that brands can be sustainable – and we all need to be responsible and courageous in our actions. For our clients, we run one-on-one workshops and immersive events (e.g. Starcom on Sustainability in October) that focus on what they can do immediately and other changes they can make in the longer term.
Provide advice to brand clients, helping them to integrate sustainability into their business and marketing strategies. Have conversations with media owners. Open the debate with them by encouraging courageous behavior. Get your own house in order. Sourcing sustainably. Achieve carbon neutrality. To recycle. Introduce the carbon calculator.
Dimi Albers, Director General, Department
As part of the Dept’s commitment to become B-Corp certified in 2021, we achieved carbon neutrality status in March 2021 by offsetting our carbon footprint through our partner Terra Neutra, and we will be carbon negative by 2023 By the end of the year, 95% of the Dept’s systems and 70% of our customers will be running on a green hosting infrastructure through Microsoft Azure. We’re also pushing owners to have 50% of our global offices Green Building accredited, and we’ve introduced a new travel policy that includes subsidies to incentivize public transportation, a flexible work-at-home policy, and use of carbon neutral travel. companies regardless of their cost.
We also measure impact indicators in the work of our clients, in particular the reduction of CO2 emissions thanks to our projects, the reduction in resources used and the number of people reached during awareness campaigns.
Chris Woodward, Managing Director of the UK Group, Oliver
We are aware of the struggle that many companies face: wanting to do good for the environment and doing good. We are attached to the latter. We have joined the Ad Net Zero commitment and activated an immediate six month plan to reduce emissions, and we are committed to achieving carbon neutrality as a business in the UK by 2030. Our Oliver model is scaling down naturally the need to travel because agility is integrated. We got rid of single-use plastics, we moved on to low-consumption light bulbs and a sustainable energy supplier, suppliers that don’t use plastic, have electric car charging points and there are plans. for a food compost area.
Jon Howard, Planning Partner, Quiet Storm
Our big lesson? Don’t make sustainability (just) a management task. The danger is that it could become a ticking exercise or be sidelined by other seemingly more immediate challenges. As with diversity, the easiest way to make a meaningful difference on the sustainability front is to empower the people in the company who really care to do something about it. As we have seen, all it takes is a small group of passionate advocates to get things done faster and more meaningfully than an item on the agenda of a meeting of the United Nations. board never will.
Al Berry, Director of Strategy and Innovation, Green Rock
Choose sustainability. Choose to get rid of your desktop. Choose virtual production. Choose not to have everyone, anywhere, ever fly. Choose not to take a cab, even when the customer is paying. Choose to work somewhere more inspiring than your rickety Soho office. Pick a fucking smaller TV in your boardroom. Choose remote work so people can actually see their loved ones. Choose an organization to help you change your culture, your habits, your carbon emissions (and not just tick boxes). Choose to turn off the lights in your reward cabinet, it won’t mean anything to the selfish, damn kids you sired to take your place when the planet is toast. Choose your future.
Rob McFaul, Head of Sustainability, Mindshare UK
As the climate crisis is a “bigger than itself” problem, this is a unique opportunity for the industry to act as one.
“#ChangeTheBrief” was born out of Mindshare, which called on “goal disruptors” to help it move from a single agency initiative to the collective power of the entire industry working together through the alliance “#ChangeTheBrief”. The ‘#ChangeTheBrief’ alliance enables agencies to respond to client briefs in a way that promotes sustainable lifestyles to client audiences. We were one of the founding agencies to work with the IPA to create the Industry IPA Media Climate Charter and were a founding member of the Advertising Association working group that created the initiative. Ad Net Zero. We have established GroupM’s Mission Zero, which embeds sustainability throughout the group. Our “Good Growth” positioning launched this summer places sustainability at the heart of our planning approach.
Jose Sel de Felipe, Executive Producer, Cult
Sustainability has both an ethical and a business sense, and we embrace it at all times. At Cult, we make production greener without compromising our creative services. We offer vegan catering as the first option for all of our shoots, use green generators, and work with green suppliers to further reduce emissions.
What do we do with the rest? We compensate. We include a donation for carbon neutral production and work with nonprofits to ensure best practices. We’ve worked closely with AdGreen from the start, and with their new carbon calculator, there’s no excuse not to educate customers and industry.
Caroline Davison, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Development, Elvis
The biggest challenge we face – the one we all need to address – is the carbon impact of the work we do around the world. It goes far beyond our collective office footprints. We have to take responsibility for what we promote. That’s why, in addition to working on B-Corp certification, Elvis (in partnership with Purpose Disruptors and Iris Worldwide) launched the open source “Efficiency” measurement framework, which helps agencies quantify the actual carbon impact. of their campaigns.
Want to join the conversation? Email me at sam.bradley[at]thedrum.com to include.