World Earth Day is upon us. Previously, this has been a time of year that disappoints me and other sustainability champions, as we witness companies scramble to throw together communications about the improvements they’ve made over the last year. It’s refreshing this isn’t the case at Wavemaker.
Over the past year, since making our Net Zero commitment on Earth Day 2021, we have appointed more sustainability resource to work alongside our partners at GroupM and WPP. To help reduce our carbon emissions, educate our people, grow our green teams in local markets and partner with clients to achieve their sustainability goals. Having this additional resource over the last 12 months has proven to be a catalyst in advancing our sustainability efforts.
Over the past year it has really felt like times are changing. Wavemaker has more than doubled the number of clients using its Media Plan Carbon Calculator and set up ‘Green Teams’ in 13 different countries and counting. We’ve received and answered sustainability focused questions in almost all global new business pitches and worked with some of the biggest advertisers on executing their sustainability campaigns. Most importantly, we’ve helped to educate more than 500 off our staff on sustainability.
Our Net Zero commitment, led by WPP, is more progressive than any other in the advertising industry. We’ve pledged that by 2025 we will buy 100% renewable energy for all our office buildings and achieve Net Zero across all operations (including all Scope One and Two Emissions). Although this only makes up about 2% of our emissions, we know how important it is for us to ‘walk the talk’ setting a positive example for our supply chain and the wider industry.
We have also committed to Net Zero on Scope Three Emissions (our supply chain) by 2030, which includes media. This is a hugely ambitious undertaking and something that every other agency network has excluded from their commitment. In all honesty, we don’t know how to get to net zero, no one does, it’s something entirely new to the industry and extremely complex. Media accounts for almost 55% of WPP’s total carbon emissions. We have employed experts to help us navigate the complexities of the media supply chain and reduce these emissions, and then share our findings to help inform the wider industry.
We focus on sustainability not only because it’s important for our clients, the right thing to do, and imperative for us to survive as a business, but because it drives excellent business results. In the words of Mark Carney, former Governor of The Bank of Canada and The Bank of England, “Firms that align their business models to the transition to a net zero world will be rewarded handsomely.”
Understanding sustainability and how it fits into a business is the main barrier to change I’ve experienced in my advertising career. Striking the balance between educating our people and understanding the needs of both our business and our client’s businesses is crucial.
Moving forward, we need more of our people at Wavemaker to positively provoke clients into talking to us about sustainability. We must work together to come up with innovative solutions that work better for our businesses, our people, and our planet.
As I continue my own journey to learn more, my main wish for the next year is that we educate the wider industry to harvest a more diverse set of opinions on sustainable advertising. This will allow us to formulate solutions needed to help solve climate change.
Ella Solomon is global growth project manager and sustainability champion at Wavemaker. For more information visit: wavemakerglobal.com