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Sustainability at Serviceplan: Why and How We Become the World’s First Global Independent Climate Neutral Agency Group

The Sustainability Channel 400 Add to collection

Head of sustainability management Julia Nicolaisen shares insight into how Serviceplan has taken strong steps towards sustainability

Sustainability at Serviceplan: Why and How We Become the World’s First Global Independent Climate Neutral Agency Group

Imagining life without climate change is almost impossible – following the news is enough to understand how much our planet is suffering. There are significant economic, environmental and social changes which suddenly become tangible and noticeable. Just a few years ago the focus was on the ‘Fridays For Future’ movement with its demands to protect biodiversity, establish fair water management and protection against exploitation in supply chains. Today companies are challenged and forced by upcoming legislation, such as the Supply Chain Law, to respond to all these requirements and find appropriate solutions to position themselves for the future. Pressure is coming from climate activists and many more.

Public environmental awareness is rising rapidly, consumers are demanding sustainable services and fairly produced products. Russia, the USA and Europe are tightening their climate policies and their climate targets. Investors like Black Rock indicate sustainability as a focus for their investment strategy. Today, every company should be taking a close look at how to contribute to environmentally friendly systems. I am convinced that this is the only way a company can continue to be successful in the future. Sustainable business is not a trend, it is a must!

Accordingly, the change can be summarised for us as an agency in five main statements:

  1. Top Talents are looking for companies that think and act sustainably.
  2. Business partners are starting to analyse their supply chain and will prefer CO2-transparent agencies.
  3. Investors are looking for companies that are forward-thinking
  4. Increasing energy efficiency today does not only save costs immediately, but also position for the future
  5. Climate policies will gradually have a major impact on all business activities

Our economic system will be geared towards every business being a sustainable business or get out of business!

At Serviceplan Group, we have been dealing with these issues intensively over recent years. As a large international agency group we have asked ourselves how to contribute to more climate protection in order to create a better and healthier tomorrow.

The following three insights are fundamental to our climate protection strategy and its implementation;

  • Creative ideas improve the world
  • Challenges can only be solved together
  • Sustainable action and corporate success are not contradictory

Based on these findings, we have the goal of being climate-neutral at all 24 of our locations worldwide by the end of 2022. Our focus is not on offsetting our emissions in the first step, but on looking at which emissions we can reduce and avoid. Four emission fields are relevant for agencies: building emissions, employee emissions, purchasing emissions and clients’ emissions. We achieved climate neutrality for all German locations last year by implementing various measures, such as blocking short-haul routes in the travel tool, converting the fleet to electric and hybrid vehicles, and using green electricity.

Knowing that these challenges can only be met if all colleagues are on board, we launched a global colleagues survey last year and derived from it our common understanding of sustainability, which serves as our guiding principle: “We as an agency have the ability to make development sustainable – to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

Sustainable management means leaving behind an ecological, social and economic structure that is truly future proof. We integrate sustainability into our strategic orientation while optimizing all economic, social and environmental factors. Another decisive factor for us is the credibility and transparency of our initiative. Transparency because we believe in the multiplier effect in our industry. The more who join, the better, while following the guiding principle of "Do good and talk about it" in our communication. We can all learn from each other and move forward together. We are creating credibility through independent external organizations that scrutinize and evaluate our measures. For example, this year we committed to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, addressing those in this year's first sustainability report. The report is audited and certified through the Global Reporting Index. Other standards we deal with include the Scienced Based Targets and the Ecovadis Ranking.

This year we will again run a global colleagues survey on the topic of sustainability, aiming at ensuring that all international colleagues can identify with it. Sustainability is a strong and very present change driver in the corporate structure and is acted upon differently in each culture.

We can only advise our clients on sustainability if we apply the same processes ourselves and walk the talk. The Serviceplan Group is a huge global meeting of creative minds. Our potential is communication and Übercreativity. We use this potential to continue working on innovative ideas that make the world a better place. For our clients we are thereby best positioned and demonstrate why climate protection also pays off for them. Through our own processes we are demonstrating how climate protection can be successfully communicated with maximum transparency, regular sustainability reports, validation with external labels and certifications as well as by colleagues involvement.

An example of following through on our sustainability ethos in practice is a recent collaboration between Mediaplus (part of the Serviceplan Group) and ClimatePartner to promote climate neutral advertising on World Environment Day. The production and distribution of advertising creates CO2, so Mediaplus created the ‘World’s first carbon neutral ad breaks’ to promote the Green GRP, an initiative by which companies can offset the emissions caused by advertising.

The ads were aired on 5th June, World Environment Day, in cooperation with Mediaplus media partners and brands in Germany, Austria and France. 

Also, in April the Serviceplan Group became the first agency to become a member of Leaders for Climate action. 

Übercreativity combined with environmental awareness to create the multiple-award winning METER ‘Meltdown Flags’, a climate change initiative aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of melting glaciers. 

Meltdown Flags is a climate data initiative that visualises the effects of global glacier retreat by reducing the amount of white in the flags of countries with glaciers. Three developed cuts visualize this accelerated melt process: Starting from 1995, the year of the first United Nations Climate Change Conference, to 2050, the year set out by the UN to reach net-zero emissions and limit global temperature to 1.5 °C. ‘Meltdown Flags’ won a silver Lion at Cannes International Festival of Creativity in June, and one gold, three silver and nine bronze at New York Festivals this month.


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Serviceplan Germany, Wed, 21 Jul 2021 16:54:32 GMT