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McCann debuts sustainability department to meet growing demands of talent & clients


By Kenneth Hein | US Editor

July 8, 2021 | 5 min read

To formally fund and drive forward McCann Worldgroup’s sustainability agenda, the global agency has launched its first sustainability department. Jaclyn Kaminski will lead the charge, working to grow the agency’s efforts to meet the needs of clients – as well as lure top talent.

Jaclyn Kaminski

Jaclyn Kaminski is heading up McCann’s new sustainability department

Sustainability can now often be the determining factor when it comes to which agency prospective clients – and potential employees – choose.

Recognizing this, McCann Worldgroup is opening its first global sustainability department. It will be led by Jaclyn Kaminski, who was most recently director of business leadership at McCann London. She co-led the office’s sustainability efforts and received a post-graduate certificate in sustainability leadership from Cambridge University.

In her new role of global director of sustainability, Kaminski will be responsible for “embedding sustainability throughout McCann Worldgroup’s global business strategy, operations and culture, creating lasting organizational change and management,” per the company. She will lead McCann’s transition to become a net zero company by 2040 and develop a sustainability education strategy internally, as well as a create a global partnership strategy and manage client engagement.

“Sustainability is a business imperative, especially in attracting and retaining the best talent and in guiding our clients,” says Nannette Lafond-Dufour, president, global clients and business leadership at McCann Worldgroup. “Clients, existing and potential, expect us to provide them with the same kind of critical thinking and creativity around sustainability that they demand for their brands and businesses.” Kaminski reports to Lafond-Dufour.

A new talent imperative

As recruiting top talent has reached levels that some liken to the dot-com era, walking the walk with sustainability has grown in importance. Talent, especially millennials, are looking to work at companies that align with their values.

“In our almost 20 years of recruiting, we have never seen the job market more active. Candidates are calling the shots right now,” says Elizabeth Zea, partner, Juel Consulting. “The openness to remote and hybrid work has largely lifted location as a criteria for job hunting, which means candidates focus more on culture ... really focus their search on organizations that fit their values. Companies with a true commitment to sustainable business practices are attractive for lots of reasons, but certainly because supporting sustainable programs is often a sign of a values-led corporate culture.”

Kaminski has been leading the agency’s first global carbon footprint analysis, which aims to educate 20,000-plus employees about the network’s impact on the planet. She will be working with global leadership to keep employees engaged in and accountable for McCann’s goals.

This is a welcome step for future and current employees, says Lafond-Dufour. “We have never seen a greater demand from our employees and potential employees for us to serve as leaders in corporate sustainability. Agencies and their clients will not retain or attract the best talent unless they are deeply committed to contributing meaningful action toward the solution of the planet’s climate change crisis, as well as creating social and economic opportunities for diverse talent around the world.”

Client sustainability agendas grow more intense

Diageo, Facebook, L’Oreal, Target and Unilever... these are just a few of the top brands to outline their sustainability agendas of late. It is also a topic that is coming up frequently in pitches, whether it’s in terms of agency protocols or the work itself.

“Authenticity and sustainability go hand in hand. There isn’t a review that AAR Partners manages where one or both of these terms come into conversation. It’s almost as if it’s price of entry now,” says Lisa Colantuono, President, AAR Partners.

From General Motors’s ‘Everybody in’, which promotes the GM’s dedication to electric vehicles, to work it has done with the WWF, McCann has upping its sustainability credentials on the creative front.

Overall, parent company Interpublic Group has been pushing all of its agencies to take a big step forward. Chief executive Philippe Krakowsky announced that the holding company is working on setting a science-based target to limit the rise in global temperatures, operating with completely renewable electricity by 2030, and becoming net zero by 2040.

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