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M&C Saatchi’s sustainability experts explain why it has launched new consultancy Life

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By Sam Bradley | Senior Reporter

February 16, 2022 | 4 min read

Indie agency group M&C Saatchi has launched a new sustainability consultancy. Founders Tom Firth and Joanna Yarrow tell us why.

M&C Saatchi has launched a new consultancy unit, Life, to capitalize on the demand among consumer brands for sustainability expertise.

Led by former Ikea global head of sustainability Joanna Yarrow and M&C Saatchi London managing director Tom Firth, the consultancy will target clients that aim to make their services and products (not just their operations) more environmentally friendly.

Joanna Yarrow and Tom Firth

M&C’s new consultancy will be led by Joanna Yarrow and Tom Firth / M&C Saatchi

Firth says: ”The world is going to change in profound ways over the next decade. We think the opportunity for change, for helping organizations navigate that in a way that is constructive, that keeps their customers with them and helps them grow, is enormous. It’s the way the world is going.”

He says the consultancy’s work will ”sit at the meeting point of business strategy, sustainability and brand marketing”, helping clients communicate the ”big calls” made on the issue so that ”they seem relevant and useful to stakeholder groups”.

Yarrow tells The Drum that the consultancy aims to make sustainability ”mainstream”. Alongside Firth and Yarrow (who also currently sits on Procter & Gamble’s sustainability advisory board), M&C has assembled a crack team of consultants, including former Unilever executive Sue Gerrard and former Iceland head of sustainability Hilary Berg.

”The red thread is around how you make sustainable living affordable, attractive and accessible,” says Yarrow. ”It’s about really about making sustainable living mainstream. Unless we do that we have absolutely no hope of addressing the big environmental and social challenges that are facing us right now.”

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Life’s founding clients include the Mayor of London and De’Longhi Group, though it will also work with existing M&C clients. Yarrow tells The Drum: ”Our ideal client is going to be one that is really ambitious about making positive change happen fast.

”I hope we are fast moving from a time where sustainability is seen as an agenda that is simply about mitigating risk and retaining a license to operate. It’s certainly about finding ways to future proof your business, but I think it’s also about finding ways to create commercial opportunity and innovate. Those clients that have that mindset are going to be the most interesting to work with and the ones that are the most successful.”

To better monitor the impact of its work for clients, Life will partner with specialist research and monitoring business Globescan, which Yarrow calls ”the world’s leading insights agency when it comes to healthy and sustainable living”.

While Life’s team will be ”small, nimble, senior and strategic”, Yarrow says the consultancy will lean on the creative capabilities of the wider group, utilizing an internal network built over the past year that helps share sustainability expertise between its agencies.

Life is the second consultancy launched by M&C Saatchi this month. At the beginning of February it unveiled Thread, a specialist unit focusing on digital transformation services.

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