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How the world's top holding companies are celebrating Earth Day 2022

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By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

April 18, 2022 | 9 min read

Ahead of Earth Day on April 22, top holding companies explain how they’re investing in environmentalism inside their walls, helping clients move the needle on a carbon-free future and driving broader industry-wide change.

Hands holding globe against greenery

Top holding companies are rolling out new sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing their carbon footprints

Publicis Groupe

Sustainability is a key focus area for us at Publicis, and we have ambitious targets — aligned with SBTi and the Paris Agreement — to double down on our efforts to reduce our environmental impact and become carbon neutral by 2030.

Our Advertising Limiting Impacts & Carbon Emissions offering provides clients with a calculator to assess the impact of their campaigns/projects. Internally, through our dedicated Business Resource Group (BRG) Écologique and Corporate Social Responsibility team, we are working to minimize individual and corporate footprints, as well as discover and share new ways to make a positive environmental impact…

One of our 15 BRGs, Écologique was launched in November 2020 and supports all Publicis Groupe agencies in the US. For Earth Week, [it is] offering a variety of programming and other opportunities for employees to celebrate their sustainability efforts and learn more about making an impact — everything from webinars on reaching net-zero emissions, to podcasts about greenwashing to engaging our employees to share… corporate best practices and Earth Day resolutions. The team will also publish helpful content and articles throughout Earth Week and the remainder of the year.

-Geraldine White, US chief diversity officer, Publicis Groupe

Interpublic Group

At the holding company, IPG is continuing to work towards our climate goals by updating our travel and sustainability policies, launching a new tool to sort flight and travel accommodations by carbon emissions as well as cost, conducting an office audit to reduce our energy use, engaging with suppliers to monitor and support the reduction of supplier emissions and beginning the purchase of Energy Attribute Certificates and Renewable Energy Credits.

In addition to this work, the IPG Sustainability Allies, a group of employees from across IPG companies, are heading up this year’s Earth Day campaign, Don’t Do Nothing. The campaign encourages employees to engage with Earth Day by picking from a list of small actions to give back, develop a deeper understanding of climate change, and connect with our planet.

One of the nine options on the list is to participate in a company-wide fundraising campaign for charity: water, IPG’s long-standing partner in advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goal [of improving] access to clean water and sanitation. In further support of [this goal], and to discourage single-use plastic, IPG is handing out reusable water bottles to corporate staff in our New York City headquarters. We are also making a donation to the water research team at Virginia Tech following the IPG Sustainability Allies World Water Day event, which was centered on the Flint Water Crisis and environmental justice.

Another action item in the Don’t Do Nothing campaign is a template for employees to update their automatic reply, like you would an out-of-office message, to catch the attention of colleagues and raise awareness about climate change. Employees are encouraged to add resources and a personal flair to their message, which will create a network of information sharing around climate-related issues.

-Emily Olin, ESG communications coordinator, Interpublic Group

Omnicom Group

A top priority at Omnicom is to lessen the impact of our operations on the environment. This Earth Day, our goal is to communicate our sustainability efforts and inspire further engagement from our people, clients and communities around the world. As part of this, we will be attending the 4A’s Sustainability Summit 2022 on April 20. Our agency One & All will be taking the virtual stage with Arbor Day Foundation to discuss how agencies can be better partners in sustainability and ensure that clients are not only achieving their marketing goals, but also fulfilling their enterprise sustainability objectives.

In addition, our agencies around the world will use the day to host educational programming and engage employees in productive actions. For example, Siegel+Gale’s chief marketing officer Margaret Molloy is hosting a webinar for The Marketing Society on April 21 to discuss how the food and beverage industry can lessen its impact on the planet and drive the future of sustainability. RAPP is partnering with Ecologi to help reforest land in South America against the total combined square footage of its US offices.

Earth Day reminds us of the future we want to see and the progress we have committed to. At Omnicom, we will continue to invest in our planet through year-round, collective efforts that bring us closer to our sustainability goals.

-Karen van Bergen, chief environmental sustainability officer, Omnicom Group

Havas

Havas’ global mission is to make a meaningful difference to the brands, businesses, and the lives of the people we work with, and Earth Day is one more opportunity for us to strive toward our goals. On April 22, Havas Group will join the world in observing Earth Day by implementing an initiative around ‘dark mode.’ Externally, Havas will suggest that clients take measures such as switching their ads on OOH LED screens to sustainable mode; internally, we will encourage our employees to activate dark mode on their devices, browsers and IT tools.

Over the past few years, Havas has taken significant steps towards reducing our carbon footprint with a goal of becoming net-zero by 2025. From reducing international travel and banning single-use products, to working with sustainability consultants to address the waste we generate in a meaningful way, we’re committed to spreading best practices across our network of 60+ Havas Villages around the world.

In 2021, Havas New York became the first major network agency to earn B Corp certification, joining Havas London, which gained certification in 2018, and Havas Lemz in Amsterdam, which joined the esteemed club in 2020. Havas New York became a Certified B Corp after a rigorous two-year process, in which the agency exceeded B Lab’s rigorous standards of accountability and transparency in five key areas, including governance, workers, community, environment, and customers by enacting policies that reduce carbon emissions, providing fair and living wages to its staff.

This spring, we will have even more transformations around the office, from new efforts to reduce waste to new opportunities to engage and involve employees in our efforts. For Havas, these measures are about redefining the future of work and the impact on employees, clients, and the communities we live in.

-Lorella Gessa, Chief Communications & Sustainability Officer, Havas Group

Dentsu

Dentsu International recently announced it is the first global advertising agency network to implement Salesforce Net Zero Cloud to create greater accountability and transparency for its 2030 Social Impact strategy.

This builds on Dentsu international’s track record of ambitious climate action, becoming the first in the industry to achieve RE100 accreditation for its sourcing of 100% renewable electricity and setting a 1.5 degree aligned science-based target for carbon emissions reduction. In October 2021, Dentsu international became one of the first companies in the world to have its net-zero target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative. It includes a new deep decarbonization target to reduce absolute emissions by 90% by 2040 across its entire value chain.

Central to our Social Impact strategy is building a sustainable world, helping accelerate the transition to a low-carbon and more sustainable future, and inspire and enable others to join this movement. Sustainable consumption and behaviors are central to this.

As supporters of the UN Act Now campaign, our colleagues in Dentsu McGarryBowen are creating a social media campaign to share simple, practical suggestions that people can adopt every day to collectively make a difference. Whether it's eating plant-based lunches, switching off sockets, plastic recycling or walk-and-talk meetings, we can make Earth Day every day, to support vital shifts to sustainable consumption.

-Anna Lungley, chief sustainability officer, Dentsu International

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