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Bayer trials Wunderman Thompson tool to reduce CO2 emissions from digital activity


By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

April 22, 2022 | 5 min read

Pharma giant Bayer wants to reduce the CO2 emissions that come from digital activity through a new pilot with Wunderman Thompson.

Insung Yoon

Bayer is the first company to join the sustainability practice, designed to limit CO2 release from digital activities / Insung Yoon

Using the agency’s sustainable commerce practice, an initial roll-out will take place across Bayer’s consumer health products and services, which include its flagship over-the-counter medicines and self-care solutions.

With emissions from digital commerce activities accounting for more than the global aviation industry, Bayer said the onus is on brands with significant digital activities to live up to their sustainability promises.

Bayer is using Vaayu – dubbed “the world’s first and only carbon-tracking software” – which is designed to allow companies to optimize their carbon footprint by providing access to real-time data that delivers clarity on company emissions.

Through integration with Bayer’s point-of-sale system, those tools are able to accurately calculate the carbon footprint of daily transactions, providing proof points to help reduce environmental damage. That in turn is also set to help Bayer optimize business processes, and reduce packaging waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Those savings can then, according to the release from Bayer, be reinvested into sustainable and environmentally-friendly segments of the business.

Dr Andrea-Victoria Noelle is global director of e-commerce at Bayer. She explained: “We are embracing this opportunity to pilot with Wunderman Thompson and Vaayu to reduce our CO2 footprint in e-commerce, while delivering continuous growth toward our business. Our vision at Bayer is ‘Health for All, Hunger for None,’ and partnering with ventures such as Vaayu will further accelerate the delivery of our sustainability targets.”

The campaign, which begins with a roll-out of the system across Germany, is designed to reduce costs in addition to reducing CO2 emissions to meet environmental targets. It also allows Bayer to access more information about the customer experience (CX).

The Sustainable Commerce Practice was launched by Wunderman Thompson Commerce and Vaayu in December 2021. Only a few months prior, in September 2021, Bayer appointed MediaCom as its global agency partner, consolidating an $800m account that had previously been split across MediaCom, PHD and Dentsu. The move was in part to allow MediaCom a holistic view of Bayer’s ‘Media for good’ initiative, which had environmental concerns as one of its key tenets.

Ruth Zohrer is global chief client success officer at Wunderman Thompson Commerce. She said: “We’re delighted to partner with Bayer’s Consumer Health e-commerce team to explore innovative ways to continue to deliver growth from digital commerce with less detriment to our planet. Realizing carbon reduction – rather than offsets – has proven challenging for many companies, but we have confidence that through our Sustainable Commerce Practice, powered by Vaayu, we can find ways to achieve this and get clients like Bayer closer to their net-zero targets.”

As brands are increasingly conscious of the reputational damage that can come from greenwashing, data-led approaches like that employed by Bayer and Vaayu aim to provide tangible proof of improvement.

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