How Forster Communications showed the PR world ‘How to Tackle the Climate Emergency’
Forster Communications won the Grand Prix at The Drum Awards for Agency Business 2022, as well as taking home Best Sustainability Initiative for its ‘How to Tackle the Climate Emergency’. Here, we find out more about what went into this wide-ranging agency sustainability initiative.
Forster's Climate Positive Plan
PR agency Forster Communications specializes in sustainability and social change. With its ‘Climate Positive Plan‘, it wanted to walk the walk as well as talking the talk, by working with its entire ecosystem of clients, suppliers and employees to tackle the climate crisis.
The brief for Forster’s wide-ranging sustainability plan is the climate crisis itself and the belief that it would not be fit to advise clients on sustainability initiatives if it was not acting itself.
The work’s origins go back as far as 2020, when Forster first announced its Climate Positive Plan, which continues into 2023 and beyond. Aiming to build a ‘regenerative economy’ that works to the benefit of people and the planet as well as profit, the plan goes beyond Forster’s own carbon emissions, incorporating the agency’s value chain and the wider community.
Over the years, the plan has had three core targets: net zero carbon emissions for the agency itself by March 2021, net zero for all suppliers by March 2022, and by April 2023, commitments from all clients to cut their emissions.
The agency’s plan revolved around leveraging its existing sustainability specialisms and behavior change expertise to first tackle its own emissions, then its role as an influencer and purchaser with partners.
Having long screened suppliers on sustainability metrics, the plan went much further, covering virtually every element of the business: office, travel, banking, investments, services, partners, team (and hybrid working), clients, community, and wider networks.
The practical measures covered by the plan comprise a very long list: incentives for sustainable travel, like an extra holiday for walking or cycling to work; working with landholders to switch to zero-waste solutions; becoming paper-, dairy-, and meat-free; team-wide climate advocacy training; clothes swaps; releasing reports; running workshops with various partners; and joining up with industry organizations like Clean Creatives and the SME Climate Hub.
Already a founder-member of the B Corp movement since 2015, Forster’s work has since netted it 11 of B Lab’s Best for the World awards.
The work has resulted in a 4.1-ton reduction in carbon emissions across scopes 1, 2 and 3. By now, 99% of the agency’s suppliers (by value) have made net zero pledges; most of their business comes from clients with carbon emission reduction targets.
In client work, Forster is Patagonia’s lead agency in Europe, working on projects including river protection and regenerative agriculture. It has worked with the Energy Saving Trust to promote energy efficiency. Overall, the strategy has seen agency turnover increase.
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This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Agency Business 2022. You can see all the winners here.
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