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Why using net-zero experiential agencies is an easy win for brands

How can experiential marketing agencies do more to protect the planet? / Image via KGA

In the past few years, marketers have heard the terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘brand purpose’ time and again as brands reorient themselves toward the changing attitudes of consumers.

The Advertising Association’s Ad Net Zero report states that the sector has to reduce its carbon output at least by 25% by 2025. This shows that agencies have to go further than ever before, moving away from ad-hoc initiatives to create permanent change.

Experiential and events agencies are a critical part of the conversation. In Event Academy’s 2020 report, the majority of those surveyed said that making events environmentally sustainable was their most important issue to address in the future. The reason is that the single-use events industry is wasteful by default: shipping sets, people and gear by road, air and sea leaves a heavy carbon footprint.

This is bad for brands and isn’t sustainable in any sense. It’s no use for a brand to say it cares about the planet, only to showcase a massive event or experiential campaign and ignore the waste that comes from it. This is going to be even more important in the near-future as we emerge from global lockdowns and the demand for physical events returns.

Experiential and events producers, including ourselves at KGA, are tackling this issue by going completely green and carbon neutral – not only internally, but ensuring all of our events are 100% carbon neutral too.

I made the decision to go 100% carbon neutral in 2020 at the height of lockdown. The result was to completely review the company’s carbon output, being independently assessed and moderated under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), led by Carbon Footprint Ltd. The plan from then on was to not only make KGA 100% green, it was also to make sure that our events’ carbon output would be neutralized too. The upshot for brands who work with the agency is that any event or campaign would benefit the planet, not harm it.

This presents an easy win for brands. With the flick of a switch, working with a carbon neutral agency immediately creates a positive environmental impact for an event without having to do any heavy lifting. It’s also a positive story, which can contribute to achieving a brand’s CSR objectives, without having to invest any time or effort in working out the carbon maths. Also, it doesn’t detract from producing a great event or create any new barriers to doing good work. It just happens.

Experiential agencies going green matches a wider industry move to ensure brands are becoming carbon neutral in their advertising and media spend. Iris Media recently ran an online event on behalf of purposedisruptors.org, a collective of advertisers focused on reshaping the industry to tackle climate change. Their initiative ‘Ecoffectiveness‘ actively promotes how having a positive environmental impact can be a viable metric for campaign effectiveness.

As this conversation develops, experiential marketing agencies have a crucial role to play in ensuring brands and agencies are doing their utmost to protect the planet. The timing of this action could not be more prevalent or necessary, and helps to take the sector beyond ad-hoc brand purpose or sustainability initiatives. Ultimately, this move creates lasting change that’s an easy win for brands as well as a big win for the planet.

From festivals to retail installations to unmissable activations, we examine the avenues open to marketers to reach consumers enjoying their newfound freedom in The Drum’s Experiential Deep Dive.

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