‘Sustainability makes good business sense’: Companies ramp up eco-friendly efforts for office returns
May is Earth Month. Coincidentally, many companies planning an imminent return to the physical office are ramping up their efforts to be more eco-conscious.
The commitment of businesses and brands to be more Earth-friendly is hardly new. After all, doing so just makes good business sense. Not only does it reduce waste — and boost the image of companies among their customers — but it also bolsters the bottom line.
Even still, during the pandemic, as firms dramatically curbed their energy and paper usage and reduced their office footprint, sustainability has become a whole new rallying cry.
The global agency holding company IPG launched an initiative in the runup to Earth Month that underscored its commitment to the environment. Through its Sustainability Allies team, it has set a benchmark to save 50,000kg of Co2 and one million liters of water over three weeks this month. It has encouraged employees to share their sustainability efforts on social media and is giving the first 100 employees to save 1kg of carbon an insulated tumbler made of recycled plastic.
“Our fragile ecosystems around the world are suffering and underrepresented and disenfranchised communities experience this even more,” the company stated in a recent company memo. “As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, access to clean air and safe water is critical to the health of people around the world. IPG is committed to environmental, social and governance issues. Individual behavior changes, such as reducing waste, are actionable ways to reduce our own contributions to climate injustice.”
Agency R/GA had already prioritized improving its sustainability before the pandemic, but over the last year its global office footprint reduced further and in a way that better suits its future plans for the office, according to Jess Astor, vp, executive director of business operations, R/GA. “With fewer people expected to be commuting to the office daily, office layouts will prioritize space for collaboration and communal work areas, and we have built a desk- booking system,” she said.
R/GA is among the companies radically reimagining their commitment to the physical workspace — and the use of resources that comes with it — as detailed in a recent article by The New Yorker.
Meantime, the office space solutions giant Industrious announced a goal of reducing paper and plastic waste by 25% its 100-plus locations in the U.S., where it operates more than 3 million square feet of space.
Industrious chief commercial officer Anna Levine said the company created its sustainability program after hearing feedback from its members and its own team about how some simple shifts in operations could have a significant impact on reducing waste. Its members, the company discovered, typically spend between six and nine hours a day in the office and use an average of five paper or plastic cups daily per member.
“We’ve known for years that sustainability just makes good business sense. Buying reusable and bulk items, for example, allows us to save longer term on operating costs,” Levine said. “And people truly want to be part of the change they want to see — they recognize that with small behavioral shifts their collective action can yield real results. As we see a national and global shift back to the physical workplace this summer, we still believe that these small shifts can produce big change — it’s one of the fundamental benefits of coworking and it’s important to remain mindful of that.”
Remote and hybrid work arrangements have had a clear impact on sustainability efforts. As a result of the pandemic, 78% of U.S. consumers believe their daily habits will change over the long term, including how they work and live, according to a recently released survey of 8,041 consumers globally by the professional services company GHD.
GHD also found that even after offices open back up, 37% of respondents in the U.S. expect to work from home more than they did before the pandemic, while 30% said their employer’s green credentials impacted their decisions about whether to become an employee and would consider those factors when choosing a future employer.
“The shifting workplace dynamics will permanently change how we think about everything — from transportation and digital infrastructure to how we configure our cities and office spaces,” said Greg Carli, sustainability, resilience & Environmental Social Governance advisory leader at GHD.
As cofounder and chief innovation officer of Resonance Global — a company whose business is helping other companies embrace sustainability — Steve Schmida knows a thing or two about how companies can become more eco-conscious upon the return to the office. Among the actions he advises his clients to take are continuing to cut back on business travel, and on office space.
It’s advice Schmida himself has followed.
“As the pandemic wore on, Resonance reduced its office footprint — a trend that we will continue as we allow much greater flexibility for remote work even as we return to the office,” he said. “Less office space means lower cost and carbon emissions, as well as reduced use of resources.”
Why a shoe brand is maintaining its digital paid media strategy well beyond the pandemic
By investing more in digital channels, the company was aiming to meet the tradesmen and women who typically shop for its shoes and work boots in-store wherever they were spending their time online.
‘It’s back to a talent market again’: Advertising and marketing execs navigate the future of work at Advertising Week
After a tumultuous 19 months, the future of work is changing. At this year's Advertising Week, executives across the industry sound off on navigating what comes next.
‘A holistic shopping platform’: Google vp Tara Walpert Levy on new holiday livestream shopping on YouTube
YouTube is now announcing a new week-long live stream holiday shopping event, kicking off November 15th in partnership with brands like Samsung, Walmart and Verizon, today at Advertising Week.
SponsoredHow YouTube is redefining the online shopping experience
Sponsored by Google Amy Lanzi, North America practice lead, Publicis Commerce Finding surprising products in a brick-and-mortar store is, or used to be, a common experience: that magical shopping moment when the customer stumbles across something new that fits their needs perfectly. In 2021, however, it happens in the world’s biggest video storefront — YouTube. […]
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Most brands haven’t let supply chain concerns influence their holiday promotions
As the supply chain’s problems have grown into a clear obstacle for many brands and retailers, that shift hasn’t been enough to drastically change the holiday promotion strategies for a majority of brands, according to new Digiday+ research.
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: ‘We’ve had to pivot, pause, and adjust’: How supply chain issues are causing marketers to change Q4 and holiday advertising plans
Marketers and agency execs say that the impact is already palpable. For those struggling with supply chain issues -- brought about by the bottleneck of cargo ships -- the lack of new products to promote or stock issues is making them rethink how much they are advertising now as well as retooling Black Friday Cyber Monday plans.