Forster Communications targets ‘climate-positivity’ by 2023

Social change PR agency Forster Communications has pledged to become 'climate-positive' by 2023, reversing and mitigating more negative environmental impacts than it generates through its direct and indirect actions.

Forster Communications targets ‘climate-positivity’ by 2023

The plan builds on the firm's existing pledge to reach net-zero carbon by 2021 

Announced on Monday (13 January) ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, the commitment builds on an existing pledge to reach net-zero direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) carbon emissions by 2021.

Forster Communications is backing up its new 2023 commitment with a detailed roadmap. This document details plans to work with suppliers to ensure commitments to net-zero across the supply chain by March 2022; to support clients to develop climate emergency plans and to remove clients which have not publicly committed to cutting their carbon emissions from the Forster Communications portfolio.

The latter of these plans follows on from Forster Communications’ signing of the ‘Business Declares’ declaration for the creative industries, which commits signatories to disclose “climate conflicts” and income generated from working with high-carbon organisations, or to cease working with them altogether.

Recognising that the environmental footprint of its external work is greater than its operational footprint, the roadmap is split into “direct action” and “inspiration”. The former covers issues such as waste, energy, procurement, finances and business travel, while the latter spans across staff lifestyles, client ambition and action, and interactions with communities, the communications industry and other organisations within the B-Corp movement.

“There’s a lot of noise about finding purpose and tackling the climate challenge but unless we all turn talk into tangible action, it will be too late,” Forster Communications’ chief executive Amanda Powell-Smith said.

“We have a modest carbon footprint and getting our own house in order and becoming net-zero isn’t enough. We want to go beyond that to become climate-positive, and the most effective way to do so is to use our skills as communications professionals and knowledge as sustainability experts, to influence and inspire our clients and the wider community to cut their emissions.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on walking the talk, and that has never been more important than now with the climate crisis we are all facing. I’d love to see other agencies follow suit because our industry could be such a powerful player in inspiring climate action.”

Industry-wide action

Forster Communications has long been regarded as a sustainability leader in the creative sector and, last year, won the Consultancy of the Year accolade at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards.

But amid an ever-growing wave of climate activism, in which citizens are urging the media to “tell the truth” around environmental issues, it is one of many businesses in its field to have refreshed its climate approach in recent times.

The ‘creative and climate’ declaration, made in order for businesses and individual professionals in the sector to support the UK Parliament’s declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ with tangible action, has garnered 132 signatures to date. Signatories include 

Signatories have attributed the creation and success of the declaration to activist group Extinction Rebellion, which continues to call on businesses of all sizes and sectors, as well as national governments, to “declare a climate and ecological emergency and act accordingly”.  

Outside of the communications industry, companies to have set ‘climate-positive’ or ‘net-positive’ visions include Ikea, Hammerson and Interface.  

Sarah George

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