Forster Communications targets net-positive environmental and social impact

Image: Forster Communications

Forster’s ‘Taking it Personally’ plan builds on previous work to certify as a B Corp, slash emissions and ensure that all clients had public climate commitments. These latter two pledges fell under a 2020-2023 ‘Climate Positive Plan’.

After achieving a 26% reduction in emissions intensity and a 5% decrease in absolute emissions over this timeframe, despite significant increases in headcount and turnover, the business has now set out intentions to join up strategizing around climate, nature and social impact.

It is adopting Integrated Profit and Loss (IPL) accounting to baseline its impact and measure progress. This method of accounting places a financial value on the positive or negative impact that Forster has on all of its key stakeholders, including the environment, shareholders, staff, suppliers, customers and society as a whole.

IPL accounting will replace traditional financial accounting at Forster, which describes itself as a “testbed” for this innovative way of thinking. It will work with external experts at Green Element on the accounting changes and will share learnings to assist other businesses exploring IPL adoption.

Forster account director Olivia Martins said:At Forster, part of the reason why our clients value us is because we go beyond core delivery to help them address complex issues and change processes. It’s critical that we’re walking the talk and are being just as tough on ourselves, always seeking to go further and do more. As before, Taking it Personally is a blueprint available to every organisation and we’d love to see other businesses replicating it.”

New targets

On top of the foundation of IPL accounting, the plan details several new time-bound ambitions.

New climate targets include ensuring that all of Forster’s suppliers have emissions targets verified in line with 1.5C by March 2025 and that all large business clients have done the same by December 2024.

Given that Forster missed its previous ambition of having all clients publicly committed to decarbonisation, with 82% now having done so, the deadline has been extended to April 2025. Clients must then back these top-line commitments up with time-bound emission reduction plans by March 2026.

On nature, Forster will launch its own nature-based targets by the end of the 2024-5 financial year. Verification for such targets has only existed since spring 2023. One key change it will make to finance nature-based projects is reducing international travel, instead setting aside this money for community nature investment.

Forster will also update its supplier tracker to nudge suppliers to consider their own nature impact. 50% of the business’s suppliers will need to have public nature conservation commitments by March 2026.

A key new social target is ensuring that all clients have public commitments to fair pay for staff and suppliers by March 2026. Forster will also encourage its own suppliers to make such commitments. Forster is notably participating in the Living Wage Campaign.

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