OVO Energy moves to lower climate impact of its marketing

Independent energy provider OVO Energy has unveiled a string of new measures to reduce the resource and carbon impact of its marketing, including an offsetting scheme and a "no-flights" policy.

OVO Energy has a long history of minimising the carbon impact of its products through renewable energy procurement 

OVO Energy has a long history of minimising the carbon impact of its products through renewable energy procurement 

The firm’s new director of brand & communications, Sarah Booth, has introduced a new requirement that no “unnecessary” staff flights should be booked in the course of marketing work. Where flights cannot be avoided, the company will pay for emissions equivalent to the trip to be offset.

Booth has additionally introduced a carbon offsetting scheme for all print media, covering not only OVO Energy’s own publications, but any media coverage resulting from its own digital communications.

In order to minimise the amount of carbon and resources generated by print media, however, the firm will prioritise digital formats within its own operations and will no longer use non-digital advertising in public places. Door drops will be removed from its marketing strategy and all digital out-of-home advertising arrays will be powered by renewable electricity.

Renewable electricity will also be used in all OVO Energy photo, video and audio shoots being carried out for marketing purposes. In locations where this is not possible, the company will fund the appropriate carbon offset.

OVO Energy said in a statement that the moves would see the brand “sacrificing visibility in favour of sustainability”.

“As marketers, our whole careers we have been encouraged to create work that is memorable,” Booth elaborated.

“Our climate crisis and a new wave of consumer consciousness should force us to question this. What if actually, the right thing to do is to be less memorable? Less impactful?

“That's why I am committing to doing everything I can to reduce and eventually eliminate the carbon footprint created in the course of marketing at OVO Energy. I hope our legacy will be to leave no legacy at all, and I hope other UK brands will adopt the same mission and assess how they too could reduce the environmental impact of their work.”

A new climate for creatives

The move from OVO Energy comes shortly after 40 PR agencies and more than 80 individuals across the creative sphere promised to disclose "climate conflicts" and income generated from working with high-carbon organisations.

Made after continued calls to action by green protest group Extinction Rebellion, the pledge has seen some of these actors cut ties with the fossil fuel sector altogether. Signatories include the likes of Futerra, Forster Communications, Greenhouse PR, Archipelago, Barley Communications and L & Co.

In a separate yet similar commitment, a further 60 news publishers this summer jointly pledged to “do justice to the defining story of our time” by “breaking the climate silence”

“We’re not here to tell people what to write or broadcast - all that’s required is for each outlet to make a good faith effort to increase the amount and the visibility of its climate coverage—to make it clear to their audiences that climate change is not just one more story, but the overriding story of our time,” Columbia Journalism Review, which is organising the commitment, said in a statement.

Sarah George



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