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By Simon Sikorski
Global Chief Executive Officer of Craft Worldwide, Simon Sikorski, evaluates actionable steps that need to be taken when creating a culture of accountability for sustainable production practices.
This is only the beginning not the end
Our goal at Craft is to be carbon neutral by 2040…..sustainability should not be considered as a finish line but as a starting point for a new way of thinking about production and content.
The word sustainability has become a common buzzword these days, and for valid reason. In its latest report, the IPCC calls for rapid and deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors in order to have a chance of keeping future warming within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels.
Obviously, this call for action pertains to our industry, our clients and the production practices we are pioneering in more than 120 countries at Craft Worldwide. The more we examine the industry, the more we realize we should move beyond hollow promises that we can be more sustainable and start measuring our real impact. Because without true and empirical accountability, we won’t be able to thrive in our industry. After all, in production, both art and science come together- it’s an art that moves people and changes behaviour, but it’s also a sophisticated and technical field where every decision is calculated.
Our sustainability program is more than just a collection of initiatives. It is one of the foundations on which we build our business, and it’s a core part of who we are. With dozens of active partnerships and bold targets for the upcoming years, Craft has many systems in place. We have created a decarbonization strategy and are taking steps to reduce emissions within various departments, including travel, production, and our physical offices.
But this is easier said than done. As we built our system, we considered many questions: How do we foster local accountability while achieving global impact? What are some ways to ensure our team stays focused on creating outstanding content while reducing our carbon footprint? The following principles have been the driving forces behind our efforts:
1. Sustainability is not a siloed effort
The production industry is a collaborative one, and we know that to achieve the best results, we must work together as a team and make sustainability a priority. This is why we have been working hard on developing strong relationships with our partners, both within and outside our agency network.
We believe it’s our responsibility to lead by example and create long-term value for our clients. We begin with a deep understanding of their business and sustainability objectives to tailor a production strategy that helps them achieve their carbon targets. We ensure that the best creative is executed efficiently, effectively, and responsibly through regular consulting and tailor-made production solutions.
We have developed strong relationships with some of the biggest names in sustainability, including Adgreen, Ad Net Zero, EACA, the 4As, Green The Bid, Creast, and Carbon Trust. Our affiliation with these organizations keeps us accountable, helps us measure our carbon footprint, and provides our production teams and crews with highly specialized training.
2. Local accountability is key.
Innovation is impossible without our most precious resource: our team. Yet, as an agency with over 1,300 creative makers, how do we ensure that those global ambitions are achieved locally? Here are four fundamental steps to follow:
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. We must measure our carbon footprint based on everything we do on set: from transportation to lighting, virtual studios, and even the cutlery we use in catering. Several partners are in place to ensure that an expert team calculates the most important numbers for us while we let our crew do what they do best- bring creativity to life. Currently, we are using carbon calculators on local levels and will expand their use globally this year.
A solid reporting system is necessary to document our progress. After all, we need to demonstrate true progress, as we have committed to Science-Based Targets by 2022 and have signed the UN Global Compact and Business Ambition for 1.5. To accomplish this, each office has a sustainability champion who is responsible for driving sustainability education, awareness, and actions on the ground. They report to the studio leaders, who ensure we reach our goals at a local and global scale.
After the reports are compiled, it is time to analyze them. How have we improved since last time, and what steps must we take to move forward? In order to learn and innovate, we have to constantly keep pushing past what’s comfortable. We can’t get complacent with our success. The more data we track, the better we will be able to predict what needs improvement in our business and how we should address those issues. As we gather more data points over time, we will be able to look back at historical trends and use this information to help shape future decisions.
The magic happens here. From every learning, we can optimize our operations to minimize our ecological footprint. With the support of our local sustainability champions, we ensure that all key learnings are implemented locally, considering each studio’s culture and intricacies, allowing for optimization and a continuous virtuous cycle that will make us a more sustainable agency.
There is a unique element that should be ingrained in every step of the process to ensure we are successful: Believing in the impact. We understand that sustainability is not just about adding more solar panels or recycling more waste; it’s also about integrating sustainability into our workplace culture. We want to create an environment where our employees can feel good about their work because they are doing something meaningful for their community and the planet. Ultimately, when our teams believe in our vision, they become the best partners in action.
Our goal at Craft is to be carbon neutral by 2040, but what happens then? It is a great step forward, but the journey is still far from over. Sustainability should not be considered as a finish line but as a starting point for a new way of thinking about production and content. Sustainability is about following fair practices, compensating the community you are in, and making sure the next generation inherits a better industry and society.
I’m excited to see how the industry’s growing awareness of climate change takes shape in the coming years. I’m optimistic because I know there are passionate, dedicated people who aren’t afraid to drive change. Creative leaders can make a huge impact on the industry, and their actions will undoubtedly warrant attention. We are ready for the challenge.
Simon Sikorski is Global Chief Executive Officer at Craft Worldwide.