We were appointed by a market-leading advertising client to devise a carbon reduction strategy. A global company with operations in nearly 80 countries worldwide, the client specialises in outdoor advertising – specifically street furniture and transport and billboard advertising.
Our goal was to assist the business in reducing carbon emissions from both its own operations and its entire value chain.
Establishing a carbon emissions baseline
Our first task was to support the client in establishing a robust Baseline Greenhouse (GHG) Footprint. This is a fundamental part of any decarbonisation strategy. Not only does the process help to identify key areas where emissions are produced within a business, it also serves as a reference point against which future emissions can be measured.
The calculations factor in the client’s own emissions and importantly, those associated with its value chain – otherwise known as Scope 3 emissions. These include the supply chain, from which a significant proportion of its total emissions derives.
Working closely with client stakeholders, we then used these metrics to identify carbon reduction measures and develop a long-term decarbonisation strategy. The results further helped the client in developing goals for submission to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which has become the global gold standard for aligning companies and organisations to net zero ambitions that support the Paris Agreement.
A robust, research-driven approach
One of the main challenges we faced was the mixed availability of data. Due to the client’s global presence, the activities and data collection varied significantly between countries, making it difficult to carry out an accurate and consistent assessment of emissions.
Thanks to our close collaboration with the client and relevant stakeholders, we were able to generate proxies – or reliable estimates – for emissions lacking direct primary data. This enabled us to build a more robust emissions profile.
Another challenge flagged by the client was understanding how its supply chain will decarbonise in future. Therefore, we performed extensive market research spanning key industries and sectors that have an impact on the client’s carbon footprint – such as the transportation, electronics and paper/pulp industries.
This information served two purposes. First, it helped bring clarity to the expected long-term decarbonisation trends in these sectors. Second, it highlighted suppliers which are already providing innovative low-carbon goods and services.
What are the benefits of a carbon reduction strategy?
With our carbon reduction strategy in place, the client is able to reduce their emissions in a more targeted way. Additionally, they can now implement measures to operate more sustainably across their entire value chain. Ultimately, this will help them reduce both cost and risk in the long term.
By projecting the client’s future emissions profile, we can see it now aligns with the SBTi’s Net Zero standard – a significant milestone for a company of its size and reach.