#EthicalHour are proud to present our second annual Client Disclosure Report, as part of our ongoing impact strategy and commitment to tackling the climate crisis.
In May 2019, Extinction Rebellion called upon the advertising industry to use their creative powers for good and stop promoting clients that contribute heavily to the climate emergency.
Advertising and marketing has positioned a high-carbon, high-consumption lifestyle as something aspirational, driving up pollution, waste and toxic impacts on the planet and our mental health and well-being.
We all know that a crucial step in tackling the climate crisis is to reduce our levels of consumption, but breaking that cycle is hard to do when you’re surrounded by compelling marketing and advertising messages. In fact, the average person encounters between 6,000 and 10,000 adverts daily!
And even if we are able to take action as individuals, 71% of emissions come from just 100 companies. This problem is too big for individual action alone.
But those global corporations won’t be incentivised to change until it affects their profit. We either need legislation to regulate them (a slow process, especially considering that many corporations are also political donors) – or we need to find other ways to impact their bottom line.
And that’s where advertisers come in. By refusing to work with climate intensive industries, marketers and advertisers can influence public opinion and consumer behaviour, creating greater demand for sustainable products and green solutions, and forcing the big polluters to change their ways.
As a response to Extinction Rebellion’s call to arms, consultancy Futerra published a letter seeking like-minded agencies and individuals who are prepared to declare a climate emergency and be openly honest about any climate conflicts in their work and client portfolio.
The #CreativesForClimate movement invites marketers, advertisers and other creatives to pledge not to work on fossil fuel briefs, and to declare the percentage of turnover categorised by industry, including high carbon clients – so they can begin to reduce their own impact through the supply chains they are part of.
At #EthicalHour we were pleased to sign this letter and show our support. Our first Client Disclosure Report was published in 2019, covering all revenue since we first started.
We also set out a Client Engagement Policy, which declares the types of clients we welcome and the industries and businesses we will not associate ourselves with, based on their sustainability policies and ethical practices.
Today we are proud to publish our second annual Client Disclosure Report, covering revenue earned in 2020.
In our first report (covering 2016-2019), we reported 3 potential climate conflicts:
- 0.56% of revenue came from the dairy industry
- 0.15% of revenue came from timber, pulp and paper
- 0.18% came from plastics
We had worked with a small scale dairy on a transparency campaign to raise awareness of fair farmer incomes and dairy cow welfare, including seasonal free range grazing.
We worked with a plastic free packaging company who manufacture and print food-safe, recyclable, carton board packaging using renewable energy, natural, vegetable-based inks and independent verification to ensure their board is manufactured from sustainable stocks.
We also worked with a compostable plastic packaging company to raise awareness of their products, which can be disposed of in industrial compost rather than landfill.
We worked with these clients because we felt that they were showcasing positive alternatives as part of the transition to a more sustainable future.
In 2020, we are pleased to report that we have had no revenue from any of the carbon critical industries.
From 2016 – 2019, we also reported 0.66% of revenue from the alcohol sector, which is potentially controversial.
This was sponsorship from an independent brewery for our Be The Change Awards. They wanted to raise awareness of their sustainability and social impact initiatives – such as beach cleans, responsible packaging and commitment to biodiversity, so we felt they were a good fit with the ethos of the awards programme.
In 2020, we have no revenue from potentially controversial sectors.
7.8% of our revenue this year came from the fashion industry, which is known to be a major contributor to carbon emissions, textile waste and supply chain exploitation.
However, in line with our Client Engagement Policy, we will not work with fast fashion brands. All of this revenue came from slow, ethical and sustainable fashion brands working to clean up the industry and show that there is a better way.
Publishing this report is part of our ongoing positive impact strategy and commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action.
If you’re a B2B service provider, whether you work in marketing or not, you may wish to produce your own Client Disclosure Report, to help understand your revenue sources and any potential conflicts with your mission and values.
Last year we produced a step-by-step guide to help you get started.