Anything is Possible become a carbon negative agency

By Vicki Kuehnel,

For brands, media owners and agencies alike, there is a real drive in the British advertising industry towards becoming carbon net zero over the next decade with projects like Ad Net Zero and BIMA’s Carbon Negative Project.  Anything is Possible  are delighted to say we have achieved our initial ambition of becoming an entirely carbon negative agency. (Or ‘climate positive’, as we prefer.)

This collective mission to bring about industry-wide action to cut carbon emissions is something we at Anything is Possible are very passionate about supporting.

We have been calling out for more sustainable and conscious advertising for years. It’s why we set the agency up.  We jumped at the chance of being part of a wider industry initiative to be greener.

We have since reached the point where we are offsetting over 2x the carbon we produce, and covering our personal carbon production as well.

We have partnered with BIMA’s Sustainability Council for their three month kickstarter programme to measure our organisation’s carbon footprint. BIMA’s workshops outlining focused strategies to reduce an organisation’s footprint. We implemented processes to monitor and measure our carbon impact and foster a sense of ownership around this pro-planet project. Now we have that framework in place, we plan to roll the initiative out to support our clients’ own sustainability goals.

The business case for going carbon negative

Offsetting doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. You can have a huge impact for less than £75 per person per year. £7,500 for a company of 100 people should be plenty in the media industries, where resource costs is mainly electrical consumption.

Many initiatives are cost neutral (e.g. switching to renewable energy suppliers) or save money in the long run (e.g. switching to low energy LED lighting in offices).

The cost is mostly time. Our estimation is businesses should commit around 20 days a year across a small working group to drive this forward. The other hidden cost is intent, or purpose – the will to get it done. You have to want to do it and push it forward. And to do that – you have to know why it’s valuable. 

Besides the hugely positive impact it has on the planet, going carbon negative offers companies commercial successes.

It can open up conversations with existing clients and helps new clients understand where our values align with theirs. Having gone through this process ourselves, we want to use that experience to offer something valuable to our clients. So we are using our existing skills with data and analysis tools to map out our clients’ carbon footprints too. We’re in the process of creating an always-on dashboard so they monitor their efforts.

This initiative has also helped bring people from different internal teams together to collaborate on this project. We’re calling our working group PlanetX (because we’re cool like that)! 

So what is the working group doing?

Modeling our base

We built our aip PlanetX team to offer support to the wider agency in how we go about offsetting. The first step was to model our base before we can look to reduce and track our CO2 footprint. But this is no easy feat and perhaps even harder as we restart our former working habits. 

This has prompted us to self-reflect and ask some questions. Should we change our commute? Swapping the train for trainers maybe? Are we really needed in the office everyday?

After asking our team members to anonymously share some information on their habits including how much they have travelled in the last two years, we were able to model out our base footprint. Like so many, we still have a lot of improvements to make but overall, we have come out in a good position. As an agency we would need to plant 1,175 trees to offset our current carbon footprint. 

We will continue to track our reductions as we return to former working habits as well as holding regular team catch ups to review our progress and workshop ideas for fast tracking changes.

What steps can we all take?

As we all return to the workplace, we have an industry-wide responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet. It’s about finding the balance. We know that relationships need to be nurtured, after a long time away from face-to-face meetings. But is all business travel essential, or could we continue to use video conferencing more? We are, of course, excited about attending awards events again. But we are reducing the number we attend in person, and seeking out awards that have sustainability criteria. 

Doing better for the planet is part of our core business values. aip are showing that we can innovate, at the leading edge of the industry, and boost our triple bottom line. For people, planet and profit

At the heart of everything we do, we harness the power of advertising and media to promote sustainable consumer behaviour. As such, we’re excited to be working with our clients to develop their own lower-carbon plans.

To find out more about our PlanetX mission and how we can help your media, marketing and advertising go carbon negative, just get in touch.