Dentsu partners with Act Now

Natasha Allard

Senior Manager, Global Environment Strategy at dentsu international

Every year, World Environment Day focuses governments, businesses, and citizens on critical environmental issues and the action we all need to take. It’s an opportunity to change behaviours, to challenge the norm, and reimagine the way we do things. This year at dentsu, we're making the choices and actions real for our people and clients.

When it comes to sustainability, what I often hear is “it’s complicated”. And sometimes it can be. What has historically been a scientific and political challenge, is now also a communications issue. Too often we’re bombarded by misinformation and complex terms, and I’m guilty of the latter.

So, we've partnered with the UN on its Act Now campaign, raising awareness and increasing action every day to encourage more sustainable choices. From everyday lifestyle tips to performance tracking, the UN Act Now App provides direction on how to protect our planet, by making actions simple, and by helping people to measure progress towards a sustainable lifestyle. We want to help our 46,000 people understand how we can integrate more sustainable choices into their personal lives, our work and client campaigns too.

Understanding how we can manage our own personal impact on climate change – at home and work - is critical to delivering on global environmental commitments, and it’s an issue we at dentsu are integrating into everything we do.

Dentsu has committed to Net Zero emissions by 2030, underpinned by a science-based emissions reduction target, to prevent a rise above 1.5°C, in order to mitigate the most dangerous effects of climate change. But as a digital communications and marketing network, this direct carbon footprint is nothing compared to the ability dentsu has to change mindsets, influence behaviours and inspire people to live more sustainable lifestyles.

Dentsu’s Ad Spend Report 2021 highlights the effect that the pandemic has had on consumers’ brand loyalty, with many sticking to new choices they made in 2020. And, as in other downturns, price will become a more prominent factor in purchase choices. Trust, however, was identified as a key factor and developing this relationship through messaging will support brand relationships in the long-term.

The dentsu Consumer Vision research found that by 2030, two-thirds of UK consumers won’t buy products with a negative environmental impact. Many businesses are taking dramatic steps to build a more sustainable future. But the report found that despite these positive actions, consumer scepticism will likely remain pronounced over the next decade, with heightened consumer awareness demanding greater corporate environmental performance. To build this trust, brands will need to reconsider their customers as activists, driven by a new range of influences and causes, from climate change to data privacy, and new definitions of identity. 

For example, according to dentsu’s Ad Spend Report, automotive advertising is set to grow at nearly 14% from -24% growth in 2020, as carmakers look to encourage more consumers back on the garage forecourt after a challenging year. This presents an opportunity to build trust by encouraging consumers to make better, more sustainable choices. According to the International Energy Associations Global EV Outlook 2021 report, electric car registrations increased by 41% in 2020, despite the pandemic-related worldwide downturn in car sales in which global car sales dropped 16%.

Five months into my role in dentsu, I’ve been inspired by how our people are making it real through our work. Just some of the examples that I’ve come across are:

  • Through a brand stories content strategy, Vizeum positioned E.O.N as a purpose-led brand focused on energy supply, renewables and energy networks
  • Posterscope and MediaCo joined forces to bring 100% recycled paper to the market for out-of-home advertising for the first time in the UK.
  • With an increasing number of whales washing up on shores with plastic in their stomachs, this campaign aimed to raise awareness and increase public engagement with the cause

It’s no longer a scientific challenge, but a behavior and consumption challenge that starts with communication. Over the next decade, dentsu has set out to help 1 billion people make better, more sustainable choices. The first step in the journey is integrating sustainable behaviours into core design processes from 2021. Our partnership with the UN on Act Now will enable us to bring these behaviours to life for our people and embed this into our work. Supporting business growth whilst integrating sustainability across campaigns.

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to sustainability, so this is just one way we will start to make it real for our people and our clients. Dentsu’s vision is to inspire people everywhere towards a new way of living. Social Impact is our strategy for achieving this and as a global organisation of 46,000 passionate people, we have the creativity, skills and potential to make this happen.

Find out more about dentsu’s global Social Impact strategy here.