How going carbon-neutral pays

PR agencies that offset their carbon emissions will reap business benefits, according to those that are already 'carbon-neutral'.

The claim follows criticism of PR consultancies' performance on green issues from Sue Welland, founder of The CarbonNeutral Company.

PRWeek has compiled a list of those agencies known to be - or planning to become - carbon-neutral.

Sean Fleming, MD of Reading-based Clarity PR, which went carbon neutral last year, claimed the move had enabled his company to retain more clients. ‘More and more clients are talking about this subject,' he said. ‘As they become carbon-neutral themselves they expect it from their agency.'

Citigate Dewe Rogerson offsets its staff's flights with Portman Travel to calculate its ‘carbon output'. It pays a fee every nine months that goes towards carbon-reducing projects. MD Deborah Saw said: ‘From a purely business perspective the best people are concerned about the world. If you want to attract them you have to prove you are environmentally sensitive.'

Requests for agencies' to prove their green credentials are increasing being included in tender documents, particularly in the public sector, said Saw. But she admitted Citigate is not yet fully carbon-neutral.

Surprisingly, the Carbon Trust's retained agency - Fishburn Hedges - is not carbon-neutral. ‘At FH we take the reduction of our carbon emissions seriously,' said CEO Simon Matthews. ‘However, as we are a tenant and do not own our building, so we are restricted in what we can do.'

SEPERATELY... Taylor Herring - carbon-neutral for a year - this week revealed it was pulling out of the
CarbonNeutral scheme. MD James Herring said: ‘On putting it to a staff vote this week, we decided to take responsibility for, and address, the issues ourselves, rather than getting a third party to invest in external schemes.'

The agency plans to install solar-powered phones and sponsor local green projects.

Carbon neutral PR agencies

Bell Pottinger (aiming to be by 2007)
Capital MS&L (achieved in 2006)
Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster (2006)
Exposure (2006)
Clarity PR (2005)
Fido (2005)
Taylor Herring (2005, but pulled out of CarbonNeutral this week)
Trimedia Communications (2005)
Midnight Communications (2002)
Synapse Communications (2000: now part of Four Communications - not carbon neutral)

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