Why green credentials lead from the front
Sabrina Clarke interviews Media Bounty MD Jake Dubbins about attaining B-Corp certification, and why sustainability should be a top priority for businesses.
In my article, ‘Consumers want a transparent commitment to being green with an end-date’, I recommended sustainable supply chains, sustainable productions and green credentials as the blueprint of collective action to make media a more sustainable industry that responds to consumer expectations. I asked Jake Dubbins (pictured, right), Managing Director of Media Bounty, a recently certified B-Corp company, his views on green credentials and why they are essential.
Why did you think investing in a green credential was important, and why did you choose B-Corporation (B-Corp)?
1. We’re ultimately a small independent agency with big ambitions to make a difference in the world. We can only have so much impact on our own. We’re facing existential crisis. The world needs collective action at scale. We can amplify our impact if we join with others. In a world that’s lurching from one crisis to next, you can sway in the prevailing wind or you can make a stand and lead from the front to call for systemic change. Where governments are failing, our business communities need to step up.
2. There is so much greenwashing. Not just big polluters and huge corporates, but agencies too. We’ve got an authentic ethical positioning that we have stood by for 14 years and we wanted to be able to prove it.
How long did it take you to achieve B-Corp certification, and how did you find the process?
The process is clear and inspired us to push ourselves even further. The Impact Assessment is an immensely helpful business tool. The pandemic hit when we were in the middle of the process and the certification criteria changed part way through, so it got derailed twice on the way. In the end it took about 200 hours including the false starts!
Can you provide examples of how you have made Media Bounty more sustainable?
We launched ACT Climate Labs – a massive collaborative project with now over 200 members to share expertise and educate the climate sector on climate misinformation, narrative and paid media.
We also began measuring, reducing and offsetting an increasing amount of operational Scope 3 emissions – including homeworking and commuting, as well as production and media plans.
In addition, we introduced a slow holiday policy.
What were your Top Three lessons learnt from your certification process?
1. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. Our business has been strengthened since day one of our certification journey. Much like building a business itself, it’s a story of incremental improvements. We were an ethical business long before we started the process or got the badge. But our certification helps us to galvanise our resolve to use advertising for good, produce work that has genuine impact, and make the world a better place.
2. It will take longer than you think.
3. Be mindful that the longer it takes you to complete the assessment, the more revisions you’ll need to make as things change in your business. Assessment criteria does change from time to time so you might need to go back to the beginning and start again.
What is your message to leaders who think sustainability isn’t a priority?
Anyone who doesn’t think sustainability is a priority should remember what happened to Blockbuster or Kodak or any of those businesses that were in denial about change, and remember that this is change on a scale that has no precedent.
As the IPCC say, we are facing a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future. If that is not a priority, I do not know what is.
Sabrina Clarke is managing partner of Build Global, a boutique strategy consultancy. She specialises in consultancy around strategy, transformation and sustainability.
The Media Leader’s parent company, Adwanted UK is currently pursuing B-Corp certification. Read about our journey here.