Sustainability pays off: green commitments from Progressive agency
The agency recently held an office opening party, unveiling its new headquarters. In these times of the pandemic, this is exciting news in itself, but perhaps more importantly, they have made three major sustainability commitments. Tibor Hodik, managing partner of the agency, told us about why green activites are worthwhile for every participants.
By declaring these green goals, they are entering a very significant market as an almost unique player, although they had personal and professional experience for years.
Let's be green and everything will be fine?
Our decision to move strongly towards sustainability is basicly personal. I grew up on Durrell and Attenborough books, studied to be a biologist in the high school, then turned to economics. I have always been very concerned about our environment, I am an active outdoorsman. Sustainability has been ingrained in my life, along with the economic and technological aspects that came later. It was along these lines that my wife and I founded Natura Hill Guest House and Restaurant, which is a model of sustainable hospitality for nearly 8 years. At the agency we have been running an increasing number of green-themed projects in the last few years. So when I started the conversation in-house to get more serious about sustainable solutions for advertising, the team was super supportive. The tremendous enthusiasm was followed by a lot of ideas, which we programmed and started to implement.
It was important, now it will be even more important. What is changing now at Progressive?
We have institutionalised our commitment. I believe that the better future is based on three things: creativity, smart logic and using the best available technology. At the agency we have the knowledge and therefore the ability to drive change.
So this is climate panic?
We are not sounding the alarm and we will not be extremists. But it is important to realize that there is an intersection between natural and business sustainability: good practices and solutions are often available, it just takes a little extra energy to put in, find it and apply it wisely. We can help with that too.
Why is this worth it for the clients?
We see that the clients are under pressure, either from internal, corporate demands or external, consumer demands. Employees want to see what their employer is making efforts for the future, and a growing number of consumers want to buy more consciously. Whether it is communication, social expectations or customers, it's not only rewarding, but also mandatory to be sustainable.
Is it not enough for companies to put together a few good ideas, take a few recommendations and present them to the world as a huge effort?
In our experience, customers want real change, but without help, they are still more like wayfinders. Thoughtful good solutions are pretty rare, they often just replacing plastic cups with paper. It is praiseworthy, but we offer complex and commercially sustainable changes. At Progressive, we live and breathe this approach as a professional competence in our everyday lives, so our clients can rely on us. Our aim is to make our work a win-win situation for both clients and consumers.
The agency has made several commitments, for example, you are making changes yourself. From now you use wood-free paper and power saving light bulbs or you want some bigger?
We are definitely starting the change with ourselves. We are going to measure the agency's ecological footprint in a transparent way. We will know what works well and what could work better, then we will take action. I expect there will be many small changes in our life, but we are also ready for reform in many other areas. Obviously not the most important for customers but I would like us to be a bird-friendly workplace, for example. We have a roughly 30-line list of what we expect to do in the first round. Most of these can be done with a little attention. We will put them together and show you how they work for us.
What do you plan with your current and future clients?
We offer more sustainable tools where it is possible. During campaign planning, we show which solutions have alternatives with lower ecological impact. From autumn 2022, all presentations and offers will include green elements and we will expand the range of sustainable tools available to our clients. For example, we will offer long-life instruments, rather than single-use, or even more digital advertising tools and content solutions. Our offers will clearly show line by line what clients can choose from, and we will provide additional alternative solutions on the green slides of the presentations. We will gently depress our partners (laughs).
Your third commitment is to develop sustainable communication products. What does that mean?
Over the past decades, we have met countless actors who are active in sustainability. NGOs and professional organizations, consultants, scientists or even writers with a wealth of knowledge.
We collect, organise and develop the knowledge into communication tools that can be used in campaigns. For example, we will develop a body of knowledge on environmental education, which we will process and make compatible with corporate training, but we will also work together to produce promotional tools or solutions for events. Our first jointly developed solution will be presented in autumn 2022.
What do you expect in the medium term?
We need to find common ground between our customers' business needs and sustainability. In the very short term, I expect that we will create campaigns where our planet and our society are better off, alongside the client and the consumer. We will put in the extra energy needed to produce this win-win situation.