Weber Shandwick – Actionable Leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility
Weber Shandwick has become a thought leader in the growing field of corporate social responsibility marketing (CSR), working with brands to strategize and report their CSR initiatives, and to build strategic communication platforms that drive advocacy and engagement. Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact Practice partners with corporations, nonprofits and foundations to develop strategic platforms and campaigns that reach key audiences with resonant and actionable messages on CSR and social issues spanning global development, education, sustainability, human rights and more.
Weber Shandwick has taken a strong policy towards its own operational efficiency as well. The agency has been pursuing a long-term strategy to reduce the environmental footprint of its internal business units, as it works with clients to reduce theirs.
Weber Shandwick focuses its environmental efforts in four key areas: supplier relations, paper use, energy use, waste and recycling.
To focus these efforts, Weber Shandwick followed guidelines for ISO-14001 certification, a framework for environmental management, measurement, evaluation, and auditing. In 2008, Weber Shandwick North America became ISO-14001 certified, becoming one of the first multi-office PR agencies in the U.S. to achieve this milestone. The London office led the way with its certification in 2007.
Weber Shandwick has voluntarily pursued LEED certification for many of its offices, including Chicago (LEED Silver), Boston (LEED Certified), and DC (LEED Silver expected). The agency has found an exciting synergy between LEED and ISO – by focusing on sustainability in both how they do business and where they do business. LEED certification represents best practices in sustainable design and construction, while ISO certification represents best practices in business operations and employee behavior. Combined, the sustainability benefits are magnified.
The agency has formed employee “green teams” in its offices around the world to maintain the rigorous ISO 14001 certification requirements, and to help implement a systematic approach to setting future environmental objectives and targets. Weber Shandwick has also tied sustainability goals into its management structure, adding an Environmental Manager to its corporate staff.
Weber Shandwick’s CSR committee created an environmental management policy, containing standard operating procedures including:
- Requiring all new North American leases to provide electricity sub-metering, in order to incentivize tenant-driven energy efficiency
- Only entering into new lease spaces with landlords that provide recycling
- Purchasing carbon offsets for non-billable employee travel
- Conducting employee sustainability training for new hires, and presenting facility initiatives at staff meetings
- Encouraging LEED and sustainable products for construction build-outs, when cost-effective
With its self-governing sustainability policy, Weber Shandwick is becoming known as a success story for large communications agencies. Increasingly, clients with robust “green” strategies are turning to Weber Shandwick, with the knowledge that their messaging will be understood at a fundamental level. The agency’s commitment to responsible use of resources, energy, and water – reinforced through its ISO-14001 certification and employment of an in-house environmental manager – translates to a deeper engagement with sustainability-focused clients and consumers. Interpublic is working with other agencies to expand and translate this successful model of environmentally responsible operations.
In April 2012, Weber Shandwick was named to PR News’ Corporate Social Responsibility “A-List” for developing and managing innovative and successful corporate social responsibility initiatives for clients.
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