ZOOM Advertising – Ogilvy’s expert retail advertising and ‘brands at retail’ agency – is the first agency to become carbon neutral in South Africa. ZOOM undertook a process of analysing its total carbon footprint in terms of electricity and paper usage and by the amount of travel incurred by staff vehicular travel and executive air travel. This information was then fed into the ‘Trees for Africa’ calculator in order to give a total number of trees needed to render ZOOM not only carbon neutral but also environmentally responsible.
ZOOM’s creative director, Deon Robbertze project managed the audit: “Once we had all the figures, we then added a further 10% for margin of error. With car travel, for example, we included employees’ total travel in a year and not just their work travel. We have more than covered our footprint.”
ZOOM’s total carbon output is 60.5 tons per year. To counteract the effects, at least 325 trees would need to be planted. ZOOM chose to plant 360 trees and to work with ‘Food and Trees for Africa’, an NGO that plants fruit trees and trains communities on how to care for and monitor the growth of the trees. “By doing this,” continues Robbertze, “we are helping communities to be sustainable. Our trees will be planted in a number of disadvantaged areas in and around Cape Town over the next 12 months.”
ZOOM MD, Steve Massey says that, in the past, being neutral was not necessarily a good thing. “We’ve been media neutral for a while; now we’re carbon neutral – and the first agency to achieve this. The key here is that part of our philosophy is to promote sustainable marketing – i.e. to build socially responsible campaigns for our clients and to encourage them to give something back. As their agency, and with initiatives like this one, ZOOM can lead by example.”