MSQ fires up green push with chief sustainability officer

James CanningsWith businesses across the planet falling over themselves to big up their green credentials on World Earth Day, marketing group MSQ is aiming to go one step further by appointing its first chief sustainability officer as part of plans to reduce overall carbon emissions per employee by more than 50% by 2024.

The group, which already claims to be the UK’s first carbon negative marketing business, is now focusing on the journey to become a low-carbon company.

To this end, MSQ has created a detailed strategy to significantly reduce emissions through key areas, such as switching to renewable energy providers across its 12 offices, implementing strategies to reduce commuting and in-work travel emissions, helping staff to switch to renewables to reduce homeworker emissions, as well as carrying out a full review of all key suppliers over the next three years.

To implement the vision and to ensure that sustainability remains one of MSQ’s core commitments at board level, the group has appointed the co-founder of its web and digital product development business MMT Digital, James Cannings, to spearhead the drive.

Cannings is no stranger to green issues; his already the co-chair of BIMA’s Sustainability Council, where he is responsible for championing sustainability in the digital sector and building a framework to enable all BIMA members to take action.

He also played a key role in helping MSQ become a carbon negative business last year, including running an intensive BIMA Sustainability Programme, attended by at least one employee from all 12 MSQ offices, to help calculate the group’s carbon footprint and identify ways to reduce emissions.

MSQ is also planning to recruit a dedicated Sustainability Executive, who will work with all employees to ensure the target of a further 50% reduction in carbon emissions per head by 2024 is met.

Since becoming carbon negative in November, the group has established an offsetting partnership with Ecologi, through which it insists it has already offset over 1,500 tonnes of CO2, which has funded projects such as onshore wind energy generation in Taiwan and forest protection in Zimbabwe, as well as planting over 65,000 trees.

The group is also working with Ecologi on a staff carbon offsetting scheme, enabling each MSQ employee to become a carbon negative member of society through an optional salary contribution. MSQ has also pledged to contribute further for every person that decides to join.

Cannings said: “I’m delighted to take on the role of chief sustainability officer and continue the amazing work that has been done in a relatively short space of time. MSQ is serious about putting sustainability at the heart of the way it conducts itself as a business.

“It’s why we’re not just a carbon negative business but also committed to rapidly becoming a low-carbon organisation. And thanks to the support from MSQ and through my work on the BIMA Sustainability Council, it’s also about supporting other businesses, especially the SMEs, in how to implement similar strategies that have clear actionable initiatives and make an immediate impact.”

In addition to its latest sustainability commitments, MSQ is poised to move into a new London HQ, a 20,000 sq ft office in Covent Garden, which has been designed to meet the highest sustainability criteria.

The group also has an established dedicated sustainability division, MSQ Sustain, which is already working with NGOs such as the World Economic Forum and The Nature Conservancy to directly engage global influencers in the climate change space.

MSQ chief executive Peter Reid said: “Tackling climate change is everyone’s responsibility and we want to do what we can to ensure we’re helping, not hindering, the cause. We believe every business should be ambitious with their sustainability goals and should be implementing clear, tangible plans to achieve them.

“We’re committed to putting sustainability front and centre in our business, working with wider industry initiatives and putting in place unique actionable plans of our own. In James we have a genuine leader in this space, with the passion, knowledge and understanding required to very effectively guide us on this journey. I’m delighted he’s taken the role.”

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