On one side of things, media does a good job of trying to engage the global audience and raise awareness of these issues, trying to align people toward a common goal.
Battling climate change is not the work of companies and corporations. It is not even the responsibility of a country. It is the responsibility of each and every individual to try and change some of their habits to have a more positive impact on the status quo. If things change at the grassroots level, the whole impact is massive. It is a bottoms-up approach rather than a top-down approach. I know many of you do your best, so kudos to you.
On the other hand, the media itself does have a role to play. I did a little research. Did you know that if the Internet was a country, it would be the fifth largest consumer of energy on the planet? According to a different study I read, media consumption contributed to approximately 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions way back in 2007. Fast-forward to now and the increased usage of digital media, cellphones and more, and that number has got to be double at least. We all make statements about “don’t print this email” and how sending digital updates is better than physically sending reports via snail mail, but in many cases we are simply shifting the blame from one aspect of our day to another.
How can we be better?
Reading on the topic is enlightening because there are actually a lot of innovative minds trying to handle it. There are initiatives like Green GRP from a group called ClimatePartner. I saw a company called Good-Loop that wants to help ad-tech companies offset the environmental impact of advertising and marketing. Each of these are ideas that can have impact at the corporate level in ad tech, martech and media. What are some things you can do at your level to spur these initiatives?
When was the last time you asked your CEO about your company’s environmental, social, and corporate governance policy, especially as it relates to the environmental components? The social and corporate governance elements are front and center and discussed internally quite often, but how often are you talking through the environmental impact of your company with your leadership? In the last 18 months, the drop in business travel has had a massive impact, and there is hesitancy to re-engage at previous levels, but what else can you be pushing your company to do?
Media and tech companies love their snacks and fringe benefits. Are your companies’ fringe benefits wasteful? Do you waste food, throw away too much plastic or create excess garbage that can be reduced? What about company schwag? Does your marketing team buy merchandise that ends up thrown away, sitting in a landfill, of no use at all? Do you hold events and give your customers notebooks, pens and junk that doesn’t get used ever?
These are all small ideas, but small ideas add up to big impact. Your company’s environmental impact starts with you and your input on their initiatives. If you spend a few minutes engaging your leadership on these ideas, you will find that leaders want to listen.
As I started out saying, the planet has every right to be angry with us. As an intelligent species with self-awareness, we should take a step back, think it through, and do something about it. Will you take that first step on behalf of the industry?