Agencies risk axe from COI roster over eco credentials

Agencies could face getting the chop from the COI roster if they fail to present a valid environmental policy. The Government advertising body is poised to launch a review into it suppliers’ green credentials later this year, as it gets serious about setting targets for all businesses in areas such as carbon emissions.

A COI spokeswoman confirms that in the future it “will look at green credentials of all our agencies”. It has already begun a review of other parts of its business and has recently completed a review of its building and equipment purchases. It is due to be approved by the COI management board.

The spokeswoman adds that it is planning to work with industry bodies, such as the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, on the review. ISBA says that it is already working with its members on reworking sustainability guidelines for its members, which includes the COI. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has also set up a working group on sustainability. It is being chaired by Proximity chief executive Amanda Philips.

The move by the COI is expected to act as a major warning to agencies that have yet to start looking at their green policies. Hugh Burkitt, chief executive of The Marketing Society, says that green issues are increasingly affecting clients and their marketing strategies. He adds: “It is a trend with huge implications for everyone in the industry and it has commercial advantages and disadvantages. There is no excuse for people not to be looking at it.”

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