Havas Health & You’s newly established Impact Team works to bolster internal knowledge of key topics in sustainability, diversity, and inclusion and also serves clients to ensure they’re aligned with our core Havas values. We spoke to Andrew Cahill, Sustainability Manager, to learn more about the team.
Can you give us some more information on your background and why you’re interested in sustainability?
Before joining Havas Health & You as Sustainability Manager, I worked for a boutique environmental law firm researching and addressing environmentally contaminated sites throughout the United States that posed public health and environmental risks. Prior to that, I helped build environmental sustainability marketing initiatives focused on the sports industry at the University of Colorado while I received my graduate degree in environmental policy and management. Before graduate school, I gained experience working on environmental and legal issues at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and in the U.S. Congress.
Initially my interest in the environmental field was piqued because I followed local environmental issues growing up in the Hudson Valley of New York State. It is a particularly environmentally sensitive area with the Hudson River, Catskill Mountains and reservoirs that serve New York City’s water supply. The major focusing event for me, however, was a cancer diagnosis following my freshman year of college. I saw a connection between environmental protection and health and wanted to make a difference in proactively reducing negative environmental impacts. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to do that at Havas Health & You and although effectively addressing climate change and environmental issues is complex, I want to make sure I do my part to leave a better future for my two young kids and their generation.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I like to start by catching up on the latest environmental and sustainability related news, both from national media and advertising industry publications, particularly as sustainability has emerged as a topic of increased focus within the industry. Then, I start in on my daily to-do list, which is made up of addressing an increased volume of incoming client requests for sustainability information and working on internal sustainability initiatives – building collaboration with other sustainability stakeholders within Havas to find ways that we can make a difference.
What’s HH&Y’s Impact Team?
The HH&Y Impact Team was recently established and is made up of stakeholders from Marketing and Human Resources, including our Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) and myself as Sustainability Manager. There is particular focus on sustainability and DE&I as clients and consumers alike are increasingly tracking our environmental and social impact. We seek to work together to serve as a resource to internal stakeholders as they navigate these topics and engage and educate them through initiatives to ensure we’re taking action that will make a meaningful difference and increase HH&Y’s positive impact. I am excited about the team’s potential and look forward to being part of its continued evolution.
What are your goals for advancing sustainability initiatives across the network?
I really want to focus on employee engagement and familiarizing Havas Health & You employees across the network with the benefits that come with investment in environmental sustainability initiatives. Havas Group has set ambitious targets to reduce our environmental impact through the Impact+ initiative, so in addition to increasing awareness around sustainability, I want to drive action that will help meet those targets. Ultimately, while environmental sustainability is a massive topic and seeking to reduce negative impacts can often seem daunting, every sustainable action – no matter how big or small – can add up to make a larger positive impact.
Can you speak to the intersection of health & sustainability?
Sustainability can be such an abstract term, as it can be defined many ways. Additionally, many of the areas or actions that must be addressed occur every day that we either take for granted (i.e. energy/water/waste/paper usage) or are mostly out of view (energy sources, waste production). They’re not always something tangible that people can connect to. I like to focus on making connections to examples of sustainability’s pragmatic application – the benefits. Human health is a great example, as environmental sustainability and human health are complementary. Sustainability initiatives focus on reducing negative environmental impacts –investment in sourcing renewable energy for example, reduces environmental pollution of air and water, ensuring cleaner air and water for communities. It is also part of my personal story – as I mentioned previously, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer after my freshman year of college and while I will never know the factors that combined to cause the disease, it is likely that environmental factors could have contributed.