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POSITIVE CHANGE

Senior Writer and Editor
Patricia Murphy joined Havas Group in October 2019 as a Senior Editor and Writer. She has a background in digital journalism and content creation.
Havas Group’s Lorella Gessa, Chief Communications & CSR Officer, and Maria Escobar-Granet, Global CSR Project Manager, explain ISO 14001, and how it fits into the Group’s broader CSR strategy.

This environmental certification, awarded to 32 of our French entities, is a reflection of the high standards of environmental management undertaken by these agencies, who join 35 other Havas Group entities already certified in Spain and the UK.

Here, Lorella and Maria explain the components of the certification, plans for a global roll out, and how milestones like this solidify Havas Group’s ambitious CSR goals.

Can you describe the Group’s CSR strategy in a few words and how ISO 14001 certification fits in with your global approach?

Havas Group has always encouraged our global network to harness the power of our creativity to make a meaningful difference and to bring forth positive change in society. Corporate social responsibility has been our central priority, especially in recent years. Since 2009, we have defined ourselves through a common goal to operate as a responsible business and solidified six CSR commitments, alongside ambitious objectives to guide all of our practices and businesses. We launched Havas Positive Impact in 2020, our own unique CSR brand, which brought structure to our commitments beneath three key pillars: the environment, meaningful communication, and people.

“When an organisation is awarded this certification, it means that its systems are reducing its environmental impact as well as increasing its operating efficiency.”

To help ensure our objectives are successfully met, we paired Havas Positive Impact with an ISO 14001-certified Environmental Management System. This has helped the Group implement continual improvement processes. Through a set of practices, this system enables Havas entities to reduce their environmental impact and operating efficiency.

What is an ISO 14001 Certification?

The ISO 14001 Certification ensures an organisation’s Environmental Management System is compliant with the ISO standards. When an organisation is awarded this certification, it means that its systems are reducing its environmental impact as well as increasing its operating efficiency. The certification is awarded by an external body, and offers assurance to company management, employees and external stakeholders that a business is conscious of its carbon footprint and is taking concrete action to fight climate change. Recently, 32 French-based entities within Havas Group have been awarded this certification. These join 35 additional global entities who have been certified which means that 28% of the Group is now operating under the standards of the ISO 14001 certification.

“As a Group, we are aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025, and to achieve that, dramatic steps need to be taken.”

To put it simply, this EMS is a global framework that guides Havas’ entities to integrate environmental processes into their everyday business, right down to their operations and services. The EMS pushes us to be more conscious of the environmental impact our campaigns have (through tools like our Carbon Impact Calculator), and in turn, search for solutions. It’s truly a global effort, which integrates the environment into the Group’s business strategy and supports our clients’ efforts to reduce their own environmental impact. 

What is the ISO 14001 certification process like and are there plans to extend it beyond France, Spain and the UK?

In January 2020, we first established our “Green Team.” Comprised of agency leaders and representatives from executive committees, this dedicated strategic team in France was responsible for the creation, implementation and certification of the EMS in France. In November 2020, during five continuous days, the entities were audited, before ultimately being awarded the ISO 14001 certification. It is our plan for this system to be deployed globally in the coming months to help us achieve our environmental objectives. More than ever, clients also have an expectation that their agency of choice is certified. This certification is a further step towards supporting our agencies in their journey to obtaining the B Corp certification, which is more than an award or recognition. It shows that you are a part of a community that really believes that the planet, people and profit all go hand-in-hand. 

How does this certification fit into our broader environmental ambitions?

Ultimately, it is our ambition to become the leading communications group on environmental issues. Ambitions like that call for serious action. As a Group, we are aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025, and to achieve that, dramatic steps need to be taken. Certifications like this push us to be conscious of our impact on the environment every day and within everything we do to use our creativity to inspire true change.

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