Forster leads the industry with new climate commitments

By Forster Communications

Forster Communications is putting people at the heart of climate action in its new Taking it Personally plan. It has committed to creating an Integrated Profit and Loss (IPL) account to understand the total impact it is making across all its stakeholders, be they shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers or broader society.

After three years of action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its whole value chain, the agency, which is a founding UK B Corp, is expanding its commitments to place people and nature alongside climate.

As part of the plan, Forster is pledging to increase fair pay within and beyond its supply chain in recognition of the urgent need to address the climate emergency and tackle social inequality at the same time.

This will be bought together with the development of an IPL account, in place of a traditional financial account, by quantifying and putting a monetary value on impacts across every aspect of its business. While the IPL framework is not new, its application by business is rare; Forster will use itself as a testbed, working with experts and sharing learnings.

In January 2020, Forster announced its industry-leading Climate Positive Plan, going substantially beyond expectations for small businesses. It set SBTi validated science-based reduction targets and over the last three years it has ensured that all its suppliers are committed to reducing GHG emissions.

It became a plant based business in 2020, reducing the average carbon footprint of its catering by two thirds, and reducing land use, water and biodiversity impacts by over a half. By March 2023, 82% of its clients had GHG emission reduction targets in place, representing 62% of its income. It is also a member of Clean Creatives.

Amanda Powell-Smith, Forster’s CEO, said:

“We have always been a purpose-led business, using the power of communications to protect and improve lives. Setting bold targets and standing up for what we believe has been good for business. As we reduced our emissions over the last three years, we increased our revenue, growing our team by 46%, winning 11 awards and building a global portfolio of similarly progressive clients. The climate crisis versus the economy is a false dichotomy and our new plan tackles this head on, putting people at the centre of climate action.”

While its impacts are impressive, Forster is keen to note that its climate positive ambitions have not all been plain sailing. For example, although most of its suppliers were willing to talk about what they were doing or wanted to do to reduce GHG emissions, one refused. It was one of Forster’s largest suppliers and, after significant effort to engage them, their contract was terminated and an alternative provider who met its climate ambitions was appointed.

Olivia Martins, Account Director at Forster, said:

“At Forster part of the reason why our clients value us is because we go beyond core delivery to help them address complex issues and change processes. It’s critical that we’re walking the talk and are being just as tough on ourselves, always seeking to go further and do more. As before, Taking it Personally is a blueprint available to every organisation and we’d love to see other businesses replicating it.”

In the development and ongoing activation of its plan, Forster is supported by climate and sustainability partner, Green Element, who also verified the measurement methods of its new Taking it Personally plan.

Forster’s plan includes a detailed three-year roadmap for how its ambitions will be achieved. This can be viewed here.

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