Iris unveils policy to incentivise clients to fight against climate change

Marketers encouraged to sign up to 'climate charter' and help businesses reduce carbon footprint.

Policy encourages clients to adopt environmentally friendly practices
Policy encourages clients to adopt environmentally friendly practices

Iris has launched a global initiative to incentivise clients to take positive action against climate change.

The “Client kickback” programme encourages clients to sign up to a new “climate charter”, which asks for commitment to five environmentally friendly principles that can help marketing departments contribute to the reduction of their business’ overall carbon footprint. 

The charter’s main focus is on decreasing international travel. Iris calculated that before lockdown, international travel made up 55% of the agency’s global emissions. 

The other principles include committing to sustainable production processes, promoting sustainable behaviour in creative work, reporting and measuring the carbon impact of campaigns and encouraging other companies within the industry to adopt similar practices. 

Those who sign up to the charter will be offered access to Iris’ sustainability specialists free of charge. Starbucks, an Iris client, is the first brand to do so. 

Other agencies within the Cheil Worldwide network – Cheil, Barbarian, BMB and McKinney – have also pledged to join the initiative. 

Ben Essen, global chief strategy officer at Iris, said: “In 2019, $1.4tn (£1tn) was spent globally on business travel – but 2020 has shown us that we can work smarter to save time, money and the planet. It's our job to empower clients to take bold action in the fight against climate change. The carbon kickback is a tangible way for us to start making a difference immediately, for both Iris and our clients.”

Iris has set targets for its 15 offices to be net zero by 2025. It has developed various internal policies to encourage carbon footprint reduction, such as offering employees additional holiday if they choose to take a train or drive instead of flying for their personal travel. 

Purpose Disruptors, the ad industry sustainability networking group which is backing Iris’ Client kickback policy, last year created a new metric called “Ecoffectiveness” to measure the carbon footprint of campaigns. Essen and Caroline Davison, managing partner at Elvis, led the initiative.

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