In the past, CSR has had its own corner in a typical engineering or technical business. Largely it has consisted of standalone activities and charitable endeavours as a bolt-on to daily operations and generally separate from the core of the business, its ethos or goals.
Arguably, the pandemic has sped up the corporate shift from CSR initiatives to embedded ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) strategies. Paired with accelerated climate change initiatives, the view on business success has expanded to include the wider impact and influence on society. Simply put:
“COVID-19 has highlighted flaws in the use of financial metrics to measure the health and wellbeing of society. Corporations are being held to account for their societal impact.” – Vuelio, The Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) opportunity for public relations
It is no longer enough to just do good, businesses must aim to be good. This is long overdue and lays the groundwork for a more equitable business model that benefits people and the planet.
At Publitek, we recognise the privileged position we hold as communicators within our sector to influence the perception of ESG topics and demonstrate their reputational value to our clients. In doing this, we hope to drive change by encouraging all of our stakeholders to embody the Engineers Without Borders ethos of globally responsible engineering.
However, we cannot embark on this mission without first taking a clear-eyed view of our own impact. It would be tantamount to greenwashing by ignorance if we were to talk the talk before we walk the walk.
With this in mind, Publitek has embarked on its own ESG mission – to create and embed a strategy into our business that can be measured and held to account. This is done with two goals in mind:
Drive measurable change within the marketing agency. To harness our knowledge of engineering as a means to create a sustainable future and influence our wider industry.
For our clients:
Help our deeply electronics or industrial clients effectively develop and authentically communicate their sustainability initiatives and credentials.
This all begins with the creation of a materiality matrix. As a data-driven agency, we did not want our strategy to be built of presumptions or for our progress to be subjective.
To this end, we have created a survey that examines the value placed on a relevant range of environmental, societal and governance issues by our clients, our employees and our partners.
Those ratings will then be plotted against our ability to make change within the agency, and to our service offering (measured by current resource/knowledge, time scale and other logistical considerations).
With the matrix plotted out, we’ll be able to see short, medium and long-term goals – around which we can create effective strategies and activities. These could include anything from an agency-wide limit on flights, to engagement with local university programmes or a review of our recruitment processes.
With many of our clients already engaged with ESG initiatives and at the forefront of engineering’s quest to address the most serious issues facing our planet, we’re also looking forward to continuing to enhance and amplify their efforts.
But at the other end of this scale, we intend to work on the premise of inclusivity and of bringing those that are trailing behind along with us. With our broad range of clients, we recognise that moving in these waters can be intimidating and the perceived risk of ‘being caught out’ is a genuine concern. But with honest and transparent communications, we believe that it is possible to start effective work and be genuine about the journey – even if the point of embarkation is sub-optimal.
At Publitek, our core focus is “helping deep tech companies market innovation that’s changing the world.” We believe that this change needs to happen today – so we can engineer tomorrow.