CONTINUING WITH MY series about carbon offsets for search engine marketing and Google’s Green Initiatives I stumbled across a company that seems to be doing it right. But first some background… A few weeks ago I wrote a couple posts announcing a fake ‘Google GreenWords’ program followed by another post for an idea around carbon offsets for paid search impressions. While researching these ideas for a more socially responsible way to manage paid search advertising I thought I had searched thoroughly enough on the topic of carbon offsets related to internet advertising, but clearly I did not.
The gem I found today is imc²’s Clear Sky Media’s carbon offset calculator for online advertising campaigns. imc² worked with Cody Taylor (IFC International) and Jonathan Koomey (Stanford University) in developing the math behind calculating the estimated cost to offset the carbon footprint of an online advertising campaign. The working paper – Estimating Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Internet Advertising – supports their findings and is available free at the imc² website.
At present the calculator is only for banner or display media advertising and is exactly what I had in mind when thinking about carbon offsets for paid search impressions on keywords. In fact since AdWords does support image ads, this handy tool can be used if your strategy includes such tactics.
The funny thing (to me) about this is that for all the research I thought I had completed in support of my earlier ideas, I only had to search as far as my own ‘backyard’. Turns out imc²’s Philadelphia office (Conshohocken, PA) is in the same building as ClickEquations where I reside.
imc² on Corporate Responsibility
Beyond sharing the same building, imc² is an established Dallas based all services type of internet advertising agency that seems to focus mostly on pharma/healthcare, consumer goods and retail industries. On the surface it looks like imc² is just another run of the mill agency until you dig a little deeper into the corporate responsibility section of their website. Wow. This unassuming company has a corporate social responsibility program in place that rivals the Toyota’s and White Dog Café’s of the world and is simply doing it right.
If you take some time and read their 2007 Positive Impact Report it is very clear that imc² is a dedicated people, profit, planet (triple bottom line) type company with sustainability at the forefront of everything they do.
The Positive Impact Report is extensive so I am not going to call everything out in this post. However I would at least like to point out that the imc² positive impact report follows the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Guidelines which is the leading international standard for social, environmental and economic performance. Since there are no official standards for this type of thing until ISO 26000 (guidance on social responsibility) is officially published, the GRI guidelines are best to model.
I would also like to point out that from the Positive Impact Report, imc²’s economic commitment is founded on the companies ‘ability to serve and lead our people and our clients into a more sustainable future.’
Their economic commitment is also closely tied to operational excellence also known as ‘process’. The argument that sound processes lead to tremendous sustainable growth is well documented organizations like the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and in articles like Corporate Social Responsibility by Denis Leonard and Rodney McAdam. It’s not clear as to what, if any, type of process methodologies are being implemented at imc², but as with any focus on operational excellence there come challenges. At imc² they state that ‘to overcome these challenges, we are aggressively developing and implementing a system for operational excellence that focuses on three key aspects of our operations — processes, people, and finance — to create systems that support accountability, enable smooth delivery, and enhance profitability.’
People at imc² matter too. They understand that ‘sustainability is about the growth of our people’. Internally, imc² has replaced its HR department with a People Team that views people in a more human and holistic way rather than just viewing people as resources. Although the changes to HR in 2007 we just the beginning, the following are noted as some of the most significant:
- Expanded People Team to provide more comprehensive support for the organization (vice president, people; director, learning; director, recruiting; director, people relations)
- Created a Learning Department and developed a new Learning Program (see Learning section for more details)
- Created the People Advisory Board (see People-Focused Teams section for more details)
- Enhanced our benefits programs, absorbing the entire cost of healthcare premium increases
In addition to the economic, process and people focus briefly outlined in this post, imc² also includes detailed information on how service, society and the environment also fit into their corporate responsibility program. Overall it is a very impressive program for a relatively young company with roughly 600 employees. This is a true testament to the fact that a small operation can be innovative, inspirational and have an impact in leading the way for the next generation of socially responsible companies.