Written by Bethany Skinnard | UK
on December 08, 2023

The latest environmental news and UP's focus on CSR

2023 saw climate change reach unprecedented levels, with yet more devastating climate crises happening in Europe, the US, China, India and beyond.

Raging wildfires, catastrophic floods and record-breaking heat waves continued to plague our planet and impact society’s most vulnerable people. 

Many scientists questioned whether the world’s unabating carbon emissions are finally thrusting the climate crisis into an expedited phase of destruction. Certain studies highlighted many people’s scepticism about achieving much hyped emissions targets. For example, seven in 10 Britons don’t believe that the UK will reach its 2050 net-zero target (according to official Government polling).

However, despite seemingly endless media coverage of the climate crisis, there has also been a host of positive news stories regarding climate action. We’ve seen exciting advancements in new technologies designed to help mitigate the effects of climate change. We’ve also witnessed radical shifts in culture change, consumer behaviour and policy (in October 2023, Wales followed Scotland and England in banning single-use plastics).

With COP28 currently taking place in Dubai (30 November  - 12 December 2023), we remain hopeful that further meaningful and impactful climate action will be agreed upon. It was announced on day one of the conference that a long-awaited fund to pay for damage from climate-driven events will be awarded to poor countries reeling from the impacts of climate change.

We must remain optimistic that a brighter future will prevail. As a result, our blog content throughout December is dedicated to sustainability-related matters. Content on our sustainability agenda will cover technology and innovation, sustainability’s impact on the workplace, the perils of greenwashing and tips for sustainable website design. 

Climate action can obviously be taken on an individual level - everyone can play their part by placing a greater focus on reducing their carbon footprint (whether that be through actions such as carbon offsetting, opting for an Electric Vehicle (EVs), renewable energy tariff or investing in green funds). However, our series will also address the need for wider cultural and behavioral change regarding sustainability. 

Climate action is happening and as mentioned, positive news stories and exciting initiatives do abound. Take the entertainment industry for example, over 100 actors are supporting “Green Rider” a run by Equity (the union for the performing arts and entertainment industry) as part of its efforts to improve sustainability in the UK’s film and TV industry.

Netflix, the streaming giant places considerable emphasis on promoting their “entertain to sustain” messaging. An approach reflected by Teslas now being featured in car chases and the stepping away from the glamourising of travel by private jets. Another example from the publishing industry is that of TIME. The renowned magazine has long been lauded for its sustainability commitments. The title organised one of the world’s first major climate-change conferences over 30 years ago and now only uses responsibly sourced timber for its pages.

Let’s now look much closer to home… Since UP’s inception in 2011, we have sought new and innovative ways to minimise our environmental impact and to build on our green agenda. 

So, this begs the question:

Q: How does UP put its sustainability ambitions into action?

A: By the following examples of how we hold ourselves socially and environmentally accountable.

UP is proudly remote first. We are arguably the world’s first global cloud-based agency. Our members possess some of the best minds in the creative business, yet our carbon footprint is considerably less than that of our hybrid or office-based counterparts. 

Our unique e-ployment business model has always embraced remote working, meaning that not only is our carbon footprint considerably reduced - we can also consult a much wider team best suited to our clients’ exact needs.

When we do meet colleagues or clients in person, these meetings happen in office locations which are hired on flexible terms to maximise efficiency. When travel is involved, eco-friendly measures are considered from the outset.

We are committed to our long standing CSR policy: Our CSR commitments are structured around three core pillars
1. Being a global agency without the environmental impact
2. Putting integrity at the heart of our business plan
3. Having a positive social impact and respect for our people

We support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the organisation’s universal call to end poverty and protect the planet. As such, we frequently review our green credentials in key areas including energy, technology and waste. 

We carefully monitor our digital carbon footprint and continually address ways to increase our digital decarbonisation. Many organisations focus on their physical entities when calculating their carbon footprint. However, scrutinising one’s digital carbon footprint is also vital. Our forthcoming blog about Sustainable web design features tips to help reduce your digital energy consumption. 


We’ve sought third party verification of our sustainability commitments
In 2021 we were awarded a Silver rating by EcoVadis (the highly regarded ESG assessment platform). Following our rating, we have implemented the report’s recommendations (as highlighted by the platform’s Future-Fit framework). We have a measurable roadmap in place, as we strive for continuous improvement and innovation in our sustainability practices. 

We give back to the community. Every member of UP donates 5% of their time to a charitable cause that they feel is important. Many of our members volunteer for charities and non-profits that address social impact  - examples include Women in Engineering, Cancer Awareness, Sports for Children, Suicide Prevention, Water Conservation, and many health-related organisations. 

In September 2023, we also proudly supported UK-based EAZL in their latest charity project called NO STRINGS ATTACHED. You can read more about our support here.

We champion Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. As such, we launched FUSE in 2022. FUSE is a project designed to encourage people from any background into the creative and marketing industries. We think it’s imperative that our industry is more diverse - learn more about FUSE in this video.

UP is one of the most culturally diverse agencies in the world - our team is comprised of people from over 20 countries including the UK, USA, Sweden, Italy, South Africa and Dubai.

We believe that effective business must be a combination of commercially successful operations and doing good. This we call “Good Business.” 

  • Our UP FOR GOOD division is our specialty area for sustainability, CSR and non-profit marketing. The UP FOR GOOD team helps clients build sustainable brands - with honest goals. The division helps clients refocus or refine their CSR strategy, so that it naturally integrates their company’s social and ethical ambitions.
  • Our UP FOR REAL team focuses on PLACE branding - where Environmental Impact is central.

Q: What’s next on UP’s sustainability agenda?

As mentioned, we’ll be publishing a series of sustainability-related articles in the coming weeks. If you’ve missed any of our previous green-themed articles - please click here to catch up. 

We will also be determining a comprehensive set of benchmarks for remote working to help us achieve our evolving sustainability goals. 

Our digital division, UP for DIGITAL will advance its cyber security protocols throughout 2024 and further decrease UP’s digital carbon footprint.
“UP’s unique working model will continue to evolve and lead the way in 2024 - watch this (sustainable!) space.”
- Lawrence Masle, CEO of UP THERE,EVERYWHERE.

There’s rightfully outrage at the state of our planet, but together we can help to ensure that optimism prevails. 

Find out how we can help you build a more sustainable brand and create a better world. Together.



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