2020 has been a rollercoaster ride.
This post isn’t intended to go into detail on the new things that have become a norm globally in society; but honestly, who would have thought this time last year that wearing face masks, social distancing, grounded planes and the government having to step in to protect millions of jobs being lost, would have been a thing.
I’ve obviously not mentioned the global loss of life and the mental health epidemic caused by this pandemic, which is almost unbearable to think about. 2020 truly is a year we want to leave in the past.
The aim of this blog is to give an account of 2020 at Enviral, reflecting back on a year in business as we journey out of classic ‘start up’ status and publicly show how we have done with our social and environmental targets that we set each year. We’re only young – turning two years old back in June (albeit I actually registered the company back in 2013), but we have big ambitions and each year it’s important to take stock on ourselves.
Writing this has given me a rare opportunity to look back on the year (often easier said than done, especially for someone who prefers visioning the future and being busy working in the present), and I want to point out that even though we have grown and developed at a very rapid pace this year – in a year when businesses have literally folded due to the pandemic, this isn’t at all supposed to be an account of our achievements to gain some kind of ‘look at how great we weathered the storm’ status.
We will also be releasing our 2020 Client Disclosure Report in January which will add an extra layer to how we operate our agency with transparency at the heart of our being. I’d also like to say, if you’re an agency owner reading this and are interested in how we run Enviral and are looking to become more purpose-driven, reach out, we may have a few simple things we can skillshare. It’s time for communicators to drive a better future and we have to do this as a whole industry rather than as a handful of agencies.
How 2020 has shaped up for us, highlights and trends:
Before we talk about some of our agency highlights, first can we take a moment to remember how silent and clear minded moments of the first lockdown were? For many of us not directly in line with the NHS or with COVID tragedies in our family and friend circles, there was a rare period of real pause. I think one of my personal highlights was the reconnection with ‘pause’ we all gained. (Side note – if you haven’t read Do: Pause, if you do anything this year, this is the thing you should do).
At Enviral, we’ve not furloughed anyone this year. In fact, due to the hard work put in on the run to 2020, we had a number of big projects and new client accounts we took on which, due to the nature of the majority of our work, we could do online which kept us very busy during the first lockdown and beyond. Simply put, pandemic or not – companies (purpose-driven or not!), need to communicate. We saw a mass behaviour shift happen almost overnight, where people suddenly found it normal to purchase things online. We also saw a mass shift in businesses putting purpose into their marketing mix, talking everything from the NHS to packaging and climate change. This, along with our case studies and experience has led to a host of new clients, especially in the FMCG world and subsequently a growth in team members. You may have seen some of our ‘Meet The Team’ series, but in Bristol this year we have further welcomed Sophie our Content Manager, Josh a new Account Manager, Jo our Happiness & Development Manager and Lydia our new Graphic Designer, who sit alongside a host of new freelancers we work with on a regular basis. Jumping forward onto a little bit of what 2021 looks like: starting early January we also have a new Video Content Creator and Motion Designer joining the Bristol team, and in February we will be moving into a bigger office. You will also see another big move being announced in the Enviral camp early in the year – watch this space.
Part of our growth, and future growth outside of our content creation, digital advertisement, mixed media placement, PR and strategy offerings is in the release of Evolve, our sustainability consultancy and sustainability report offering. We split out Evolve and Engage with our brand refresh in May – which included a reskinned website, set of icons and rebranded public release of our vision and mission statements.
We can’t wait to show you how the journey of our split approach of Evolve and Engage will progress, but I think that this offering will solve a lot of organisations needs by getting their house in order in terms of their sustainability actions and then help them preach what they actually practice. From a road-mapping perspective, the annual sustainability report will be at the heart of the offering, with animation, video and graphic design being an extended arm of the communications of what’s in the report. This means internally and externally, people will know what companies are achieving and what they want to achieve in the future. This will then be publicly communicated to keep people accountable and on track. Bring on the journey!
In terms of client work, honestly there have been too many projects to list which we’ve genuinely been proud of. We’ve seen first hand the impact these campaigns, videos, articles, editorials and posts have had as people choose a more conscious consumption route due to our clients’ purpose-driven business models. We’ve also achieved a number of different marketing routes to get these messages out to the world rather than our usual social-first / PR approach. This has spanned from out of home advertisement to long-form online vodcast style videos (mainly because we haven’t been able to get out and film and people have had more time to view this length of thought leadership), to two TV ads (we had no idea how adverts were made and released on TV before 2020) nationally and in Scotland.
This year we’ve seen an increasing trend in purpose-driven consumers, and we don’t see this shift in eco/social-conscious buying habits slowing down. Unfortunately, however, we have also seen a sharp rise in greenwash. This is the act of brands hyperinflating their social and environmental efforts, in a bid to seem like they are doing things that are benefiting people and the planet. However, in reality, their business is actually contributing to the crippling of our planetary boundaries and leading to an unjust societal system.
Social Targets: (Set August 2019)
✓ Increase diversity into business with multiple female hires in the business (1 x regular part-time female freelancer in March, 2 x female full-timers in September, 1 x BAME female part-time contracted placement in December)
✓ Use platforms to talk about and acknowledge the lack of diversity in both worlds of sustainability and marketing
✓ Create a framework for employee and customer feedback
✓ Complete employee handbook with Enviral policies and procedures, including social and environmental sustainability? initiatives
✓ Set up local travel and purchasing scheme
𝐱 Create EMI scheme for employees** (due to further company restructure this has been created but put on hold unto 2021)
✓ Changing Articles of Association of Enviral to have mission locked
Setting targets for 2020 – 2021
Environmental Targets (From August 2020 to be reviewed in February 2021 and to be completed by August 2021)
- Submit B-Corp application and become a B-Corp company
- Continue to use platforms to talk about and educate stakeholders (from employees to customers and followers) about environmental sustainability
- Where possible in our serviced office, reduce our energy and water use, year on year by 2.5-5% based on current team size
- Publicly record our continued efforts against our Environmental Policy targets / goals throughout the year
- Work with the serviced office manager to record waste production, recycling, energy and water use and continue to work with them to look at efficiencies to reduce this
- Measure and record all employee carbon footprint whilst travelling and offset all travel
- Tree planting target: 15,000 trees
- Donate over £1500 to sustainability-focused charities
- Create and make public Client Disclosure Agreement 2020
- Move over 50-75% of banking services to an ethical bank (subject to Xero integration)
- Develop Evolve business model to have large scale sustainable business consultancy
Social Targets (From August 2020 to be reviewed in February 2021 and to be completed by August 2021)
- Continue to use platforms to talk about and acknowledge lack of diversity in both worlds of sustainability and marketing
- Implement Enviral Volunteering and Community Service policy and volunteer for local charities making up at least 40 hours in total
- Complete 50+ hours of Pro Bono work for charities
- Grow the business by 3-5 PAYE employees
- Hire at least 1 female or BAME representative director or senior manager
- Increase gender diversity in the business and align a model to 50-50% male /female or trans ratio
- Publicly record eNPS and customer satisfaction survey results and benchmark these against industry standards
- Have a 90% employee satisfaction rate in eNPS
- Have over 70% customer satisfaction in NPS
BCorp and why it’s so close to our hearts
These action points and the BCorp B Impact Assessment gives us a framework and toolbox to work from year on year to set and benchmark ourselves. Although we’ve operated our business with the BCorp Handbook at the heart of our operations since the beginning of our journey – this year we’ve been able to work on the application. We can’t wait to use this, along with our wider purpose to guide ourselves, as well as our clients in the future. The BCorp community is exceptionally strong and pioneering, leading the future of how we’ve always envisaged business operating. Our vision is to live in a world where all brands prioritise people and the planet, and we believe that currently BCorp is the best structure for this to happen. Bring it on!
Brief look into what we want to achieve next year:
For us we are really looking to keep doing what we’re doing. We are mission and purpose focused and believe that in 2020 we’ve created the case studies to scale large brands as well as get relatively new brands off the ground. Our full service arsenal has given us a unique place in the market – and with Evolve (plus a separate section to the business being released soon) we believe we have a very unique offering for both purpose-driven brands wanting to get further into the spotlight, and more mature brands who want to truly take sustainability seriously going into the new wave of business and consumerism. Evolve, our Bristol-based Sustainability Consultancy will aid companies of all shapes and sizes to really action sustainability. Evolve will be a sustainability consultancy with a report driven approach. We will transparently show what brands are and aren’t doing, with an actionable roadmap on how they can then achieve their focused sustainability vision. This will then lead to better internal and external communications and will give Engage, our marketing agency side of the business, more of a foundation to transparently communicate our clients’ purpose.
On top of the targets we’ve set above and things mentioned in the first section, we will be increasing our team size to drive as much experience and hunger to help clients navigate and communicate through the modern sustainability landscape. This will lead to further increases into industries like the clothing/fashion industry, the hospitality + entertainment world, and further FMCG brands. 2021 is the year for us to really make a splash, especially as we will be exploring the U.S.A and how with Brexit, Enviral can be the right agency to take U.S clients and launch them in the U.K (and vice versa). We’ve already proved as a purpose-driven agency that we can scale brands in the U.S.A, but with various trade barriers changing due to Brexit, we want to make sure truly impactful brands can be scaled in both markets.
Finally – and you’ll see in much of our communications going forward, we’re exceptionally amped for COP26 this November in Glasgow. This truly is the most important event the world has ever hosted, and we can’t wait to see the world mobilised before, during and after. We’ll be attending and communicating via podcast, video, blog and social forms both for clients and as an agency.