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Market Voice 9 Nov 2021 - 3 min read

JCDecaux launches first carbon neutral media product in Australia – for advertisers that want to walk the talk

By Steve O’Connor - CEO, JCDecaux | Partner Content

Globally JCDecaux has had sustainability as a core part of its business since inception in France in 1964.

In early 2022, JCDecaux will launch its first certified carbon neutral product in Australia. That means advertisers aiming to apply sustainability commitments to their media supply chain now have a genuine opportunity to do so. And that’s just the start.

Our network reaches people of all ages across Australia and New Zealand. Our sphere of influence is huge and with that comes responsibility. Being a sustainable and responsible organisation is not just something we want to do, it’s something we must do. We take our responsibility seriously.

Globally JCDecaux has had sustainability as a core part of its business since inception in France in 1964. Fast forward to 2014 and JCDecaux renewed its commitment to sustainable development through the implementation of its Sustainable Development Strategy. Priorities are across three components – environment, social and stakeholder, and include reducing our energy consumption, reducing our environmental impacts, and strengthening employee commitment toward sustainable development.

JCDecaux was the first out-of-home media company globally to join the RE100, a worldwide organisation that advocates for a commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy. In Australia and New Zealand this has made us the first media company to commit to this and means our entire network, including our offices, will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2022.

In addition, in Australia, we have also been a proud certified carbon neutral business since 2015 through Climate Active, an Australian Government organisation that certifies Australian businesses as carbon neutral. We are currently also working to achieve carbon zero status in New Zealand.

But sustainability issues need to be tackled in an integrated way and we have set ourselves ambitious targets for our out-of-home network.

We are launching our first certified carbon neutral product in Australia in early 2022. Our intention is that all advertising products across our Transit network, produced by our in-house printing service GSP Print, will be carbon neutral. We will be offsetting this using an Australian project whilst continuing to work towards reducing the impact of the format on the environment.

To make this product carbon neutral, we’ve gone through a lifecycle analysis for Transit – calculating all the carbon inputs – everything from where we source our materials, importation of those, the printing and cutting of materials ready for installation and when the campaign is taken down. This has provided us with a complete understanding of the carbon consumption, which we will offset. Ultimately, we are aiming to do the same with our other products in the future.

Embedding sustainability

Sustainability is one of the foundations of our strategy. Embedding sustainability throughout our business, in every area, is crucial if we are to achieve all our environmental goals. So, to drive that, early last year we formed an environmental sustainability committee JCDecaux EARTH, a group of employees from across the business committed to driving our sustainability agenda not only at JCDecaux but as leaders in this space, in the out-of-home industry and the media more broadly. The group is steering environmental sustainability through bold initiatives, ambitious standards, and collaboration between all our partners, clients, suppliers and employees, to continuously improve our sustainable business practices.

We know that we have a responsibility to educate our customers and clients to understand the impact of climate change and the steps we can take together to transition to carbon neutral.

A number of our clients are already actively pursuing or seeking to understand the steps we will be taking in order to be environmentally sustainable. Media agencies are telling us that they’re strongly encouraging brands to consider more sustainable options when deciding on their advertising choices.

Earlier this year we announced our intention to bid for the street furniture contracts in New Zealand. Sustainability will be a focus for JCDecaux when bidding for these contracts. JCDecaux Belgium recently won the exclusive 15-year street furniture contract for the city of Brussels due not only to their expertise, but because of their commitment to more sustainable practices. Sustainability is high on the agenda for councils across New Zealand and JCDecaux can deliver a street furniture network that makes reducing the environmental impact a priority.

We recently undertook an innovative major recycling initiative with the bikes from the retired CityCycle bike hire scheme in Brisbane. Almost 98 per cent of the materials from bicycles, stations and bike docks from the CityCycle scheme were sent for recycling and transformed into steel and other metals, to be reused for manufacturing. 154 tonnes of recycled steel were produced, including 80 tonnes of recycled cast iron from bike posts, 65 tonnes of light gauge steel and aluminium from bikes, and nine tonnes of aluminium from terminals.

We are scoping out everything across our business, from the small to the large. The small things count just as much, such as an initiative asking our employees to turn off their computers at the end of each day. It’s a simple thing but each laptop and screen can use up to 90 watts (or 0.09 kWh) of power per hour when left on and leaving them on for a weekend can equal 4.32 kWh per weekend or 224 kWh per year. That amount of energy could power the average house for just over two weeks.

Other initiatives we have completed or are working on include:

  • Conducting a thorough audit of our operations and committing to reduce emissions by 25 per cent by 2026
  • Ensuring all Street Furniture lighting is LED by 2030
  • Removal of solvent printing from GSP Print
  • Recycling all Street Furniture posters through a Melbourne based recycling company
  • Working with each office and depot nationally to better sort and reduce waste including e-waste.

We can do this

Climate change has been identified as a leading worry among Australians (Australia Talks National Survey, 2021). We need to do our job in tackling this crucial issue. Climate change is a problem, it requires change in our industry, but in a way that people feel they can manage that change. We’ve experienced so much change with the Covid pandemic, and we can do this.

JCDecaux is laying down the gauntlet to brands and media agencies to make the responsible choice – and choose suppliers who offer strong but sustainable media solutions.



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