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News Climate Change2022-02-02

Essence Promotes Laura Wade To Head of Sustainability

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Wade Will Work Across the Agency and With Clients To Build Sustainable Media and Marketing Practices and Ensure Net-zero Carbon Targets Are Met

GroupM’s Essence has named Laura Wade its Head of Sustainability as it works to grow an environmentally sustainable digital-media ecosystem. In her new role, Wade, who has been VP, Content and Innovation in Essence’s EMEA region for the past three years, will have five key areas of focus.

First, she will work across Essence’s operations and practices, including programmatic, strategy, planning and data, to help teams embed sustainable practices and create new products and services that enable Essence to reach its net-zero targets. Second, she will also work across Essence’s roster of clients by partnering with their marketing and sustainability executives to create net-zero practices in the media and marketing spaces. Third, she will work with Essence’s marketing and business development departments to embed sustainability practices and recommendations into prospective client projects and pitches.

Fourth, she will roll out climate education programs for Essence employees to ensure they are equipped, educated and empowered to discuss sustainability challenges and opportunities with clients. And fifth, she will work with partners, including publishers and media owners, to identify new sustainability initiatives to take to Essence clients proactively.  

Essence conducted research in 2021 for our “Advertising in 2030” report that shows experts predict that environmental considerations will become a primary factor in consumer decision making as the deadline established by the UN to avert the worst effects of climate change draws nearer.

“2022 requires us to accelerate our action and impact around sustainable media and marketing,” said Wade. “We have to ensure we are future-fit in our business by acknowledging our role in our clients’ media carbon footprints, and we need to be working with clients to create advertising that supports low or no carbon practices and sustainable planning behaviors. In addition, as we work to shift to a net-zero society, we need to harness the power of creative messaging and content to normalize and promote sustainable behaviors. This is about emboldening our people, our partners and our clients to create effective change within the work we do.” 

“Sustainability and our collective impact on the environment is a hugely important topic for us and for our clients, and we need to be able to support their needs in marketing,” said Global CEO Kyoko Matsushita. “Sustainability needs to be much more than PR or a trending topic. It needs to be done across operations, across new business, and across every other aspect of our work. This is a critical role and Laura will lead our approach to create lasting change in partnership with GroupM."

In her role as VP, Content and Innovation, Wade had taken on a passion for environmental practices and mitigating climate change, which grew into a part-time role to work on sustainability efforts for Essence. In April 2021, she also successfully completed the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership course. She is an active member of Mission Zero, a GroupM cross-agency group whose collective aim is to embed sustainability into every aspect of the agency business.

In 2021, WPP and GroupM announced industry-leading targets to have net-zero carbon emissions in company operations by 2025, and across all supply chains by 2030. GroupM and Essence also released a carbon calculator in 2021 that helps brands and agencies understand the carbon impact of their media practices.

As part of the GroupM commitment, Essence is working with media partners to eliminate carbon emissions from the placement of advertising in the media. GroupM will also develop industry-wide standards for measuring the efforts.

Wade will also set complementary and ambitious goals for Essence that go beyond these previously stated commitments.

She has a 20-year media career running award-winning content and partnership teams. She also leads the Essence Environmental task force 'Planet Team' in EMEA and is an active member of the IPA climate charter steering group.

Read more at Ad Age and MediaPost.