S5E1 'The Carbon Footprint of Marketing', with Richard Boon πŸ‘£

Season 5

[00:00:00] Speaker: Welcome to the EcoSend podcast. Be inspired, educated, and entertained by the world's most ambitious leaders, putting climate at the top of their agenda. Welcome

[00:00:27] James Gill (2): to another episode of the EcoSend podcast. I'm your host, James, and I'm thrilled to bring you another episode of the show. For those new to the show, the EcoSend podcast is a weekly podcast where we speak to other leaders in business who are putting the planet higher on the agenda for themselves and for their customers, for their team.

[00:00:45] This week I am absolutely thrilled to be, to be joined by Richard, who's the CEO of Webmarts, a sustainable marketing WebMart is a responsible business and a certified B Corp, which is awesome. Richard leads a team of 40 strong in marketing execution, strategy, and technology. WebMart partners with clients in e commerce, retail, and charity, handling 20 million pounds of spend across print, digital, creative, and data services.

[00:01:14] Richard, I'm so excited to be speaking with you today. How are you doing today? Welcome to the show. Amazing. Thanks for such a warm intro and I'm doing very well today. Thank you. Good, good stuff. Now, Richard, I know we've spoken a little bit before and I've been very inspired by your efforts building such a successful agency.

[00:01:32] And all of the incredible things you were doing basically to give back to, to make the world a little bit better. Before we dive too much into WebMart itself, it might be really good to just understand a little bit more about you and, and your journey into doing this. It's always nice to hear about the person.

[00:01:51] The story that led to the Richard you are today.

[00:01:54] Richard Boon: Sure. Okay. So I decided to do something slightly different when I came out of school at 18 and I entered into a young dragons den competition where I managed to make it through to the final two people to present in front of a bunch of investors, basically a live event in Milton Keynes in the UK and on the panel was As I said, a bunch of investors and two of which one was Peter Jones and the other one was Simon Billcliff, who Dr.

[00:02:23] Simon Billcliff, who set up WebMart and happened to be his parent in laws live opposite me. So as a kid, I'd see Simon every weekend with his dogs outside, but I'd never, I'd never expected to see him on a panel in front of me when I was pitching. And yeah, So, yeah, so I was offered a management traineeship with with Simon and decided to go in that direction with life and 18 years later.

[00:02:49] I've been under his wing, learning how to run a responsible business and evolving WebMart to where it is today. And I've had a really good run this far. That's, that's incredible.

[00:02:59] James Gill (2): So, so when did, when did you do this competition? So was this like straight out of school or something when you did the, Yeah, there was a

[00:03:06] Richard Boon: local, I think it was a local Countech scheme that had come together with a variety of different partners, including Crenfield Business School.

[00:03:15] And I think Peter Jones was looking to set up his Academy for Entrepreneurship at the time. So there was a bit of a pilot concept with four masters and MBA students. Pitching for funding and then there was two under 18s and I just scraped into the 18 bracket. So, unfortunately, I couldn't go on the right, I couldn't go on the real program, but I could go on the sort of young dragon's den that it was at the time.

[00:03:39] And yeah, that was, that was basically applying to local innovation schemes that came into the school and, you know, next thing I'd sort of found my love for entrepreneurship and running a business. Thanks.

[00:03:51] James Gill (2): That is already incredibly inspiring. So from like pretty early on you knew like I want to run a Run a business and do do something crazy like that.

[00:04:00] Richard Boon: Yeah, I wanted to be on the other side I didn't want to be the one presenting. I wanted to be on the other side sat down, you know One of the dragons, or the angels. Sit with Peter

[00:04:08] James Gill (2): Jones. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:04:09] Richard Boon: Yeah, you get a seat I mean, it's much better than standing up in front of 500 people.

[00:04:13] James Gill (2): True, true. I was going to say, Peter Jones as well, I don't know about Simon, but Peter Jones is not the easiest of dragons to please, is he?

[00:04:21] I would say, yeah, I mean,

[00:04:23] Richard Boon: they were, they were all equal characters and bringing their, their style forwards. And it was interesting that I actually, out of all of them, I thought that Simon was, was actually paying less attention to me. But actually I think he was, he'd heard, he'd heard enough clearly.

[00:04:36] And it was interesting. Take a

[00:04:37] James Gill (2): chance. Yeah, yeah, that's incredible. Well, that's a pretty pretty impressive opener. So, so from there, you, you've now running WebMart, but there's also the whole side of WebMart as a beacon, as a champion for sustainability, for doing marketing, that, well, changing the face of marketing in many ways.

[00:05:01] It's like, how Talk me through that side of the journey then. Like, I take it that wasn't something that just one day you woke up and thought, I wanna, wanna care about that as an agency or as someone running a business.

[00:05:15] Richard Boon: Yeah, and credit where credit's due. I mean, when I first came across WebMart and making that split decision, I could see that it was a business on a mission.

[00:05:24] It was a, it was a long term vision that Simon himself has taken a lot of passion in, the future of the planet. Regenerative business and finding ways to reduce the impact of, you know, marketing services on, on the planet. And, and I think even as early as when I joined in 2000 and, wait a minute, 2007, I think it was,

[00:05:49] James Gill (2): I'm not, I'm not gonna test you on the dates, Richard.

[00:05:50] Yeah.

[00:05:52] Richard Boon: 2007. Simon had been given speeches about how he wanted an eco park and wanted to find ways to, to give back. And I think, you know, very early on in the journey, I think before B Corp was even really taking off or a thing the vision that I could see that Simon had was early for its time. I think there was a lot of questions over, you know, probably what are you on about?

[00:06:15] It's 2000 2007. Like, there's not a huge amount of this kind of talk going on, but I think really understanding that vision and seeing it through over the last 18 years. It's really been something for me that. That has evolved and as time has gone on has become more of a pressing issue that I would say that has become then the business's mission and you know from Vision is great because it shows people where you're going to be in a long period of time But breaking that down into measurable steps has been something that i've taken quite a lot of pride in And and a lot of joy and actually saying okay Well, what does that look like?

[00:06:51] Where do we go with this and I think probably midway through my career one of the things that Has really helped with that was that webmart basically moved cash to an asset bought this eco asset Which effectively was 164 acres of scotland and it was a very overgrown forest with a with an off grid lodge basically and yeah, it was I guess that was the eco park that simon had always aspired to and At the time I thought I guess all I ever know is WebMart, but it's always been a little bit out there with its ideas.

[00:07:27] But to see someone put cash behind an eco park, you know, which we've, which, you know, called Grangewood. It's just south of Edinburgh. It's a lovely slice of the UK. And, you know, to see us actually commit to that, I thought, well, this is serious. You know, this is this is something that. the business as a responsible business outside of the marketing side of things for now, you know, this is, this is becoming part of who we are as an identity.

[00:07:53] And it's something that I think I've not seen any other business really easily sort of take that idea and turn it into fruition. So, very much. For me being able to start seeing that and seeing nature in reality and connecting with it in that way Really made me realize at the same time Okay, so we've got to go so much further with the marketing services side because we're responsible now We're you know, we're a guardian a custodian of this Eco park and I think really from that point things started hotting up on the What does sustainability look for our clients, our supply chain?

[00:08:30] And, you know, over time, I would say that we've pretty much conquered bar, you know, working from home. There's still some, you know, commuting emissions and things like that. We've conquered scopes 1 and 2 over the last 10 years or so because we got a head start on it. And I think question that people come to me with is like, you know, what are you doing about scope 3 now?

[00:08:50] And I would say that we're at the forefront. Icebreaking some of the challenges there for digital and physical marketing data and creative and I would say, yeah, so it's evolved really, you know, scopes 1 and 2 have always been there of how do we chip away at this and reduce X and Y around the office and the offices that we've got in Yorkshire and Bicester, really the fundamental.

[00:09:13] Mission that came out of this was we're now a responsible business. We're a custodian of a slice of land outside of our offices. We recognize actually, we've got almost 20Million pounds worth of turnover that needs to be transitioned into a measurable carbon footprint and B, then we need to demonstrably reduce that.

[00:09:32] And I think that was the wake up call over the last 10 years really.

[00:09:37] James Gill (2): That's such a, I mean, such a fascinating sort of journey and story there, because, I mean, what I don't know of a single other business that's like, yeah, we bought 160 acres of Scottish land to look after. And that's on our, I can imagine going into the Dragon's Den and saying that's part of the business plan and finding it quite hard to articulate.

[00:09:59] The idea at the time. Yeah, yeah. But that's, I mean, that's such an interesting. I mean, it makes so much sense when you put it like that, of like, the business owning that, becoming the custodian of that, and that being core to like, everything the company does, like, everyone in the company knows about that, everyone, everyone is aware of that, and like, a big part of the company then is about So, yeah.

[00:10:22] Enabling that allowing that to grow and thrive. It's what an, I mean, that's just such a wonderful idea that I'm sure many people could take away from this already of, of like, sort of wondering what you can do. Maybe you don't have to buy 160 acres in Scotland, but yeah,

[00:10:39] Richard Boon: yeah, yeah,

[00:10:41] James Gill (2): you

[00:10:42] Richard Boon: know, wildflowers or replanting trees.

[00:10:46] You know, we've put honds up there and things like that So I think the concept is, you know, there's this current challenge, which i'm sure we'll look back on in 10 15 years potentially james, which is carbon offsetting, which I know is a divisive subject

[00:10:59] Speaker 4: Yeah

[00:11:00] Richard Boon: In chatting to a few other business leaders about the tens of thousands that go into carbon offsetting which by the way I you know, we do as a business there is a need to do that, you know, we can't easily capture it We can't remove and reduce as fast as we'd like and we're not making any direct claims to our regenerative projects in Scotland because people have, you know, asked, well, why can't you just offset a lot of your carbon there?

[00:11:23] And I think that's, that's very complex and something that we, we want to keep, keep separate for now.

[00:11:27] Speaker 4: But I think,

[00:11:28] Richard Boon: Looking at the cost of offsetting long term, a lot of business owners do say to me, you know, if I'm paying 5, 10, 15, 000 pounds, I'm going to pay 5, 10, 15, 000 pounds. A year or, you know, or more possibly in some businesses, it's hundreds of thousands of pounds in reducing reduction of carbon.

[00:11:43] Is there ways that we could look at you know, rewilding and owning an ownership of land not necessarily as a, an alternative, but it does start waking people up to, you know, What do we do with our profits? What do we do with our cash in the bank?

[00:11:57] Speaker 4: Yeah.

[00:11:58] Richard Boon: As Simon says, they're not making any more land these days.

[00:12:00] So, you know, it's a finite resource on the planet. So it's an appreciating asset, but also it's, we're, we're appreciating it as an asset as well, because like you said, people see it every year. But yeah, so that's the responsible side of business and that. Really was an interesting concept which didn't spur us on to become a B Corp.

[00:12:19] I think there was always a need to want to push for B Corp from the team and it took probably 10 years to really make that reality. I think we probably could have done it sooner, but I think also you have to look at the The appetite in the business and the team and and and the context and the nuance at the time but I think you know We were very proud to become a b corp in through through the pandemic actually we decided to make life a little harder for ourselves Yeah, it was too easy back

[00:12:43] James Gill (2): then to be a business

[00:12:46] Richard Boon: We've got some more challenges.

[00:12:47] Yeah but that really I would say solidified our mission it made us think a little harder about purpose and mission And we were probably doing a lot of good and we didn't necessarily realize it was within a framework I think we were always coined as the B Corp before B Corp, you know, we were always trying to do the right thing.

[00:13:05] But what's interesting is that, you know, we didn't necessarily accrue any extra points for having our, our projects up in Scotland. And maybe one day that will be recognized, but that really made us think, okay, well, We do need to focus on supply chain. We do need to focus on marketing services and there was some great ideas in the business.

[00:13:25] Tom, for example, came forward, one of one of our aspiring leaders at the time and said, look, we, we, You know, I set the team like what are we going to be doing during this period rather than Furloughing everyone like what ideas are gonna we're gonna need in the next three to five years What can we focus on?

[00:13:41] What can we r& d during this time? And and I think the team probably thought I was just you know Finding ways to keep them occupied during the time where no one really had the answers. But actually It gave a great opportunity for fresh thinking and some long term ambitions to be worked on. And that's kind of really where we started talking about Ecosend and effectively some of the services that WebMart have been working on to reduce, measure, sorry, measure, reduce offset and communicate better around marketing sustainability.

[00:14:11] So so yeah, so that's kind of where we've been over the last kind of three or four years, really counting carbon.

[00:14:17] James Gill (2): Yeah, no, I mean, that's it's just fascinating hearing about all of that, that context to, to where you are today. And so, so I guess so when in the lockdown, when you were starting to sort of think about this, was there a, basically within the team, a sort of a discussion of like, you know, okay, we have our 160 acres of, of rewilding going on, but, There was our day to day, what we are doing for our clients, how we're helping them with their marketing, how, where do we even begin on like, what's the impact of this?

[00:14:49] How do we measure this? What, what is going on here? Was that sort of the starting point of of those, those, those discussions?

[00:14:55] Richard Boon: It was, I think. Listening to the team and then also looking around at what was going on,

[00:15:03] Speaker 4: and

[00:15:03] Richard Boon: this is still a truth, right? Fundamentally, no one seems to really have gathered that marketing sustainability, or sustainability and counting carbon and reducing it, Within marketing is even an issue, you know, this is where I was sitting on webinars and thinking Wow, we're reducing, you know measuring how many lorries we use and Out of flights that we're taking and isn't this great for the environment everyone's at their house And obviously there's fundamentally huge issues with just locking people up, but that's a whole different podcast

[00:15:40] But I would say, you know looking around at what people were trying to do at the time people started thinking long You It looked like a bit long term, bigger, bigger picture and it was fascinating those early conversations and I joined a few sort of regular webinars with different cohorts of people thinking about ideas and I realized that no one's really understood that there's going to be a cost to the planet from marketing or at least it was very Hard to find any research to back this or anything like that.

[00:16:07] Speaker 4: Yeah

[00:16:09] Richard Boon: That's where I started joining the dots between what the team was saying in terms of well, how do we break down? Measuring our carbon footprint

[00:16:17] Speaker 4: How do

[00:16:17] Richard Boon: we? Achieve a better B Corp score. How do we find ways to get ahead of mar you know, sustainability as a business? And now we've conquered scopes one and two, and fundamentally, when your offices are closed, you start focusing on other things, right?

[00:16:32] Mm-Hmm, . So then the team is saying, well, what can we do about Scope three? So that's obviously all our, our products and services and, and I kind of. Realize what we've got, you know, at the time 15 to now 18 million pounds worth of turnover and growing and that will have a carbon tonnage to it. Right? And that's yeah, then you start going.

[00:16:52] Okay. Well, then how do you measure that? And is there any tools to measure it? Okay. There's no tools available to measure it. Okay, so how are we going to start measuring? And that's where we start saying, okay, we need to do some R& D and invest in building some digital and physical calculators for our own footprint.

[00:17:13] But then also, is there anything we can do to further the thinking? On, you know, climate action in terms of the industry in terms of waking people up to emissions. And listen, there's no act. I can say this because I've seen loads of statistics and if no one has a calculator, I don't understand how you can accurately estimate this, but we're going to go with

[00:17:33] Speaker 5: it,

[00:17:33] Richard Boon: which is the digital footprints globally.

[00:17:37] I'm sure you've come across this stat or somewhat estimated. You know somewhere in the region of three to five percent globally and growing Which when you're trying to reduce flights and you hear the stats of flights being, you know around three ish percent I think there are numbers that people are claiming.

[00:17:51] I don't know if you've come across

[00:17:52] James Gill (2): those. Yeah, absolutely Yeah, we've seen about four percent was the number I had in my head there Yeah,

[00:17:57] Richard Boon: so you're looking at yeah somewhere between my three and five. We'll spare the change it for Yeah,

[00:18:03] James Gill (2): I mean pretty much bang on between three and

[00:18:05] Richard Boon: five, right? Yeah Like no one no one's been able to really give us like an accurate estimate and we know that things are increasing and there's all sorts of issues that I started coming across when I did my research of like dark beta and 85 percent of data being just left and not accessed and not cleansed and not, you know, and I was thinking, well, we come from our heritage as a business was in 1996.

[00:18:30] It was a print brokerage with technology, you know, like a bit like lastminute. com for finding sources for printing. So then you get used to the manufacturing mindset. What I find fascinating is going into digital in its maturity is like when you understand manufacturing you can measure every step

[00:18:48] Speaker 4: and

[00:18:49] Richard Boon: make efficiency every step because it's It's better for costs, it's better for energy and now sustainability.

[00:18:56] And then you look at digital and touch points and, and, and data and weight of websites and weight of images. And you start thinking about it with that manufacturing mindset. And there's something we did training lean six sigma training, and you apply that to digital and you start looking at it and going, well, hold on a minute, actually everything here has a carbon footprint or weighting to it.

[00:19:18] There's an efficiency. Rating to this, you know, there's there's a problem with bloat and the energy and the carbon load that that puts and the load that that puts on the grid and, and, you know, stop joining these thinking up with, like, our mission as a business, you join the thinking up and you start thinking.

[00:19:37] Okay. Well, A, no one seems to be accurately calculating our footprint within digital as well as print and physical marketing, event materials, but is that highly visible thing of like, okay, well, is it, you know, paper straws and plastic straws, that whole argument of like, well, it's visible, so therefore I feel like I'm doing something meaningful for the planet, but you get a lot of stick in the print marketplace for sustainability,

[00:20:02] Speaker 4: and then we're

[00:20:02] Richard Boon: venturing into digital and it's kind of like, okay, but this feels weird that no one's holding us accountable for, you know, Our footprint and the you know, the wastage on a campaign and what about concepts like how do you dormant a con?

[00:20:15] A campaign when you finish with it rather than recycle it, you know, you can't recycle digital easily So let's dormant it. So I think that's kind of where our thinking started getting really it, you know, lots of days Locked up trying to figure out where we're going to be in three to five years and committing to it really

[00:20:32] James Gill (2): and sticking with that roadmap super super interesting, I I feel like so much of what you're saying there richard like You kind of tallies with our own, I mean, we were, I guess, just out of the pandemic when we were talking about the early days of Ecosend, but you know, we were quite surprised once you start seeing some of those numbers, like that 4%, as you were saying, like, and how that relates to the airline industry, the waste industry, things like this, and you're like, can that be right?

[00:21:01] Can that be right? And the more you dig into it, the more you realize, like, You know, it's really easy to just think that all of our digital lives have no consequence from a climate perspective because it's, yeah, it's clean, it's, everything's, there's no smoke coming out of my computer on a good day, and Like the cloud,

[00:21:20] Richard Boon: disingenuous,

[00:21:21] James Gill (2): very, Yeah, I was just about to say that, yeah, the cloud is this lovely, fluffy, thing that's all soft and it's actually huge, ugly warehouse buildings filled with computers that are running 24 seven.

[00:21:33] And yeah, there's so, so much of that yeah, that knowledge and awareness of, of that, even within the tech and, you know, marketing industries, even within, let alone just consumers who are totally outside of it is, is I think still woefully Hopefully small, but you know, thankfully people like yourselves are, are working on ways of drawing more attention to it to this and addressing it.

[00:21:58] So I guess I'm curious that kind of naturally teases up into how are you addressing some of this Richard, like what are you, what are you and the team? Doing what have you what have you figured out so far and I don't expect you to have all the answers, but

[00:22:11] Speaker 4: Yeah

[00:22:12] James Gill (2): pressing that into a

[00:22:13] Richard Boon: podcast. We'll do our absolute best.

[00:22:15] So So the fundamental question was does marketing have a footprint and the answer is yes And yeah, then we've been on that voyage of discovery to work with few climate Related agencies that have helped us use greenhouse gas emission factors And mapping that to our marketing knowledge in terms of the granular detail behind a digital or a print campaign And then we've been able to look at it and go.

[00:22:37] Okay, so There's there's energy there's gigabytes being transferred There's a formula here in terms of adding that with our greenhouse gas emission factors and coming up with some at this stage Estimated as accurate as you possibly can to the best guidance that we can get through ISO and past standards, which I'll be honest, there isn't a universal standard to work to.

[00:23:00] So we've had to, you know, build this as we go. And, and, you know, being early, I would say 1st, but certainly being early on that journey compared to some, you have to answer some pretty big questions. So, you know, and dig and find research papers and read up on that and and bring that that together to create that measurement piece.

[00:23:19] So we've been able to now create we call it ecometrics, which is our measurement tool internally that we are using primarily to work on webmark scope of emissions and then obviously working with other partners. To help open source the thinking to help others reach similar calculations, but basically that enables us to measure the footprint of it, whether it's an email campaign, a website, or a printed production, right the way through from material through to doorstep and distribution to address.

[00:23:52] And that gives us a very granular. more than most calculators we've seen a really granular estimate of what the carbon footprint would be. And in our framework that we've created, which is measure and then it's reduce. So we, we, we, we don't know how much we're reducing by. You don't say It's more green or less green, or it's it's more efficient or less efficient.

[00:24:13] You need to be able to prove that. Right? So just like budget, you'd know the difference between 50, 000 and 40, 000. We need the same thing for carbon. So now having that calculation, we can say the greatest factor that impacts a website or or or an email campaign or a page is the cost. Maybe image use or high res images or autoplay videos or whatever that ends up being.

[00:24:37] And that bloat we can easily target and say a It's bloated, therefore it's creating the largest percentage of footprint. Also, we can look at the analytics of how many views that pages are getting that exponentially, you know, modifies that carbon calculation up. If you're getting hundreds of thousands or millions of hits to certain pages we can look at the waste in terms of maybe the data that's used for the email campaigns or the printed campaigns.

[00:25:04] To make those reductions before we create anything. That's the most important part that optimization really helps us then reduce and that enables us to say, specifically, we did this and it reduced by X percent or this value of carbon. If we can't reduce it any further, then we're currently using gold verified standard offsets and we, we change those every year when we complete schemes.

[00:25:29] And they're picked by the team based on climate justice, basically going for third world carbon offsets so that we can give back to the most, most disproportionately disadvantaged by the climate change that we as first world countries have created. And then the last bit, the biggest thing that we, we can do is communicate.

[00:25:49] That's the last part of the framework, point four. And communicate means that we are. Putting a logo with the carbon footprint a bit like calorie counting on each of the campaigns or websites that we do so that we can help Demonstrate that even if people don't understand carbon footprints at this stage, they'll go.

[00:26:08] Oh, that's interesting. It's not seen that before. And it's the fact that the brand is consciously thought about calorie count that carbon count that's really important. And it's had this conversation just before coming on this podcast with some people around a bit like the train line. I don't know if you put trains with the train line.

[00:26:28] Maybe three or four years ago. You wouldn't maybe have even thought about it too much, but now starting the Carbon for the trip. Yeah Efficiency profile it starts getting you thinking about it It normalizes it a bit like when you're in a restaurant picking food and you go. Oh my god That one's another 400 calories for cheese.

[00:26:46] Yeah So I think that's kind of where we've got to now is that communication pieces both Doing things like this podcast, you know, showing people that they can start addressing emissions in marketing and getting marketing to take ownership for its share. Every other department is now stepping up to that challenge in logistics or operations or wherever it is in a business.

[00:27:09] And marketing is that first touch point to create a sale. You know, we, we worry about recycling way off the sale, but we're, we're in the business, the industry of generating emissions. Need and also we're at the, we're at the path to purchase. So we really need to start taking responsibility for that slice.

[00:27:26] So that's where that communication piece comes in climate action as well as also enabling brands to. Really own their footprint and say that they're doing something about it.

[00:27:37] James Gill (2): That's so so fascinating Richard I I think the the communicate piece is really and I really love that you've got that as like that that final step I mean the one of the last things we spoke about was a round table about green Greenwashing and green hushing and like you know, the number of brands who are afraid to even speak about about climate and, you know, so much of it is about that conversation and, and people having the confidence to just talk and raise some of these points.

[00:28:06] So the more brands. Set talking about, about this and communicating what they are doing, I think is, it's just. Like fundamentally a much better place for us to be in isn't it? Yeah, I think measurement

[00:28:19] Richard Boon: means you've got integrity and then you can make verifiable claims And I think the big problem when we discussed on our last round table around green hushing and green washing Is that confident so that someone if they peel back and have a look at what's going on behind the scenes that you can actually?

[00:28:34] Verifiably give a carbon footprint that's got a lot of integrity behind it. And secondly You You're trying to influence consumer behavior as an agency Of course, we've got 20 million pound footprint we need to tackle but the ripple effects thereafter from our scope 3 Is end consumers interaction marketing and when you pick up bottles and you see B corp and you see recycled and you see Various claims that are on there and you start seeing a carbon footprint as well as a calorie count and sugar content And stuff like that I think that's the vision that I want to see come alive over the next 20 years is that we start seeing the marketing industry start, you know, calculating and, and, and representing that, because I think it will help brands demonstrate that they're ethically thinking about their marketing, but also they are influencing consumer behaviors with their touch points, not just on their packaging, but also with their marketing emails website.

[00:29:28] And also their printed collateral as well.

[00:29:31] James Gill (2): Yeah, absolutely. The, the impact. As marketing professional, the impact marketing professionals have, I think, is not to be underplayed. It's, it's, it's such a huge, huge impact that people can have on actual consumer behavior beyond the purchase of their own product.

[00:29:48] The way, the normalizing of talking about some of these topics is, yeah, is huge. I I feel like you already. Already talking a bit about the future, Richard, but I know we could talk all day. I would love to talk all day. I feel like we're already at half an hour for the podcast, which has flown by.

[00:30:05] But you're, I, I'm, I'm guessing you have quite an optimistic sense of what the future will hold, but what, what do you, what do you think things are going to look like in the next few years, maybe five years time?

[00:30:16] Richard Boon: Yeah, I think we need people, certain people to remain optimistic in the face of adversity.

[00:30:21] Otherwise it's just very, Dark and depressing if you read the news and certainly the news is in incentivized to you know to find Damage and various other things to draw you in. So I I'm an optimist and I I staunchly Believe that we will all find solutions to contribute towards a better planet and I think that you have to Accept that you're not going to get 100 percent of people behind that and I think that quite an important thing to remember when you're tackling these big challenges.

[00:30:53] I really am optimistic the further I've got into this that there are other people out there that are trying to tackle this and I think the community that I've found through this, through meeting other agencies, talking about shared issues, it's, it's a space that you're competing to, competing to overcome, but it's non competing in terms of you all want the same thing.

[00:31:18] So it's quite a nice space to be to, certainly I've seen it in the B Corp community where you open source, you know, business ideas in terms of making a business more responsible and better for the planet for the future. But I, I think. Of the people that I've come across that are really trying agencies for me remain at the forefront of trying to solve this for brands and clients.

[00:31:40] I would love to see more brands getting behind this because I see so many brands and I call them out and say what an amazing job they're doing when they are pushing, you know, whether it's like in our roundtable carbon negative beer, or whether it's, you know, variety of different consumer products that you see out there or services.

[00:31:57] Like I've mentioned train line, you know. We should shout about the best practice and it is fantastic to see even if the whole solution isn't in place It's amazing to see that. And I think if you add that together, you start to see a bit more of a movement of brands getting behind it. I would love to see more brands getting behind using EcoSend and also services such as what WebMart does, because I really think it will enable them to tell a better story to their customers and influence more people.

[00:32:24] To see the change that we need to see over the next three to five years, because, you know, things get serious beyond that. So I am, I'm optimistic, but not underestimating the significance of the challenge that we've got to get around as many people as possible.

[00:32:39] James Gill (2): That is a very balanced and all in all, very positive way to, to think about the future, Richard.

[00:32:44] I think we can all take something from that. Thank you. Oh, we're, we're pretty much the end. I, the only other thing I'm going to ask is any advice you have for other people. And I know you, you did want to share some, some wise words of wisdom. If you haven't already, you've already shared so much wisdom on this podcast, Richard.

[00:33:01] So we're still one more few, one more point from you and then, and then we'll let you get on your way. I'll

[00:33:08] Richard Boon: do my absolute best to impart as much knowledge as I can. So I would say that marketing obsesses over measurement. Metrics data analysis, but really is shying away from owning the same approach that's needed to integrate sustainability into the everyday life of marketing as a department.

[00:33:28] And I think that, you know, not that there's a quote that I can share with you guys, which is not everything that matters can be measured and not everything that we can measure matters. Which means if we get it right and measure what matters, we can actually move the dial and rather than doing the stereotypical thing in marketing, which is moving on to the next shiny thing before we've conquered the basics.

[00:33:50] The counter to my optimistic view is the fact that we are all embracing the next shiny thing, which is AI. And, you know, after the recession of the last year, it's been really tough in the marketing space. We nearly Started on our journey pace and sustainability. And I think that we have moved already on to generating higher carbon footprints using generative AI before we've even thought about the impact of it.

[00:34:16] So I think, yes, there's constant distractions. My advice would be to try and focus on that long term, continually trying to build on that sustainability. small steps over a long period of time. Don't let it go. It's a bit like my charity challenge that I'm doing on Saturday. You have to break down the training into small steps and not, you know, if you get distracted or deviated you come back to it because it's going to be so much harder to achieve that goal when you get get there at that weekend that you need to do it if you've let go that training over a long period of time.

[00:34:45] James Gill (2): And for those who don't know, Richard is,

[00:34:47] Speaker 5: was it 24 miles of hiking you're doing at the weekend? Yes, this weekend,

[00:34:51] Richard Boon: 24 miles over 12 hours in the Yorkshire Three Peaks for a charity close to my heart,

[00:34:55] James Gill (2): yep.

[00:34:56] Richard Boon: My goodness,

[00:34:57] James Gill (2): I, I, I, I don't know how you're going to do that, Richard, I, but I know you will, because I, I just know you will we'll also make sure, I know you all have done it by the time this goes out, but we'll put a link to donate in the in the show notes, just because I think, I think, yeah, it's just wonderful what you're doing there, so, Richard thank you so much, honestly, this has been a show absolutely packed with great inspiration, information, practical guidance, so many wonderful things.

[00:35:24] I'm sure many people will want to follow you, learn more about what you're up to. So they can go to WebMart's website, webmartuk. com and find you on LinkedIn. Richard been on LinkedIn and I will put both those in the show notes. So Richard, thank you so much. It's been an absolute pleasure. James, great.

[00:35:43] Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. Cheers. Thanks. And thank you everyone for watching listening we love bringing you shows like this and hope you have enjoyed it If you have please do tell everyone, you know, and we look forward to seeing you again soon

Creators and Guests

Richard Boon
Richard Boon
Richard is a Board Advisor at Webmart, a sustainable marketing agency.
S5E1 'The Carbon Footprint of Marketing', with Richard Boon πŸ‘£
Broadcast by