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HH Global announces new net zero targets

© Shutterstock / GVLRNet zero

Following increasing market expectations on measurable science-based targets, HH Global has responded by tightening its targets across the company with the aim to extend them across its client base.

HH Global is bringing net zero targets tighter within the organisation; its partners and suppliers.

Carbon offsets can no longer be relied on to fulfil emission reduction pledges.

As calls for increased transparency grow, expect to see an increasing number of corporates strengthen sustainability action plans.

Reaching the COP-26 driven target

HH Global, a provider of tech-enabled creative production and procurement, announced  key milestones for stronger action on the 1.5% COP26-driven target:

  • 50% carbon emission reduction by 2030*
  • 90% carbon emission reduction by 2040*
  • Ongoing investment in nature-based solutions
  • 10% neutralisation by 2040

* Compared to an FY22 baseline

HH signed its commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative in June 2020, following which it had two years to set reduction targets for Scope 1, 2 and 3 CO2 emissions.

It is not clear whether or when HH submitted its targets to the SBTi but as yet they have not been validated. There is nothing on HH Global on the SBTi progress report dashboard. Scope 1 relates to energy generated on-site, Scope 2 relates to energy purchased and Scope 3 covers energy use that takes place in the supply chain.

Having companies around the world makes company emission reduction harder than for some. In 2021 it opened offices in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. HH has a team of 4,500 and $2 billion spend under management.

It is targeting 100% renewable energy across its operations by 2025 and aiming to adhere to responsible consumption and production in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 13.

Demands for robust and credible ESG plans is on the rise

HH’s focus on integrity within its corporate sustainability planning is in part driven by its client list. Consumer facing brands, which include its clients from Diageo, Google, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, HSBC, T-Mobile, Unilever, Coca-Cola and more, are facing increasing supply chain scrutiny. Leading creative agencies from WPP to Havas and Dentsu are taking action, including GroupM’s launch of a new ad-emissions based carbon calculator.

As approaches to addressing decarbonisation and sustainability challenges become more robust, it is no longer sufficient to play lip service to sustainability and ESG goals. Indeed one of its clients, CCEP, is sufficiently focused on the need to decarbonise its supply chain that it recently launched a sustainable supply chain financing option through Rabobank.

Crucially, as HH is a business that works with clients, it is focusing on collaboration with its clients, to affect a move to renewable energy and environmentally friendly materials. It is looking at sustainability in its partners but beyond the use of risk identification and mitigation tools, does not have a major plan to achieve this.

More than rhetoric will be required for the company’s transition to be deemed credible

The company has expressed its will to achieve climate action. In 2021 it also signed up to the Climate Pledge, an initiative co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism, calling on signatories to commit to net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040.

Turning commitments into action appears to have been a slow process, but the company is using its tech leverage to apply climate change considerations across its supply chain.

In March 2022 HH had its CDP rating increased from a C to a B for its climate change disclosure, with an A rating given for the strength of its governance and emissions reduction initiatives.

HH Global launches sustainability assessment for marketing

In 2021 HH launched a Sustainability Assessment for the marketing execution industry, the first to provide a detailed assessment specific to the sustainability of a company’s marketing spend.

The assessment profiles the risk and suggests recommendations for improvement, providing a carbon metric and a score card indicating how well purchases align to principles. Identification of risk with suggestions for mitigation are not as stringent as using such information as a screening tool to select suppliers.

HH does use an environmental calculator at the planning stage which should enable the company, and its clients, to use procurement as a tool for minimising negative impact.

Alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

HH Global clusters its ESG performance around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021 it partnered with Support the Goals which provides resources and support to educate businesses about how the 17 UN Global Goals can help them tackle poverty, inequality and climate change.

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