Fuller Brand Communication, a medium-sized family business based in Adelaide, is taking the lead on the climate change challenge by becoming one of Australia’s most sustainable marketing agencies.
In December 2020, Fuller became the first marketing agency in Australia to achieve carbon neutral certification through the Federal Government’s Climate Active Program.
Carbon neutral certification was awarded after Fuller established in-house sustainability policies, committed to an independent evaluation of its carbon emissions and developed an emissions reduction strategy.
BCorp certification followed a rigorous audit of Fuller’s financial accounts, management policies around staff, customers and suppliers, and its contributions to the community and the environment. BCorps are ethical businesses that balance profit with purpose.
There are 3500 global BCorps and 257 in Australia, including brands such as Patagonia, Aesop and Beyond Bank.
“The move towards creating a more sustainable business started about five years ago when management and staff collaborated to find ways to reduce our impact on the planet,” Managing Director Peter Fuller said.
“Fuller is a family company – not just family owned and managed but also an employer of more than 25 families. This gives us a heightened sense of responsibility to contribute to a society that we are proud to hand on to our children and grandchildren.
“We believe that every business, big or small, has a role to play in creating a more sustainable world.
“As we are in the business of communication we feel a responsibility to be part of that change.
“Our clients will need to engage with their customers in new ways as they grapple with this new economic and social order, so we need to be authentic and ‘walk the talk’.”
Fuller introduced an in-house recycling and composting scheme three years ago, followed by a ban on takeaway coffee cups and plastic drink bottles, giving staff refillable bottles and encouraging the purchase of “keep cups”.
“In that first year we stopped an estimated 2500 coffee cups going to landfill, which was a great result,” Peter said.
Fuller’s new sustainability initiatives in 2021 will include the purchase of its first Tesla company vehicle and changing to a green electricity supplier to reduce emissions.
Ethical BCorp initiatives will include a staff wellness program (including free medical tests and counselling); a volunteering program (three days per year for each staff member); a community service initiative for staff to assist local organisations; and a supplier review focussing on local purchasing, sustainability and diversity.
Peter said the process of achieving carbon neutral certification would have been challenging without the support of Carbon Neutral Adelaide and one of the organisation’s sustainability consultants Suzanne Ridding.
“It was very useful to have an independent consultant take a look at our business and help us with unbiased measurement and evaluation,” he said.
“We would recommend it to other businesses looking to measure their emissions.
“We were surprised to find we emitted 180 tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2019-20, which seemed a lot for a non-manufacturing business.
“While our new electricity and transport initiatives are expected to bring this down, we have signed a Climate and Diversity Protection Agreement with sustainability organisation South Pole.
“To achieve carbon neutral status we have signed up to an offset scheme and contributed to two projects: one is a tree planting program at the indigenous-led Mt Sandy Conservation Project on the Coorong, and the other is a wind power farm in Taiwan.
Climate Active is an ongoing partnership between the Australian Government and Australian businesses, to drive voluntary climate action. The brand represents Australia’s collective effort to measure, reduce, and offset carbon emissions to reduce environmental impact.