In September 2022, we were challenged like never before. We delivered Think Beyond ’22, a sustainability led nationwide tour from global tech company Lenovo. The campaign would stretch across five cities around New Zealand, with a focus on sustainability, diversity and inclusion within the tech world.
In September 2022, we were challenged like never before.
We delivered Think Beyond ’22, a sustainability led nationwide tour from global tech company Lenovo. The campaign would stretch across five cities around New Zealand, with a focus on sustainability, diversity and inclusion within the tech world. The core of the campaign revolved around creating carbon-neutral, zero-waste, events.
Our values were aligned, and both companies were working on a project with purpose, so we were excited to go on this adventure with Lenovo. But, as with any project like this, there were trials, tribulations and unexpected challenges, so we wanted to share the lessons we learned from our sustainable experience. If we can create a carbon-neutral/zero-landfill campaign around NZ, within six weeks and with a team of seven, then any business can do it.
Check out our unfiltered interview with Proposition CEO Simon Walker to dive deeper into our experience.
From the beginning, we extensively brain-stormed the BIG sustainability ideas -travel, venues and vendors. But it was the little things, things that we hadn't thought twice about, that took a toll on our sustainability goals.
One example was when we had organised catering to be delivered to the different venues/locations. We had sourced the catering from a company that knew our sustainability desires, and they were supplying food in biodegradable packaging. However, in one city, some of the food was going to be delivered on plates borrowed from the caterer, and to cover the food, they used glad wrap. The sustainability message has slipped through the cracks, and we had to be responsible for that. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but when you are living and breathing sustainability, a small thing like that hits you in the stomach.
Here are the other “little” things you need to pay attention to:
One of the biggest challenges we faced was offsetting the emissions created by travel. For the sustainable tour, we had to fly to three locations and drive to the remaining two. Of course, we threw money at the problem to offset the flying-emissions, but it was when we landed that we struggled the most to find low-carbon transportation. We had so much equipment and merchandise to bring to each location, it meant that we couldn’t walk or take electric scooters. We had to resort to renting standard cars or taking Ubers as there were no low-carbon vehicles in most locations. We realised that offsetting emissions meant more than just paying extra. We had to consider the impact of every plane, train and automobile.
For future campaigns we would spend more time looking for low carbon vehicles, source equipment locally and make sure deliveries were made in a sustainable manner.
When you start talking about sustainability all the live long day, you'll become a lot more conscious of what you’re doing in your personal life and at first, it will make you feel like a bad person. You’ll go to pack a sandwich in a snap lock bag and think – “urgh nope, this doesn't feel right”. You’ll then spend the next hour browsing sustainable lunchboxes online. The thing about sustainability is that when you know better, you do better. Once you've created a sustainable campaign, you'll now walk in the world more informed and make better decisions.
The downside to "realisation” is that it's super annoying. It’s harder to recycle, reuse and redistribute; it takes effort and money and time. Know that it’s going to be hard, but it will leave you with quiet satisfaction that you’re doing your best to make the world a better place.
Every campaign you create from now on will be marinated in “intentional thinking”. For us, we know that we can certainly work with our suppliers in a different way, and that’s something that any industry can get behind. For the IT industry specifically, it’s important to know that you can still be passionate about technology and, at the same time, be conscious of its impact on the planet. Those two passions are not mutually exclusive. Integrating sustainability into your business acumen means allowing for a change in materials, resources and optimising supply chains to reduce emissions. It's a change that can take years to spread across departments but once everyone is onboard, you won't look back.
Creating a sustainability campaign is hard, but we suggest you think of it this way – your hard work and effort now will create a better world for your children's children.
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