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Procter & Gamble puts ad agencies on the green spot

If it wasn’t bad enough dealing with the procurement department and its desires to reduce costs to nil, ad agencies and others are now finding their environmental practices under (potential) fire.

The world’s biggest advertiser Procter & Gamble has just unveiled its Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard for key suppliers and it wants the ad agencies and even the media companies it deals with to reassure it that they’re reducing their environmental impact and ‘green’ footprint.

And this doesn’t just mean doing a bit of recycling, it may also affect things like travel which presumably means a lot of agencies will be taking the train to Cincinnati or, in the case of the UK for example, Newcastle.

One of the fascinating things to emerge from the Ad Age report is just how big a role ad agencies play in the world of P&G.

Out of P&G’s 2009 sales of $79bn, $7.6bn was spent on agency fees and media expenses. Publicis Groupe alone received around $900m. This compares to $39bn sent on goods sold so P&G has a pretty big stick to wave.

The report also points out that, in comparison to most suppliers, agencies comprise a remarkably centralised group so their activities are easier to supervise.

The good news, for agencies anyway, is that they win extra brownie points on the scorecard, which was partly devised by WPP, for providing sustainability ideas.

And the scorecard itself? Take a deep breath. Getting a five on the scorecard requires reporting and improving on all P&G environmental impact measures applicable to the ad industry, working collaboratively on all applicable P&G sustainability initiatives, jointly developing P&G’s environmental ideas and reporting on all additional feasible measures of environmental impact requested by P&G.

Now, where’s the advertising?

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