It’s no secret that the environment is under threat and Outdoor Network has recognised this with a series of environmentally-friendly initiatives that support its brand value and focus of being ‘green’, in terms of conservation, recycling and the environment.
The company keeps working on methods to reduce its carbon footprint, such as converting billboard illumination from electrical power to solar, regularly donating its billboard skins to charitable organizations and eliminating them being placed in landfill sites, and embarking on a tree planting programme that positively impacts the environment.
The variety of fuels used to generate electricity all have some impact on the environment, from fossil fuel power plants releasing air pollution to the consumption of water resources, the pollution of water bodies and the physical impact on the land required to build power plants.
But this is well documented and why Outdoor Network already has a number of green initiatives in place.
The move to solar power has already resulted in 40 Outdoor Network sites being converted, with additional sites expected to be converted in the coming year. In addition, going forward, all new structures will be fitted with solar panels.
Going “off the grid” represents a significant move in the right direction for Outdoor Network, which is also committed to converting its lighting systems to LED lighting, which consumes less electricity, whilst the same could be said for Outdoor Network’s digital screens, which are also ‘light’ on electricity consumption.
Earlier this year the outdoor advertising industry sat up and took notice when it was announced that billboard skins used in a new Australian advertising campaign would be recycled into park benches, decking, bollards, fence posts and other high-grade recycled polymer products1.
But the practice of recycling these skins is nothing new and Outdoor Network has been at the forefront of this movement, whilst taking a slightly different approach.
Outdoor Network chooses to rather recycle skins from its billboards and donate them to charities that, in turn, are able to use them for social economic development, such as the ShweShwe programme that teaches skills, creates jobs and generates income through the recycling initiative.
As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating, and new research estimates that a worldwide tree planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, according to The Guardian2.
Outdoor Network is cognisant of the impact trees have on the environment and, as a result, has embarked on a tree planting programme of its own, including planting trees in schools and parks, and working with NGOs on these projects, as a way of giving pack and looking after the future.
The ‘Shining Lights’
There are numerous examples of companies taking a ‘greener’ approach and reaping the benefits – not only for themselves as businesses, but the environment, as well.
In South Africa, the likes of Multichoice and Discovery have constructed new, ‘green’ buildings that have the environment at the forefront of their design.
The Multichoice building in Randburg, for example, achieved a 5-Star Green Star SA Office V1 As-Built Certification in 2016, thanks to design features such as grey water collection from the gym and re-use for toilet flushing; efficient light fittings and motion sensors; ice-storage to reduce energy peak demand; drought-resistant plants to minimise the need for irrigation; and CO sensors in the basement to minimise ventilation fan energy.
Outdoor Advertising Role
But it’s not just corporates and their building design principles that have the ability to alter human behaviour and drive a more environmentally-conscious approach. The outdoor advertising industry has an important role to play, not just through its business practices, but in also working with brands to drive this behaviour.
Coca-Cola and Publicis Italy proved this recently when they came up with a novel way of boosting the frequency of recycling. Most visibly at the Happy Energy Tour musical festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, Coke ran outdoor ads and out-of-home placements that turned the brand’s iconic white ribbon on a red background into a hand pointing at the nearest recycling bin.
Publicis Italy reported that 85% of bottles discarded at the festival were put into the bottle-specific recycling bin.
Now, that’s responsible outdoor advertising.