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Green Quadrant Sustainability Communications Agencies 2010 (US)

Date: 01 September 2010

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34 pages, 15 figures

Executive Summary

In the last 12 months Chief Marketing Officers, Brand Directors and Chief Sustainability Officers have taken on the mantle of corporate sustainability marketing, building on the successes of CSR directors and corporate citizenship leaders. This is new territory for marketing and sustainability leaders, so to whom can they turn for help and guidance? To help executives draw up a shortlist of potential partners Verdantix evaluated 18 PR and marketing agencies — such as Cone, Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard and OgilvyEarth — that offer sustainability communications services. While all the agencies assessed in the study understand the need to help their clients avoid ‘greenwash’ claims, only two agencies have market-leading approaches that provide their clients with breakthrough sustainability communications strategies. In this nascent market, even the leading agencies need to broaden their capabilities in order to deliver the right balance of transparency and corporate reputation enhancement that brand directors and Chief Sustainability Officers require.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

STATE OF THE MARKET FOR SUSTAINABILITY COMMUNICATIONS
CSR Reporting And Green Marketing Yield To Sustainability Communications

COMMUNICATING SUSTAINABILITY ESCAPES THE GREEN GHETTO
Firms Should Take Charge Of Sustainability Communications
Sustainability Means Business – Not Philanthropy

AGENCIES MUST BUILD EXPERTISE TO WIN SUSTAINABILITY BUSINESS
Sustainability Communications Programmes Start Small
Customers Give PR Firms Lukewarm Reviews And Flag Up Higher Awareness Of Specialists
Marketers Need Help Reconciling Transparency With Marketing Communications

GREEN QUADRANT® FOR US SUSTAINABILITY COMMUNICATIONS AGENCIES
The Green Quadrant Methodology
Evaluated Firms: Selection Criteria
Evaluation Criteria For Sustainability Communications Agencies
OgilvyEarth And Cone Lead In Sustainability Communications
Four Agencies Demonstrate Sustainability Communications Knowledge But Trail The Leaders
Eleven Agencies Need To Upgrade Their Sustainability Communications Strategy

FINDING THE RIGHT SUSTAINABILITY COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY
Sustainability Strategy Maturity Drives The Right Choice Of Agency
Agencies Need To Get Serious About Their Own Sustainability Challenges

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1. CSR And Green Marketing Yield To Sustainability Communications
Figure 2. Sustainability Communications Rewrite The CSR Reporting Playbook
Figure 3. Customers And Employees Top CSR Audiences
Figure 4. Market Signals Spur Sustainability Communications
Figure 5. Firms Prioritize Environmental Actions Over Social And Philanthropic Deeds
Figure 6. CSR And Sustainability Reports Dominate Communication
Figure 7. Modest Budgets Support Sustainability Communications
Figure 8. PR Agencies Alone Fail To Meet Firms’ Needs
Figure 9. Four Agencies Clearly Lead The Industry In The Eyes Of Purchasers
Figure 10. Specialists Are Top Of Mind With Purchasers
Figure 11. Capabilities Criteria For Sustainability Communications Agencies
Figure 12. Momentum Criteria For Sustainability Communications Agencies
Figure 13. Green Quadrant® Sustainability Communications Agencies (US)
Figure 14. Capabilities Scores For 18 US Sustainability Communications Agencies
Figure 15. Momentum Scores For 18 US Sustainability Communications Agencies

Companies Mentioned

American Express, APCO Worldwide, Ben & Jerry’s, Brodeur, Burson-Marsteller, CERES, CH2M Hill, Citigroup, Climate Counts.org, Cohn & Wolfe, Cone, Context America, Context Marketing, Daimler-Chrysler, DDB, Domani, Edelman, Ernst & Young, Esty Environmental Partners, Facebook, Fleishman-Hillard, Futerra, GE, General Mills, GolinHarris, GreenOrder, Greenpeace, Green Seal, Harvard University , Hill & Knowlton, Home Depot, HP, Ketchum, Kimberly Clark, Landor, Levi Strauss, Maddock-Douglas, Motorola, MS&L Group, Native Energy, Natural Capitalism Solutions, Newsweek, O’Dwyer, OgilvyEarth, Ogilvy Mather, Omnicom Group, Outcast, Penn Schoen Berland, Porter Novelli, Publicis Group, Reuters, Ruder Finn, Saatchi & Saatchi S, Starbucks, SustainAbility, Sustainable Media, The Body Shop, Timberland, Twitter, Unilever, United Technology, University of Michigan US Forest Service, Wal-Mart, WWP, Young & Rubicam