Thinkhouse's Guide for Sustainability in Action (IAPI)

In the week of Cop26, and to coincide with the IAPI event 'Sustainability In Practice’ this is THINKHOUSE’s guide to sustainability-in-action designed for agency leaders:

1: Start Your Journey & Embed It Into Your Culture

2: Join A Community

3: Undertake Formal Training



These 10 concepts is a good place to start your professional sustainable literacy journey:

- United Nations Sustainable Development Goals -

- ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) -

- Circular Economy -

- Equity, Diversity & Inclusion -

- Carbon Footprint and NetZero -

- Biodiversity and Natural Capital -

- Brainprint -

- Triple bottom line -

- B Corp -

- Purpose -

Useful local links for Irish professionals:

- Ireland specific overview - The Climate Crisis, An Essential Guide

- Ireland's Climate Action Plan - what does it mean for you?



Embed a Sustainability culture into your organisation by integrating education/training, thought leadership, exploration and innovation around sustainable practice. Form a small, cross-disciplinary team - with one clear project owner to kickstart things.

Just like any other part of your business (Creativity, Innovation, Finance, Operations) it is an always-on, always-changing landscape that requires ongoing learning, debate and conversation.

Integrate sustainability learnings, news, insights and reports into your regular existing meetings and communication framework (EG: Monday Morning Meetings, Creative Insights Sessions, internal training programmes and company research & insights projects.) This creates a culture-by-osmosis that helps people at all levels, in all disciplines, to develop the awareness, expertise and action our industry needs.

Consider Fridays for Future sessions/reflections/debates. This forms a repeatable habit that becomes part of your internal culture to drive awareness and comfort around what can be an overwhelming subject matter.

To learn by doing, deliver work that formulates your agency’s view and further powers your team of experts (EG: Thinkhouse’s World War Z - a generation’s battle to fix the climate crisis; Earth Day and Youth Culture Uncovered, 52INSIGHTS) and be committed to doing this at your own agency’s cost. This work should be designed to have an impact internally, but also within your immediate client and marketing community.

Prepare and share an Environmental Policy with your team and/or clients. This should be a commitment to:

  • Complying fully with all relevant legal requirements, codes of practice and regulations
  • Assessing the environmental impacts of your operations, continuously seeking to reduce these impacts and improving your resource efficiency through reduction of energy, water use and waste
  • Funding operational changes to reduce your environmental impact
  • Promoting environmental and energy awareness in your employees through participation and training - this includes encouraging good environmental stewardship in how employees manage work & day to day practises
  • Promoting environmental and energy awareness in your clients
  • Working with your customers to make more environmentally sensitive choices
  • Monitoring your progress to ensure ongoing improvements in your environmental performance. Publishing your emissions reports, goals and targets.

Measure what matters - firstly focusing on Scope 1, your own-controlled emissions, efforts and actions:

1: Measure your environmental impact using widely available tools and supports (e.g. Enterprise Ireland).

2: Measure the Impact of your work - clients and agency’s SDG activities (in and outside work).

3: Measure the percentage of your work that’s purpose led and set targets against that to grow your impact or reduce your carbon heavy work.

4: Measure how people feel to ensure your organization is moving together, aligned and action-oriented.

5: Measure your training programmes and your team’s literacy development.

When you’re ready, integrate sustainability into your service offering and your agency’s positioning. Consider making bigger commitments (e.g becoming B Corp), reviewing your organization's founding principles, values and constitution - to ensure that your impact as an agency leader lives on for long term impact.

Finally, walk the walk - be prepared to change your own practices and habits in your personal life, difficult as that may be. This will inspire your team, and clients, to do the same.


Being part of a community - regardless of what stage of the journey you are on, is essential. Every community has individuals who are at varying stages of their sustainability journey. The culture within these communities is powerful and sharing is our collective superpower. At THINKHOUSE, our involvement in multiple sustainability organisations and groups (Purpose Disruptors, B Corp, thenetworkone, PRII and IAPI amongst others) has been inspiring. Competitors coming together to focus on the collective impact our industry can make.

- Purpose Disruptors: (Purpose Disruptors Ireland, PD PR)

- Science Based Targets: Business Ambition for 1.5°C

- SME Climate Hub



Combine internal training with external, formal training to power and empower a team of sustainability marketing experts. Now, more than ever, there are increased educational opportunities for continuous professional development. Here are some formal training courses, many of which our teams have participated in:

AdGreen (Production)

TU Sustainable Leadership


Harvard Business School


Ad Net Zero Essentials Certificate



Ireland’s Climate Action Plan

David Attenborough’s Speech at COP26

Scope 1,2,3 emissions

Donut Economics

Gain not Pain

Planetary Boundaries

We Mean Business Coalition

UN Global Impact

Cities Race to Net Zero

The Climate Pledge

Under 2 degrees

Local Governments for Sustainability

Finance Industry - UN collective

International Chamber of Commerce ICC

Japan Climate Hub

Water.Org UK

International Wineries for Climate Action

Exponential Roadmap. Org

Youth4Climate Manifesto

And, if you missed this letter from Extinction Rebellion, to the Ad Industry, back in 2019, read it now: Extinction Rebellion's Letter warning the Ad Industry in 2019

For further information: