Dotdigital blog

Sustainable marketing for a greener future

To mark Earth Day 2021, we want to take you on a journey of how we became the world’s first-ever carbon-neutral marketing automation platform.
Sustainable marketing is no longer a pipedream. As marketers, we’ve heard a lot about conscious consumerism. Shoppers increasingly make purchase decisions based on the positive social, economic, and environmental impact of a brand. This shift in consumer behavior is driving marketers to look at the sustainability of their own practices. After all, we’re consumers too. We care about how our actions and the actions of our brands we trust impact the world around us. And that includes the brands we work for. As a result, marketers around the world are starting to look at their practices and shift their strategy towards sustainable marketing. At dotdigital, we’ve got green running through our veins. From day one we’ve been passionate about providing marketers with powerful alternatives to traditional direct marketing. Our own green journey has run in tandem with our commitment to deliver sustainable marketing solutions to our customers. Every step that we’ve taken to do our bit and protect the environment has resulted in us becoming the greenest automation platform on the market. That means that sustainable marketing is not a nice-to-have but truly achievable using our software.

The first steps towards a sustainable future

1999: seeing an opportunity for a greener future

Ellipsis Media was founded to drive digital transformation and become the greener alternative to traditional paper-based marketing (e.g. newsletters, brochures, door drops).

2001: aiding digital transformation with sustainable alternatives

Ellipsis Media (consisting of multiple entities including dotagency, dotseo, and dotcommerce) decided to focus its energy on growing its email provider platform: dotmailer. Through dotmailer, marketers were able to access an environmentally friendly channel to reach customers effectively and efficiently. Alongside dotmailer, Ellipsis Media launched more digital services to assist brands going through a digital transformation. This included the launch of dotsurvey which empowered marketers to digitize their data collection.

2015: empowering our people to drive organizational change

Fast forward fourteen years and dotdigital’s passionate employees officially form “dotcommunity” – a forum through which staff can promote the social, environmental, and economic change they want to see. It’s through the hard work and commitment of our people we were able to go through our own digital transformation. This included migrating the platform’s infrastructure from physical data centers to efficient cloud service providers. Our teams searched high and low to identify cloud providers with industry-leading green credentials, reinforcing our commitment to delivering sustainable solutions.

2019: setting the scene before going green

Following the acquisition of communication platforms Dynmark and Comapi, dotmailer underwent an extensive rebrand to become dotdigital. As part of this, our teams underwent another monumental digital transformation. This time we were migrating the physical elements of Dynmark and Comapi’s technology stack to our certified green cloud service providers. We also launched a large number of benefits to support our staff achieve their professional and personal goals. This included listening to feedback from the “dotcommunity” and increasing the number of paid volunteer days available for staff to use to help causes close to their hearts.

January 2020: a green collective consciousness

Various discussions about environmental sustainability taking place throughout the company serendipitously came together to form dotdigital’s collective green consciousness. With support and energy behind the movement emerging from all areas of the business, dotdigital’s leadership team looked at the UK’s Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) and Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). The overall aim of these pieces of legislation is to reduce emissions and monitor companies’ energy data. This helped us build our own framework to reduce our emissions and energy usage with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon-neutral in 2021.

March 2020: committing to change

To back up our commitment to sustainable business, we decided to pursue getting ISO 14001 certified. This is designed to help control environmental aspects, reduce impact, and ensure legal compliance to an international standard. Teaming up with Blackmores Consultancy, we began a high-level review of our existing practices and documentation and compared them to the requirements of ISO 14001. Performing this gap analysis helped us understand how we could achieve our green goals and where we needed to concentrate our efforts.

April 2020: becoming agents for change

Across the business Environmental Champions volunteered to lead us as we became the change we wanted to see. The first step: to get our house in order. We needed to make sure all our environmental records were in place and organized to a high standard as we began collecting our environmental data. We looked at office energy, gas, and water usage, office waste production, utility providers, business travel, and more. This got us in a position to be ready for ISO 14001 implementation. Where necessary we revised our internal policies to align with ISO14001 and devised a new Integrated Management System (IMS) to cover our ISMS (Information Security Management System from ISO 27001) and EMS (Environmental Management System from ISO 14001). With the help of our passionate team of Environmental Champions, the stage was set for us to make organization-wide changes.

August 2020: setting a baseline

Working with external experts, we measured our Scope 1, Scope 2, and selected Scope 3 emissions. This helped us set a baseline of emissions for use to begin reducing and offsetting according to the Oxford Offsetting Principles.

October 2020: smashing our goals

In October 2020, we received the results from our SECR report outlining our global energy usage and carbon emissions. Delighted by our already low emissions, we officially partnered with Climate Care to formally offset emissions we couldn’t directly reduce. This enabled us to become a carbon-neutral business a full year ahead of schedule. But even that wasn’t enough to satisfy us on our sustainability mission. We also decided to partner with our long-time client Woodland Trust to further mitigate our environmental impact. As a brand committed to having a positive impact on the planet, we are delighted to support a charity whose mission is to protect the environment. In addition to this, consultants from Blackmores began internal audits for our ISO 14001 certification with the hopes of getting certified by 2021.

December 2020: officially ISO14001 certified

Following a two-staged audit carried out by certification experts ISOQAR, dotdigital was officially recommended for ISO 14001 certification. With excellent feedback from our auditors about our “very, very phenomenal” efforts, we were found to be highly compliant with the international standard.
Therefore, as of December 2020 dotdigital became the first carbon-neutral, ISO 14001 certified marketing automation platform in the world. And still, we’re not satisfied. As the new year approached we took a step back to decide what our next steps should be.

April 2021: eyes on the future

As the first anniversary of our green journey approached, we were thrilled to see discussions about sustainable business practices making their way onto the world stage. To reaffirm our pledge to protect the environment, we’ve signed up to the Terra Carta.
Terra Carta supporting sustainable business

Keeping our eyes on the prize

Going green is more than just a fad for us. Every step we’ve taken, the change we’ve made, and the goals we’ve set have been a direct result of the personal commitment of everyone in our business. We recognize that it’s our responsibility, both as a brand and as individuals, to do what we can to protect the environment. It’s just an added benefit that we can help our customers as they embark upon their own green missions. We’re just at the beginning of our journey, but we want to share how we got here, so you can join us as we work towards a more sustainable future.
Back to top

Recommended reading