“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Earth Speakr-ES Planet KV

AKQA is an optimistic company. We are designed to be an organisation that has endurance, courage and an open mind.

An audacious spirit, rooted in adaptability that – despite the world’s unrelenting change – enables us to look ahead, do the things that might never have been done before, and sustain beyond any individual. We are idealistic about the kind of business we want to be and the future we want to create.

However, we know that our longevity is inextricably linked to the health of our planet and each living organism that calls it home. We believe every individual carries the duty to ensure the earth we inhabit today is fit for life tomorrow.

Around the world, in each of our studios, we are continually assessing how the work we do and the way we do it can enhance the service we provide for our employees, clients, society and environment. From the suppliers we engage, to the local communities we touch and the spaces in which we function.

Please also review the WPP Sustainability Report.

Making progress

Leading from the front

  • We have formalised our commitment to sustainability with a set of defined goals and metrics, and we continue to communicate them across each studio.
  • As part of our vision for a more sustainable company and future, we require our studios to structure and implement an environmental management system (EMS) covering waste generation, energy consumption, water usage and carbon footprint.

Green teams

  • We actively encourage the formation of environmental ambassadors in each studio, empowering employees to research best practice, share ideas and implement progressive sustainability initiatives.
Vivaldi – The [uncertain] Four Seasons

Reduce, reuse, recycle

  • We continue to increase the Recycle and Re-Use Rate in each studio, where the benchmark is at least 50%.
  • The recycling efforts of our Paris studio in one year conserved 17,500 litres of water and 300kg of CO2. Waste recycled in the studio was transformed into 1,050 bottles, 1,011 cardboard boxes and more.
  • Recycling continues to improve throughout our studios, for example in San Francisco receptacles for recycle and compost are used instead of standard bins. Bespoke signage has been designed with icons that indicate the common items that are acceptable.
  • We are systematically eliminating single-use items such as plastic cups, bottles and utensils in every studio. WPP’s plastic audit ensures actionable solutions are made to tackle pollution from single-use plastics.
  • In San Francisco, all single-use dishware has been eliminated and standard dishwashers have been replaced with industrial machines. Instead of taking one hour and 20 minutes to clean a single load, it now only takes three minutes, while only using two gallons of water instead of ten.
  • Clothes donation programs are held across studios. In Shanghai, an initiative has been held since 2019 to donate clothing to remote areas. In Paris, over 50kg of clothes have been donated to local associations helping migrants, with employees regularly volunteering at charities to assist.
  • We are ensuring that as little food goes to waste, through initiatives such as the Rescuing Leftover Cuisine program in New York, where 200kg was donated to the less fortunate – equivalent to 365 meals.
  • In Paris, a studio library and regular flea markets allows for books, clothing and homeware to be shared between each other, giving unwanted items a use.
  • To reduce printing, monthly pay slips are automatically downloaded via an online platform. Electronic food vouchers are also distributed to prevent paper waste.
  • Where possible old or broken IT hardware are recycled through companies who collect and salvage.
  • Our team in Paris has created the site SaveGive, a playful experience for those who have kept their current incomes during the Covid-19 pandemic, and are saving money as they are stuck at home. Data determines users’ savings, inviting them to donate a percentage.
  • Ongoing sustainability discussions, events and content continues across studios. For example, digital waste workshops to explain the importance of managing mailbox for productivity and environment impact. Each sent email generates 10 grams of CO2.
(re)boot – Change The Game

Sustainable supplies

  • We take the necessary steps to ensure that our suppliers, contractors and partners employ best practice in sustainability, from reduced-plastic sanitary products to neutral, organic, biodegradable, chemical-free tea bags and bamboo tableware.
  • In Atlanta this includes the provision of plant-derived cleaning supplies, made from renewable natural resources which do not contain chemicals such as chlorine bleach, ammonia, paragons or phosphates.

Locally connected

  • We are reducing our carbon footprint and stimulating local economies by collaborating and engaging with communities nearby to each studio. For example, in Amsterdam every colleague receives a birthday voucher from the local bookstore, within walking distance from the studio.
  • In San Francisco, local craftsmen have been commissioned to make furniture and a women-run small business provides plants for the studio.

Human powered

  • We are finding more sustainable ways to travel, from reducing the number of flights we take, to encouraging the use of two wheels over four with Cycle to Work schemes. In Amsterdam, 90% of our employees come to work by bike.
  • This includes our suppliers, where in Amsterdam and Paris, all of the studio’s fruit (environmentally friendly cultivated) and flower deliveries are brought by bicycle.

Greener spaces

  • Our motivation for a more sustainable environment extends to the physical spaces and structures in which we work.
  • New technologies and an awareness for conservation of natural resources permeate AKQA Casa, our studio in São Paulo. The roof uses thermo-acoustical tiles to control insulation, while reclaimed materials and the introduction of sustainable systems such as solar panels, rainwater collection and LED lighting minimise the consumption of natural resources such as electric energy and treated water.

Taking it further

The actions and initiatives that will help inspire us to make further progress include:

Environmentally friendly office practices

  • We continue to encourage behaviours from our employees which facilitate a reduction in environmental impact – from simple reminders on conserving energy such as switching off lights, to educational talks and training on sustainability best practices.
  • We are working with our landlords in each studio to promote more environmentally sustainable conditions. Ultimately the goal is for each studio to be located in a building with comprehensive green credentials (e.g. LEED certification).

Water conservation practices

  • Reducing consumption of natural resources has the biggest impact than any other sustainability initiative. The implementation of low-flow faucets, taps, toilets, urinals and shower heads will be a large step towards achieving our reduced consumption goals.

Low impact renewable energy-use

  • We are working to increase our percentage of energy-use produced from low-impact renewable sources. This includes solar panel phone charging stations and rechargeable batteries.

Environmental design practices

  • We are committed to carrying out recycling and reclamation programs to support the proper disposal or re-use of products, including furniture and electronics.

Embracing circularity

  • We are seeing a transition towards the circular economy for the purpose of extending the life of materials and conserving natural resources. In line with this, we are exploring initiatives including the repurposing of our used coffee-grounds into bio-fuel.

Official accreditation

  • Accreditation allows companies to track and measure environmental initiatives, and is a marker of leadership in sustainability. Examples of accreditation include: B Corporation, ISO 14001, Planet Mark and ESOS.

Modern Slavery Act statement

AKQA does not tolerate any form of modern slavery or human trafficking in any part of our business.

AKQA, is a subsidiary of WPP, therefore please refer to WPP’s Modern Slavery statement here.

AKQA supply chain

Wherever possible, AKQA uses suppliers who are appointed by WPP Group Procurement teams for commonly purchased goods and services. These suppliers are selected in accordance with the WPP Procurement Policy. If AKQA needs to use a supplier outside the approved supplier list, then it is the responsibility of AKQA to select suppliers in accordance with the process and due diligence requirements outlined in the WPP Procurement Policy.

Moving forward

We are a work in progress and we are committed to making year-on-year improvements that advance, protect and provide a more sustainable future for all.

Ultimately, we are problem solvers.

Indigenous Guardianship-cover
Nia Tero – Indigenous Guardianship