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Showcase #3: taking responsibility

‘Do the right thing,’ says Nikki Wright

See also: Creative Showcase is an advertising supplement created by Idealog. For information on upcoming Creative Showcases, call Ben Gibb on 09 966–0997 or email ben@idealog.co.nz

When Westpac launched an ambitious sustainability plan this year, it required not just the usual array of communicators and ad people to get the new message across.

For a start, the message was complex, comprising Westpac’s CEMARS certification (short for Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme), the launch of Westpac ecoshop and a major internal sustainability plan.

It was also bold, aiming to position the bank as a leader in corporate responsibility and change the way the bank does business in New Zealand.

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“Consumers are demanding greater transparency from business—a prospect that daunts many companies. But there’s well-established best practice for reporting and managing sustainability. We can help.” –Nikki Wright, Wright Communications

Westpac knew it required expert assistance so turned to Wright Communications, a specialist in corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

“They really understand the issues businesses face in grappling with this nebulous topic and are very clued up on the area of carbon management,” says head of corporate responsibility at the bank, Suzie Marsden. “Wright Communications impress me with their great ideas and very importantly, their collaborative working style.”

Walk the talk

Nikki Wright to set up Wright Communications in 2006 because she could see a gap: no-one was specialising in corporate social responsibility. Now the Auckland-based consultancy boasts an enviable client list including Ecostore, McDonald’s, Mainzeal, Ricoh, Sir Peter Blake Trust and Villa Maria.

“It’s relatively easy to be a communications practitioner.  Anyone can write a press release and generate media coverage for their clients,” says Wright. “It’s not so easy to challenge your clients to always do the right thing by their stakeholders and it’s not common to have that advice delivered from a consultancy that practices what it preaches.”

That means walking the talk. Wright Communications is the first PR consultancy to achieve carbon neutrality through Landcare Research’s carboNZero programme. “Our footprint is only small, but it puts us in a strong position to assist our clients with reduction strategies and reporting requirements.”

At its Shortland Street office, the consultancy uses full recycling services, duplex printing, electronics and toner cartridge product stewardship and overnight powering down of electronic equipment. Consultants use a low-emissions Smart Car and GPS for travel to client meetings, ensuring business trips are efficiently planned and have a low-environmental impact.

Wright Communications is also a member of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Business Network—a valued pro-bono client.

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Ricoh engaged Wright to produce its inaugural sustainability report, to international G3 standards, and to formulate a major carbon reduction programme. And Westpac is on a mission to be the most sustainable bank—with Wright’s help

Full service

Sustainability is a specialty but Wright is also a full service consultancy working for multinational brands such as McDonald’s.  National communications manager Kate Porter says Wright advises her team across all issues.  “We use other communications agencies for tactical work but Nikki acts as a sounding board for a wide range of issues. She’s very socially aware and a great thinker. We have a small team, so I find her excellent to run things past.”

Doing business the ‘Wright Way’ means being guided by three values: people, planet and profit. “This means we are communicators that are aware of the wider social, environmental and economic context that our clients operate in and bring that understanding to everything we do,” Wright says.

Corporate responsibility reporting is the capability that sets it apart from other consultancies. In addition to being trained in GHG inventory reporting through Landcare Research, Wright produces sustainability reports using the Global Reporting Initiative (G3) guidelines and is the only agency, to Wright’s knowledge, with this expertise.

“There’s an international trend toward corporations needing to provide a greater level of transparency than they have done in the past. One of the ways they can achieve this is through better reporting procedures and this is where Wright Communications can add value. Our clients tap into our sustainability expertise and we assist them in producing triple-bottom-line reports that address all aspects of their business.”

New wave

Wright says triple-bottom-line reporting is becoming far more common across all sectors. The reports are also an important communications tool, creating opportunities to engage with stakeholders across the board.

“We’re part of a new international wave of professional public relations that is contributing more to our client’s business.  We will continue to introduce our clients to new practices to enhance their reputations and credibility, and ensure they are fully accountable to their stakeholders.”

  • Strategic communications planning
  • Stakeholder research
  • Corporate responsibility-led initiatives
  • Sustainability and annual reports
  • Change management and internal communications
  • Brand and corporate reputation management
  • Risk/issues and crisis management
  • Media relations and training