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Sustainability will be the key driver of economic recovery: Ogilvy puts sustainability at the heart of its business


28 Oct 2009


Sustainable Dev.

On 26 and 27 October, Seth Farbman, the Global President of Ogilvy Earth met with clients of the Ogilvy Group in Belgium as well as European Commission officials. He explained why Ogilvy is ideally placed to help companies and institutions make the shift to a more sustainable business model, and how Ogilvy has integrated this into a holistic communications & marketing offer for its clients.

The economy is changing. 2009 is giving rise to a new world order with the concept of sustainability at its very core. The financial crisis, the ‘Obama effect’ and COP15 have converged to create a ‘perfect storm’ in which a new world order is rapidly rising to replace the old one. According to Ogilvy, sustainability will be the key driver of economic recovery.

Isn’t sustainability the exact opposite of what an advertising agency usually does , namely stimulate consumption? When asked the question, Seth Farbman refers to the founder of the company, David Ogilvy, who insisted on doing ‘more‘ with communications and began Ogilvy’s longstanding strategic partnership with WWF. . In Ogilvy we are deeply convinced that reframing beliefs and changing behaviour are at the core of what we do and that our global network allows us to do it well. And that’s precisely what the call for more sustainable models is all about. A radical change in society that involves interaction and collaboration between business, governments/institutions and the citizen/consumer. The “Hopenhagen’ campaign developed by Ogilvy to mobilise support for the UN Conference on climate change in December does exactly that.

‘In today’s economic environment, our clients make difficult decisions about how to run their businesses and how they spend their money’, says Seth Farbman The shift to sustainability forces businesses to look closer at their market place and better understand their impact on society (social, environmental and economic). Taking action involves long- term engagement through honest and transparent communications that engage consumers and engender trust.

Europe has become a forerunner with its EU legislation in place on climate change. The challenge for European businesses is to communicate the impact of EU legislation on their markets, and to help shape the new regulatory order in the process. “With the European institutions, business and media all on the doorstep, Brussels is a “living lab” - the ideal place to start integrating sustainability into communications”, says Natalie Todd, Managing Director of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in Brussels.

Why should companies and governments care ... Consumer pressure
Consumers are increasingly concerned about businesses’ social and environmental record. They also indicate that business alongside governments and citizens should be taking concrete action towards more sustainable economic growth. At the same time there is increasing evidence that consumers are losing faith in business. Authentic communications and the involvement of a broader range of stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, communities, the press, unions, government and civil society) will help companies rebuild credibility and ultimately market share.”

About Ogilvy Earth

OgilvyEarth is a global network of sustainability communications experts who represent the various disciplines within Ogilvy’s 360 degree communications platform. Combining professional expertise from various marketing disciplines, such as advertising, PR, Public Affairs and digital, OgilvyEarth ( offers strategic consulting, “sustainability influencer” programmes and CSR thought leadership.

The Ogilvy Group Worldwide is a leader in global communications solutions to help brands think and act differently – and to tell their stories in a way that engages.

In Brussels, the core contacts are :

· Natalie Todd, Managing Director, Ogilvy Public Relations

· Deepika Sandhu, Public Affairs

· Laure Van Hauwaert, Corporate and Consumer PR

· Carla Espinhal, Public Communications

For more information, please visit and

Press contact

Barbara Malengreaux - Ogilvy PR

+32 2 545 65 48


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