Public awareness of sustainability and environmental issues is growing fast – the ongoing damage caused to our planet is often touted as the biggest risk facing us all.
So we took the opportunity to sit down with our Environmental & Sustainability Manager Martin Page to find out what steps Clear Channel, and the wider Out of Home (OOH) industry, are doing to play its part.
Public awareness of sustainability and environmental issues is growing fast – the ongoing damage caused to our planet is often touted as the biggest risk facing us all. So we took the opportunity to sit down with our Environmental & Sustainability Manager Martin Page to find out what steps Clear Channel, and the wider Out of Home (OOH) industry, are doing to play its part.
“As a company I’ve seen Clear Channel come a really long way and we’ve taken huge steps to become more environmentally friendly. When I first started all our rubbish was transported into one big skip, which then all went into landfill,” recalls Martin. “Now almost none of our company waste ends up in landfill.”
“We’re making positive steps all the time – a lot through little wins like reducing the amount of plastic use through introducing reusable rubbish sacks and buying steel cutlery in offices rather than bringing in plastic. We’re also currently working on larger projects, such as the introduction of LED lighting into our classic portfolio, which is something we’ve been working on for a long time, trying to identify a solution that works for our advertisers as well as the environment.“
My background is actually in transport engineering” smiles Martin. “I worked in that industry for over 13 years, before working in Malawi for two years, running the ambulance service there, through a volunteer placement with the VSO organisation. After joining the Operations team at Clear Channel, a position then opened up to oversee the new Environmental Management system that was to be implemented and, having a keen personal interest in the topic, I volunteered.”
“I’ve been in this role for quite a long time, fifteen years now, and I’ve seen the Out of Home industry really come a long way in regards to addressing environmental and sustainability issues,” Martin says. “I think this is because, as an industry we have shared problems. I’ve seen points where media owners have come together to address important issues. A particular case study I remember is, a few years ago now, where media owners all came together with the Outdoor Media Centre – now known as Outsmart – to try and solve the problem of PVC skins used on backlight billboards, which were disposed of in landfill. Ultimately though this ceased to be a major issue due to the growth of digital Out of Home.”
"...the focus here is really about reducing how much energy we use. Bringing our electricity usage down as far as possible will have a massive impact.”
As the OOH industry charges toward its digital future, Martin highlights a new set of challenges that he and the company faces. “It is true that there is an increased energy and electricity consumption to power digital screens. However, the offset of this is that digital screens help reduce waste and transport costs, as well as helping with health and safety issues such as height risks to operatives.”
“Though all of the electricity we use comes from sustainable sources, the focus here is really about reducing how much energy we use. Bringing our electricity usage down as far as possible will have a massive impact.”
The recent launch of internal eco project Green Channel has highlighted Martin’s huge efforts and engaged the team to be thinking about what their impact is as an individual. “The start of Green Channel means we have further opportunities for staff to get involved and make positive changes within the company. We’re introducing free re-usable coffee cups for staff use, as well as reusable lunch bags to cut down on the amount of waste and plastic we bring into the building. These initiatives have received extremely positive feedback, and it’s been great to have Green Channel as a platform to increase the amount of communication we put out around sustainability and our environmental changes.”
“Clear Channel is in a really good place now, and the job is to join all the different strands of sustainability."
“Obviously, environmental issues and global warming are always in the news now and I’m pleased the UK now has taken a bigger focus on tackling these issues. We do have to think about the legacy we leave behind, which currently isn’t great, which is why sustainability is a big focus for lots of companies.”
“Ultimately,” Martin explains, “Clear Channel is in a really good place now, and the job is to join all the different strands of sustainability. It’s not just putting stuff in the right bins and making sure you turn off the lights; it’s about Health & Safety, working with different charities, providing job opportunities, and becoming a truly sustainable business that supports the local community.”