Making a difference: Alanna Turpin on education and sustainability
Why educating disadvantaged children and reducing our carbon footprint are key missions for OMG MENA
At Omnicom Media Group MENA, we truly believe that businesses have a responsibility to our planet and we embrace it in many ways, from our business practices to the NGOs we support. This is why we’ve aligned ourselves with a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly focused on the environment and education. We sat down with our Group CSR Manager, Alanna Turpin, to talk about reducing our impact on the environment and why we’ve rallied behind education.
Tell us more about the community partners we worked with in India and the Philippines. Why did you pick them?
While our volunteers were in India and Philippines building water towers, we wanted them to also spend time and be hands on with the community initiatives we support. Education is an important pillar at Omnicom Media Group MENA and the mission of Bucket List in Delhi is perfectly aligned with it. We have found that seeing the stark living conditions of the communities we support for themselves is very powerful in motivating people to do more. The majority of our volunteers play an even bigger part in our CSR and sustainability campaigns after they come back from these visits.
What are OMG’s short and long term goals with these communities?
For the water towers specifically, in the short term, we want to give them clean water to drink. This way, they do not worry about falling sick and being in pain as a result of unsafe water. In the long term, we want them to be able to focus more on their education. The less time they spend being sick, the more productive they become through education. This is how we break the poverty cycle. This goes for both the Bucket List in India and Rehoboth in the Philippines. We help improve the children’s future by giving them the tools and power to take control of their destiny today.
What else are we doing to minimize our carbon footprint?
We have installed a building energy management system to track and monitor energy from our HVAC systems (heating ventilation and AC) to calculate our carbon emissions and identify where we’re able to save. We are currently gathering this data and will then make changes based on it. We are also removing disposable items from the building, cutting down our carbon emissions in terms of the production, transportation and disposal of items.
What role do you see a company like OMG playing in protecting the environment?
It is vital that businesses minimize their footprint as much as possible while seeking to operate efficiently. This really isn’t and shouldn’t be a difficult task. It’s everyone’s responsibility to look after our planet for the next generations. We believe, and have indeed found, that sustainability and efficiency are not mutually exclusive.
Do you have any practical tips and ways in which individuals, small businesses and large corporations can make a little go a long way?
Think about your daily habits and see how you can make small changes. For example, change the plastic bottle you’re using into a reusable one. Say no to the plastic straw with an iced coffee and use your mouth. Turn off the tap when it is not in use. Consider whether you really need to print that document and, if so, print it double-sided. There are many ways in which an individual can contribute to making things better and avoid draining the Earth’s limited resources.
Companies should take a good look at their operations to see where they can make sustainable changes. Often, these will also generate a cost saving. That doesn’t mean that you have to remove products or services, it just means you pick more environmentally-friendly options.