Independent global advertising agency network Wieden+Kennedy has received international B Corp certification for its enduring and ambitious commitment to social and environmental sustainability, corporate responsibility, people-first programs and worker benefits.

Ever since its founding in 1982, Wieden+Kennedy has strived to make advertising a force for cultural impact and change in the world. In a bold statement of intent, the agency joins a growing community of more than 6,000 B Corps-certified companies around the world (including the likes of Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s) committed to taking social and environmental commitments to the next level.

Becoming a B Corp is no mean feat, and all the more remarkable given the international scope and scale of Wieden+Kennedy. Involving nine offices (since certification there is a tenth) and 1,500 employees spread across seven countries, the intensive process took Wieden+Kennedy nearly two years. From implementing a global emissions measurement program to establishing new sustainable production guidelines, it required full participation from the entire network – making its B Corp certification a true collective achievement, with benefits that will be felt by every employee in every continent.

The meticulous B Corp assessment consists of 260 no-holds-barred questions, assessing for-profit companies across five categories: governance, workers, community, environment and customers. With above-average scores in workers, community and environment, Wieden+Kennedy sets an example across the advertising industry and to its partners around the world – proving that for-profit companies can have a positive impact on people and the planet.

"Obtaining B Corp status for the entire Wieden+Kennedy network was complex. It’s in our culture that each office functions independently, and we wanted to respect this healthy individuality. So instead of simply completing one unilateral assessment, we undertook one for every office, and consolidated the results,” commented Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam group account director and director of social impact, Luke Purdy.

“Even if geographically and culturally we face different challenges, the network shares values around creative ambition, people and the planet. There are many incredible things happening around the network at any given moment, driven by the brilliant people and unique communities of each office.”

“What’s really special about this achievement is that it was entirely initiated by our employees—passionate creative people who saw an opportunity to make W+K better and make positive change in the world,” says Wieden+Kennedy Global CEO Neal Arthur. “They did it all. This place and the people here never cease to amaze.”

W+K teamed up with outside experts in sustainability and corporate responsibility to ensure the agency network hits its targets and makes good on its promises. Some of these experts include emission measurement and decarbonisation specialists Zevero, and Klimate, a company that helps responsible businesses offset the carbon emissions they cannot avoid.

With Zevero’s support, W+K has developed a comprehensive, science-backed strategy to reduce emissions, including the decarbonization of its physical footprint and more intentional business travel. With their partner Klimate, they offset 1,500 tons of emissions in 2022 using high-quality carbon removal methods. That’s equivalent to 9,000,000 km of driving (5,592,340 miles) or 225 trips around the earth (and a very long road trip playlist).

In the U.S, the agency is an active member of Green the Bid, a grassroots initiative supporting the ad industry’s movement to zero-waste, as well as carbon-neutral, sustainable and regenerative practices. With their help, W+K has implemented several sustainable best practices across numerous client productions, including reducing landfill waste on set, recycling sets, managing energy use, switching to bottleless water services and recyclable service items and utensils.

W+K’s definition of a sustainable workplace extends to its people. Career development, financial education, student loan repayment, premium benefits and investment in personal creative projects encouraging passion projects all underpin the agency’s intent to safeguard the creativity of the workforce. Of course, there’s still work to be done. Much like advertising, sustainability is an ever-evolving field, with constantly-shifting targets. In January 2023, W+K opened its tenth office in Mexico City, which will begin the B Corp process after one year of business, in line with B Corp protocol. “The B Corp certification process drove us to expand our sustainability goals and identify new areas where we could improve,” says Purdy. “Today, three of our offices run on renewable energy and we're planning on decarbonising all of our buildings within the next few years. This is just the start of things to come—it’s been a really empowering and exciting process.”