Precis Digital AB
Strong company culture based on values, transparency and good internal communication are key for positive internal and external impact.
Precis Digital is a data-driven digital marketing agency that was founded in 2012 by three former Google employees. Precis aims to help their customers to drive digital growth through innovative thinking and technology. As a company, Precis seeks to combine profit with purpose and positive change. Being aware of the dilemma of being active in an industry that drives consumption, Precis has the mission to advance the next-generation of digital marketing into an industry characterized by sustainability, transparency, and high marketing ethics.
Precis´ goal is to be the most sustainable digital marketing agency in Europe and to contribute to sustainable development for themselves, their industry, and their clients. This is accomplished by three commitments: 1) Precis pursuing sustainability through continuing to reduce their carbon emissions and offsetting all direct emissions, 2) Precis actively seeking out companies that are sustainability leaders and that have business models with a positive impact on society, and 3) by carefully and transparently selecting clients according to sustainability requirements, for example, excluding certain industries such as gambling and non-renewable energy.
Precis has a strong company culture that stresses the importance of diversity, sustainability, and having a positive impact on people, society and the planet.
In 2021, Precis is in the application process for becoming a certified B-Corp.
Precis´ sustainability practices contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
In 2018, Precis started to challenge their thinking about their agency´s wider impact on society and realized that it was much bigger than anticipated. In 2019, the company discovered that they could lower their CO2 emissions by 70%, facilitating the realization that there is more potential for positive impact. The company defined a sustainability strategy, a sustainability policy, five sustainability focus areas, and three sustainability commitments that altogether provide clear guidance to the employees. The sustainability commitments are: ourselves doing it right, grow sustainable business ideas, and sustainability portfolio. For their sustainability work, Precis defined five sustainability focus areas: CO2 reduction, impactful clients, marketing ethics, diversity and inclusion, and financial sustainability. Precis´ ambition is to change the digital marketing industry and create positive societal impact through selecting impactful clients and supporting sustainable business ideas. First, Precis wanted to implement these values into action, especially in terms of CO2 reductions and diversity and inclusion. Financial sustainability was considered as a prerequisite for all sustainability efforts. In order to be a responsible employer, a company needs to be financial stable and resilient, i.e. being able to ensure a long-term view and investments, to remain independent from third party investments, and to sustain potential hard times (e.g. not to furlough any people during the covid pandemic). The company therefore reinvested a large portion of their profit into technology and R&D and built up a significant cash reserve to sustain hard times.
Precis focused on building a strong company culture characterized by transparency, employee well-being, and a focus on good internal communications. Precis dedicated efforts toward fostering a positive environment for their employees. Precis management transparently communicates normative and complex topics with their employees, such as why the management has decided to work with certain clients and what their impact on society is. The low resistance from employees on CO2 reduction measures (e.g. used instead of new company mobile phones, or travelling by public transport instead of taxi) can be regarded as proof of good internal communications and aligned values.
When reflecting on capacities that foster a strong company culture and employee satisfaction, Precis COO identifies the following competences: to be able to deal with normative questions and complex problems, communicate transparently, deal with emotions, show empathy, act authentically and having a good understanding of what the employees are expecting from the company. A prerequisite for this is a value system and an intrinsic interest in engaging with those questions.
Precis Digital AB Practices
Precis Digital conducts sustainability practices in their 5 focus areas CO2 reduction, Impactful clients, Marketing ethics, Diversity & inclusion, Financial Sustainability.
|Practice 1: Low carbon business model with objective to enact positive change in industry||Practice 2: Diverse & inclusive workplace with focus on well-being|
|Clear internal policies (environmental policy, IT & electronics, travel policy), action plans and sustainability commitments with 3 focus areas (electricity, IT products and recycling & waste) that are communicated to all employees and offices. (CO2 reduction)||Define 3 focus areas: 1. senior level & leadership 2. workforce & teams 3. Enable all individuals to thrive|
|Monitoring CO2 footprint: monitor emissions from office heating/ cooling and electricity (CO2 reduction)||Makes sure to have diversity at all levels and groups, e.g. through perspective panels|
|Installs energy saving devices, reuse/ circulare usage of IT equipment, etc. (CO2 reduction)||Defines and monitors KPIs and set up local action plans|
|Organizing conscious office events, conscious purchasing and gifting (CO2 reduction)||Monitors employee satisfaction through employee engagement platform|
|Monitor water usage & install water saving devices (CO2 reduction)|
|Actively seek "sustainable champions" with sustainable business ideas, through e.g. incentives like free consultancy (Impactful clients)|
|Strict sustainability requirement criteria & decision-tree for "high carbon" impact industries and "controversial" industries (Impactful clients)|
|Partnership with equity firms focused on sustainability to support start-ups (Impactful clients)|
|Monitoring and transparent reporting on portfolio companies (Impactful clients)|
|Formulation of marketing ethics: 1. Treat data with integrity 2. Make marketing a positive experience 3. Be transparent, always (Marketing ethics)|
|Try to positively influence big partners that steer the market, e.g. Google (Marketing ethics)|
|Client audit a.o. for privacy, inclusivity and representation (Marketing ethics)|
|Investment in technological solutions & communication that foster transparency (Marketing ethics)|
|Build a significant cash reserve to sustain hard times. (Financial sustainability)|
|Reinvest a large part of profit in technology & R&D (Financial sustainability)|
|Optimize equity structures to secure long-term leadership (Financial sustainability)|
Enabling Factors for Practices
Precis´ sustainability practices are enabled by a number of key actors, policies, resources, and partnerships:
|Internal to the organization||External to the organization|
|Strong leadership skill set that enables management to deal with complexity and normativity, to be able to communicate this in a transparent way to get employees on board with difficult normative question, e.g. which clients to support (e.g. aviation industry yes or no)||Partnership with the impact investment organization Norrsken Foundation to support companies that are doing great things from a sustainability perspective to kind of grow|
|Strong company culture and a management that embodies the culture (authenticity, credibility, trust) in order to keep talent|
|Clear guidance of the employees through internal sustainability policies|
Arresting Factors for Practices
Precis Digital has a number of barriers that hinders or stall growth or progress on their sustainability work:
|Organizational arresting elements||Description|
|Actors||Potentially large players like Google and Facebook could be a hinder in Precis endeavour of improving marketing ethics, as Precis uses these tools and do not have impact on them|
|External factors||Scope 3 emission reduction difficult due to lacking information about emissions|