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Becoming digitally sustainable

Audio article-

We all know we each need to do our bit for the environment, whether it’s picking up litter on a beach stroll or taking your own shopping bag to the shops. The latter is not only good for the environment, but it also saves you money on every shop. Bonus! 

It all seems so obvious and simple in 2022, and if you plan your shopping trips, as I do, should be able to implement this in every shop, saving approx 50p per visit. You also should now have more cupboard space for snacks as they are now not stuffed-full of single-use bags! 

But how can brands make their digital more sustainable, and what benefits could come from it? 

Various vegetables in reusable bags

CMG have implemented a digitally sustainable mindset for clients since our inception in 2001, with remarkable results that go way beyond a social box tick exercise. For example, for one of our global clients, we reduced their global digital costs by an incredible £1.3m through marketing efficiencies in 2018 and a further £10m in 2019/20. Some of the processes are very simple, some are more complicated, and most are not very exciting, but just like shopping with the groceries ‘bag for life’, it just takes a bit of planning. 

Savings should not be at the expense of quality and effectiveness. 

With fast lane solutions and slow lane more strategic activities, we increased brand and messaging consistency across all markets (in this case, 70). We were still able to localize global brand messaging through transcreation (where we not just translate the creative into the local language but ensure that it works and includes local nuances, etc.) 

We look for efficiencies in all our clients and projects, irrespective of size. For example, can we reuse existing photo or video assets rather than create brand-new ones from scratch? We actually have a full photo and video editing suite in-house and the staff to operate it, but if we can reduce the clients’ bills by cleverly reusing existing assets, we do. Of course, if we need to shoot for a brand-new product or campaign, we deliver, but we ensure the local markets or hyper-local retailers don’t have to create their own versions, which are often not on brand. 

With 3D, we can switch the product packaging text on TV-quality video from english to Spanish with a click of a button, with zero errors or loss of quality. Have you seen those TV adverts where the brand has clearly just dubbed over a foreign actor’s voice? We don’t do that! 

Camera lenses next to a disco ball

Employing a digital sustainability mindset will clearly help brands achieve sustainable business operations, which is great as a project in its own right, but for the Marketing Directors and Procurement Heads that employ us, linking this with generally excellent digital can be commercially transformational. 


I actually live by a beach. On one of my walks I spotted a discarded plastic cup on a walk the other day. There was no way I could turn a blind eye to it, so I picked it up and dropped it in the bin on the way home. In the past, I may not have picked it up, thinking that “someone else will do it”, but that one cup made me feel good, and moving forward, I will actively look for rubbish on all of my beach walks.  Matt Steel, Director CMG Digital