26 Jul 2020 - 06 Nov 2021
Condé Nast Spain Sustainability Case Study
November 2019
Copyright © Txema Yeste for Vogue Spain
Environmental Background
Today, Spain is a habitat of more than 8,000 plant species, and forests cover around 30% of its land territory. The most important environmental threats are those derived from deforestation (fires), erosion, desertification and the pollution of river waters.
Spain is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. An average summer lasts four weeks longer than it did in 1980. Real changes are taking place, which puts Spain at the forefront of environmental concern.
Young generations are leading an ecological revolution, in which technology, social media, and new patterns of consumption play a key role. A revolution that, in a rapidly changing world, entail economic and social changes.
Condé Nast Spain
Condé Nast Spain has always been committed to being a social agent of its time. Its influence on culture and lifestyle is aimed at the construction of an ethical and beautiful world.
In 2007, the climate change concern was part of the public agenda, but according to the 2007 CIS (Sociological Research Center) Survey on Ecology and the Environment, more than half of Spaniards consider themselves barely informed about environmental issues.
In that year, the former CEO of Condé Nast Spain, Javier Pascual del Olmo, promoted the idea of actively developing a pioneering corporate strategy to tackle the threat of global warming, not only through information as a media, but also by taking action as a company.
Regulatory Background
The UN Global Compact
The UN Global Compact, announced in 1999, is a global regulation that sets the standard for sustainable business behavior in the private sector, and is the largest voluntary corporate social responsibility initiative in the world.
It is based on 10 universal principles. Principles 7, 8 and 9 are dedicated to the environment:
  1. "Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges“
  2. "Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility“
  3. "Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies" Companies that join the Global Compact undertake the commitment to implement CSR policies based on these principles.
That was the starting point for Condé Nast Spain. Through the development of those policies, the company became part of the world's largest initiative for corporate sustainability.
The UN Agenda 2030
In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and set up the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global call for action to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.
They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
This UN initiative acts like a catalyst for the efforts of companies and organizations. It implies a paradigm of action and collaboration on behalf of the responsible entities, and is the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
Through this regulatory framework, Condé Nast Spain aligns its business strategy with the UN Global Compact and Agenda 2030.
Challenges and Objectives
In order to achieve the UN’s 13th Sustainable Development Goal (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts), Condé Nast Spain has developed the following initiatives:
  1. Carbon Footprint Compensation
  2. Develop an Environmental Management System: ISO 14.001:15
Phase 1 - Making a Strategy
Based on this analysis, Condé Nast Spain developed a strategy to offset its carbon footprint, which in turn lead to the organisation becoming the first Spanish media company, as well as the first within the Condé Nast group, to do so.
To achieve this, Condé Nast Spain outlined the following as starting points: a) The tons of CO2 emitted by a company to be offset through existing projects in the Carbon Markets. b) Kyoto Protocol does not oblige developing countries to reduce their emissions, while industrialized countries do have to meet specific objectives that can be achieved by reducing emissions in other countries. c) Thus, industrialized countries can implement a project to reduce emissions in developing countries. These projects can be:
i. Reforestation ii. Energy efficiency iii. Renewable energy
Phase 2 - Compensation Objective: Zero CO2 Label
Phase 3 - Compensation Reforestation Projects
Condé Nast Spain set out to neutralize its carbon footprint impact through compensation projects of the Zero CO2 initiative promoted by certificated NGOs (ECODES, UN, etc).
2. Developing a Continuous Environmental Management System
Standard ISO 14.001
Condé Nast Spain has developed its own Environmental Management System, certified by ISO 14.001: 2015, to take responsibility for the consumption of natural resources, and to complement the UN’s 13th Sustainable Development Goal of action against climate change.
Characteristics of the ISO 14.001 standard:
The Green Seal
The objective of developing these policies is to obtain the certification of the EMS.
The environmental seal for the products offered by the organization to its customers, demonstrating compliance with the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard, is known as the "green seal".
Condé Nast Spain won the green seal in 2012 and, since then, its brands have included it across their mastheads as a symbol of the organisation’s environmental commitment.
Operational control: This means constructing and combining processes to ensure that there is total operational control over the organisation’s sustainable practices.
These methods of defining and implementing controls include:
Analysis of context, risks and opportunities
Business plan for prevention & internal audit:
Procedure of environmental emergencies
Supervision and information to suppliers, collaborators and subcontractors, regarding the importance of compliance with its Quality and Environmental policy
Operational initiatives:
Internal and external awareness campaigns:
Editorial standards and initiatives:
Establishing an internal policy to foster the editorial team’s awareness of the interest, relevance and timeliness of sustainably focussed content.
As part of Condé Nast Spain’s editorial policy, every team must be committed to developing sustainability-related content, from articles to special “Green Issues”.
Developing active protocols that respect environmental requirements in content production:
Paper use and treatment:
Following the internal awareness campaign, staff agitated for environmental initiatives and projects, so they could play an active role in changing the conversation around sustainability and responsible resource consumption.
Other concrete goals achieved:
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