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Ogilvy & Mather forms sustainability practice

In a strategic move intended to make it easier for clients to access the agency’s experience in sustainability-related issues, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide has expanded its global sustainability practice, unifying multiple offerings into a new entity called OgilvyEarth.

The new cross-discipline practice will be focused on helping businesses deal with the communication of sustainability, from both cultural and business perspectives. The goal is to have OgilvyEarth work alongside the agency’s other areas to provide knowledge and expertise to clients. BP, Yahoo, IBM, Unilever and the Ford Motor Company are a few of the companies that have tapped Ogilvy in the past for sustainability related efforts.

“The way to connect with customers and prospects is through what is most important to them,” said Seth Fabman, worldwide managing director of OgilvyEarth. And sustainability is such an issue. “Whether you are 21 or 51, sustainability is a common interest that allows your messages to be more powerful. You’re not just selling a product, you’re aligning yourself with the consumer based on something a little more emotional.”

Ogilvy had developed some sustainability practices in various regions over the past few years. The creation of OgilvyEarth brings these individual practices all together under a single brand. OgilvyEarth will be headquartered in New York.

“It’s a real competitive advantage to take a look at sustainability globally,” said Fabman, because it is “an inherently global space.”

Supporting the new global practice is a board of directors, including Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, Jeunesse Park, founder and CEO of Food and Trees for Africa, and Ma Jun the environmentalist and researcher who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. Additional board members will be announced next month.

The practice is currently working with the UN to develop a campaign that builds awareness about the landmark United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, where 192 nations will negotiate a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocols for limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

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