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OOH Executive Insights: Burr Smith on Broadsign’s commitment to sustainability

In this installment of our OOH Executive Insights series, Broadsign’s CEO Burr Smith shares his thoughts on the importance of sustainability and some of the steps Broadsign is taking to become a sustainability leader in out-of-home.

A little time off around the holidays, besides being a nice way to recharge, also provides a good opportunity for reflection on the progress we’ve made and a look ahead at the progress still to come. Fortunately, 2022 was a good year for us at Broadsign, and 2023 promises to be a special year for the business as well. 

One reason for that is that 2023 will mark a new milestone for our company. In 2023, we are pledging to reduce and offset our carbon footprint, and we will continue to do so for every year to come. We are committed to this because we understand the climate crisis is one of the most significant challenges facing the world and we all, individuals and businesses as well as governments, must do more to make our future brighter.

I believe this is the right thing to do. I don’t think it’s fair to take actions that pollute and then do nothing to address the cost that imposes on other people. I don’t want to leave future generations, including my grandkids, worse off because nobody cared enough to try and make things better today. There are things we can do to address the climate crisis, and so we should do them, because that’s what is right.

To be fully honest, we probably should have taken this step earlier. Running a business, there are a lot of things to take care of and many significant challenges to address and overcome. The work required to make a serious commitment to sustainability just demanded more resources than we could spare until the past year or so. It is important to all of us at Broadsign, though, that we get this right, and so we are very pleased that we have finally been able to give this matter the attention it deserves.

Over the course of this year, we have been working hard with a team of experts to properly understand the carbon footprint we generate in the course of doing business, as well as which of our services and activities are responsible for most of our emissions. It takes a fair bit of time to do - and disruptions from COVID certainly made modeling more of a challenge than it would normally be - but we’ve gotten to the point where we feel quite confident in the accuracy of our numbers and are now beginning to take action.

I know talk is cheap, especially when it comes to this subject. Anyone can proclaim that they’re making their business more sustainable and then do nothing of substance to back it up. We’re still ironing out some of the details so that we can do as good of a job as possible, so I won’t share our footprint analysis or reduction plan at this time. Please expect to see more details from us in Q2, and for our plan to include a mixture of reductions in emissions where possible and the purchasing of offsets where it is not. I just wanted to take this opportunity to share some good news with you all to kick off this year.

I also know that sustainability has become a topic of importance for the out-of-home industry in general. We’re excited to share what we have learned in the course of our work on this project, to advocate for more sustainable practices, and to otherwise help other companies in our space to do more in their own right. Making out-of-home advertising more sustainable is a challenge we will all need to take on together.

I hope this news is welcome news, and I look forward to hearing from any of you who want to discuss this in more detail. On behalf of everyone at Broadsign, please accept my best wishes for a good start to the new year. We're excited to make great things happen with you in 2023.