PARIS: Havas, perhaps conscious that ad agency hot air could be a major contributor to global warming, last year signed to a programme of carbon emission reduction and has now been awarded ZeroCO2 certification for its efforts.

The French-headquartered marketing services giant - fifth in the world league table - claims to be the first global communications group to become carbon neutral across six of its key markets, France, India, Mexico, Spain, UK and the USA.

This marks the first step in the firm's commitment to greener working practices, having reached a neutral carbon assessment last year by calculating and compensating for its principal carbon emissions.

Certification criteria include business trips, use of paper and consumption of gas and electricity - which in Havas' case equated to 32,382 tonnes of CO2. It aims to achieve a 20% cut in that figure by 2009.

"Not only will Havas be directly contributing to reducing CO2 emissions," says the firm, "we also hope our programme to promote this shift towards a more responsible and environmentally friendly culture will benefit our clients, shareholders and teams."

As part of its carbon offset programme, Havas is to invest in protecting standing forests and their biodiversity. It will also create new forest ecosystems through three projects located in Latin America, Asia and Africa respectively.

ZeroCO2 certification is granted by FundaciĆ³ Natura in Barcelona, Spain and Tour du Valat in Arles, France - two respected European non-profit ecological organizations.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff