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The climate emergency: it’s reshaping communications

By Sophie Morello
29 January 2020

By Sophie Morello

As we come to the end of January and reflect on the intense debate and coverage on the climate crisis, you get a real sense that there’s genuine willingness to make 2020 the ‘year to save the planet,’ or at least that the volume on how we tackle climate change has been dialled up and is set to remain that way.  

We’ve seen major corporates announce radical plans to clean up their act, including Microsoft promising to be carbon negative in ten years and Blackrock divesting from coal. Davos 2020 focused on sustainability with Greta Thunberg urging world leaders and businesses to immediately end all fossil fuel investment. Meanwhile, Prince Charles said we need to reshape our economies and markets so they are sustainable, announcing his Sustainable Markets Initiative and Council.

With momentum for change building, the media are also dedicating more space and resource to the issue. For example, the BBC recently launched Our Planet Matters, encompassing a year-long series of special programming and coverage on climate change. Last week’s instalment saw Chris Packham take us on a harrowing tour across the globe looking at how the rising population is stripping the world of its resources while emitting ever rising levels of CO2 in the process. It’s worth a watch and there are some small glimmers of hope...! Also, Bloomberg has launched Bloomberg Green, which is set to expand the newswire's coverage of climate change and the environment, and the FT reported earlier this month that the readership of its new Moral Money series is soaring, with the open rate of its newsletter going “through the roof”.

The change in conversation on the climate emergency is not a flash in the pan, this is a wholesale shift in how governments, companies and consumer behaviour are being judged and reported on. For corporates, this means that they will become increasingly exposed to media scrutiny of their ESG credentials and it will become more and more difficult to cut through all the ‘noise’ in this ever crowded space. However, while all of this presents new communications challenges it presents huge opportunities too, and more importantly it will change business for the better.