Cultivate, captivate, change: Guide to climate crisis comms

As the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26 draws to a close, the commitments that have been made and the key climate agreement ‘Cover Decision’ will require decisive and swift global action.

The climate crisis is already having profound and far-reaching consequences for communities, organisations, and industries across the world. Clarity in communicating the action required now to tackle it is critical.

We all need to rise to the challenges faced. Governments must act on pledges promised to tackle deforestation, cut emissions, and reduce use of coal and other fossil fuels. Organisations should extend and share their environmental strategies and behaviour changes will be needed from individuals.

Experts repeatedly indicate that the climate crisis is a far bigger global problem than coronavirus and that it will require decisive measures from us all. So how can we communicate the steps that need to be taken to collectively combat it?

  • Share messages that resonate

Whilst guidance needs to be clear and consistent, messages should be tailored for different stakeholders, markets, countries and cultures. Think about who is receiving your information, and what matters to them. How will climate change impact their lives?

It’s important to find ways of interpreting and translating scientific and technical information in engaging ways. Taking a more empathetic and personal tone will increase the likelihood of your story being understood by stakeholders, and will decrease if messages are too complex. What are the benefits to people to become engaged in the issue? How can they be inspired with stories of positive action?

  • Interact and engage

While the printed word in trade journals, newspapers and consumer magazines is valuable to share key messages and opinions, digital interaction will help build wider relationships and invite dialogue. Use captivating ways to convey compelling content, including social media, short video, animations, podcasts, infographics and short online ‘how to’ guides. Community relations can also help to build trust and relationships within local areas.

  • Lead, don’t mislead

There is a heightened interest in green issues across all society. Unfortunately, this has also led to greenwashing, whereby false or misleading environmental claims are made. In fact, this year’s annual global sweep of websites by The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network found that 40% of firms’ green claims could be misleading.

Trust and authenticity on climate change are essential. In its annual global update at the COP26 climate talks, Climate Action Tracker warned there is a significant credibility, action and commitment gap from leaders and governments. Words need to be backed up with action.

If you’d like to hear more about how we can help your organisation to communicate compelling content and advice on climate action, please get in touch