Why the creative industry must shape opinions on climate change
Why the creative industry must shape opinions on climate change
A view from Louise Jorden

Why the creative industry must shape opinions on climate change

In the week that world leaders hold talks on climate change for #cop21, Louise Jorden, creative director at Rufus Leonard, and co-founder of Beautiful Corporations, Rufus' embedded digital sustainability consultancy, unpicks what the marketing and creative community can do to move the agenda forward.

What’s important now, in the week that world leaders hold talks on climate change in Paris, is that we show as a wider industry that we really do care

Sustainability and climate change have been bubbling away as issues in our industry for the past 20 years.

What’s important now, in the week that world leaders hold talks on climate change in Paris, is that we show as a wider industry that we really do care. There’s no excuse for any of us not to.

Fifteen years ago I was involved with the launch of the ‘Carbon Disclosure Project’ (CDP), a UK organization that now works with 3,000 of the world’s largest corporations to ensure emissions reduction is central to their business.

Since then the focus has been placed on recycling, printing less, saving energy, boycotting spray mount, all the right day-to-day stuff. This will, of course, have made a difference but it is now time to care on a much bigger scale.

We get off on crafting beautiful Nike campaigns and John Lewis ads that make our audiences drool but we have a huge responsibility to make sure we are applying the same kind of passion to presenting the messaging about climate change

The creative industries have a huge and powerful role to play in shaping opinion – and now we need to help impress how critical addressing climate change is for humankind.  We get off on crafting beautiful Nike campaigns and John Lewis ads that make our audiences drool but we have a huge responsibility to make sure we are applying the same kind of passion to presenting the messaging about climate change.

Digital has clearly revolutionised our industry and plays a key part in helping us to help each other change our carbon hungry ways. Such as encouraging Shell to scrap its chunky brand guidelines documents for a much lighter CD Rom.

Ten years ago I worked with Linden Lab on its virtual world platform ‘Second Life’ to create new virtual ways of working – building global tools for corporations that would limit the need for massive travel expenses and flight. One Intel conference saved over 250,000 air miles, 9,600 hours of executive family time and over 50,000 CO2 emissions – it showed me the future. 

Two years ago, building on the Beautiful Corporations book co-written by Rufus CEO and founder Neil Svensen and CDP founder and chairman Paul Dickinson, saw the launch of the Beautiful Corporations consultancy. The mission hasn’t been confined to work on niche projects, but has extended to the broader scope of brands’ corporate social responsibility work, encompassing diversity, community, employment and procurement.

From this experience, there are two mantras to pass on that should prove valuable to marketers and their agencies:

  • Focus your work on deep insights that help brands achieve better CSR outcomes

  • Work hard to shift our industry to one that communicates, visualises and delivers all aspects of the Climate Change debate and what it will mean for the world

There are some excellent examples of responsible businesses embracing this approach on the NAZCA website. A series of follow-up talks to follow Paris COP21 are also planned. These will examine in more detail the fallout of the negotiations and what impact this will have on creativity, our clients and business leaders. Hope to see you there! Viva La Climate! #cop21 #wewill