Climate Solutions at Work

Marketing

If you’re a marketer, you’re a storyteller—and stories are powerful tools for creating change. By crafting effective campaigns, you can convey the urgency of the climate crisis and move people to action. In your role, you also likely make important decisions around partnerships, which means you can help ensure your business doesn’t promote or work with bad actors (read: fossil fuel and other environment-destroying companies).

To make your marketing job a climate job:

Talking climate within your organization
  • Understand where your company and marketing team stand on climate action and start normalizing the climate conversation. By crafting a new narrative within your own company and team, you can more easily do the same for your customers and clients.
Engaging customers
  • Use your consumer and community ties for climate-related education and action campaigns. (Check out Seventh Generation’s work on climate justice for inspiration.)

  • Find creative ways to nudge consumers to take their own climate action. (Check out this great example from LL Bean and Netflix’s Don’t Look Up action campaign.)

  • If you work in e-commerce, explore opportunities to seamlessly enable consumers to contribute to climate solutions via direct-to-consumer payment processing. (For example, give customers the option to donate to a climate organization at check-out.)

  • Collaborate with and learn from other brands leading on climate to scale the impact of campaigns. (See this example from Walgreens and Volta.)
Production
  • If you work in production, make sure your marketing campaigns and events are low-carbon and circular (e.g., minimize flights, which can often comprise the majority of production emissions; avoid buying new; and source energy from renewables).
Marketing campaigns
  • Use climate-friendly imagery and characters in your advertising (e.g., bikes, mass transit, plant-based meals, etc.).

  • If you’re on the agency side, avoid working with fossil fuel companies and other businesses that prop up the fossil fuel industry—and include climate considerations in your client proposals.

  • If you’re on the client side, choose creative agencies that have robust zero-waste and zero-carbon initiatives, and ask all agencies what they’re doing on sustainability and climate.
Supporting climate policy
  • If you work in PR/communications, collaborate with the government relations team to develop communications strategies and campaigns to publicly support climate legislation. (See this Patagonia example.)
Team travel
  • Minimize carbon-intensive business travel for you and your team, and opt for virtual gatherings. If possible, instead of flying, choose lower-carbon travel options, such as the train.
Fostering dialogue and action
  • Build community with other climate-concerned colleagues within your team and beyond. Come together to brainstorm ways you can take action, and raise your collective concern at team and all-staff meetings.
Ready to take action?Here are some questionsand ideas to help youget started: 

Take stock: Identify your company’s corporate sustainability and climate commitments, if any. Are these goals connected to your team’s goals? Can you integrate the above actions into your company, team, or individual performance objectives? Look at your company’s current marketing policies. Do they consider sustainability and climate? What about production? If your company is already telling a “green” story, is it substantiated by actions? If you work for an agency, does your company take clients that are part of or enable the fossil fuel and other extractive/polluting industries?

Make needed changes yourself or reach out to someone who can: What decision-making power do you have? Can you implement these actions yourself or do you need to raise the issue with a supervisor? Is there anyone with decision-making power already on board with climate action? Or is there someone you might be able to influence? Test the waters by sharing your own interest in climate action with other key colleagues and gauging their response. Consult power-mapping tools for help.

You don’t have to do it alone: Is there anyone else in your department that is also climate-concerned? Join forces to show broad support for integrating climate action into marketing and throughout the organization. Consider writing a letter or petition to leadership, or bringing up your concerns at an all-staff meeting (something that will grab leadership’s attention!).

Need help making the business case? 

If you’re an employee at a company that has climate goals, doing marketing or PR work for a fossil fuel client could cancel out your company’s emissions reductions progress—and attract backlash from clients that expected your company to adhere to its sustainable standards. For example, advertising work that generates a sales increase of just 0.2 percent for a fossil fuel client can “immediately wipe out the impact of [your agency’s] net zero plan.” Further, advertisers and customers are increasingly looking for climate content and products: advertisers are making more requests for climate-related coverage; and Gen Z and Millennial consumers are talking and doing more than other generations to engage with climate action on social media and through personal actions.

Resources 
  • Clean Creatives is an advocacy campaign for those in advertising and public relations to pledge not to take fossil fuel clients.
  • AdGreen helps the advertising industry avoid the environmental impacts of production by providing free resources and tools.

  • Fossil Free Media offers talking points that are incredibly helpful for communicating about climate change

  • Patagonia’s Buy Less, Demand More campaign offers a great example of using marketing to promote a climate-focused campaign.

  • Green the Bid helps those who work in commercial production make their operations and processes more sustainable.

  • The Badvertising campaign aims to stop advertisements for industries causing and exacerbating the climate emergency. (Note: this campaign is UK-focused.)

The Drawdown Labs Job Function Action Guides will help employees understand how their roles are critical in addressing the climate crisis, as well as implement high-impact solutions and navigate key considerations for taking action inside the workplace.

Board of Directors
Strategy
Product
Development
Sustainability
Communications
Partnerships
and Community
Affairs

Please note: This graphic is illustrative of how different teams across a company must work together to achieve strong climate action. We encourage you to examine your organization’s own unique structure to determine how to best coordinate and integrate climate action across functions.

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