Smoke Signal, A Public Relations Podcast

A Public Relations Podcast - Smoke Signal Episode 37 - PR & the climate crisis

August 08, 2022 Laura Sutherland Season 3 Episode 37
Smoke Signal, A Public Relations Podcast
A Public Relations Podcast - Smoke Signal Episode 37 - PR & the climate crisis
Show Notes

In this episode we are tackling the climate crisis. 

We are six months on from COP26, where the outcome didn’t match the hype. Australia’s State of the Environment report has just been released and generated world headlines for the grim picture it painted and the environmental challenges facing Australia. And we are seeing an energy crisis globally as we struggle to agree how to a transition to renewables.

Against this backdrop we take a timely and much needed deep dive into the role of the PR industry in helping to inform, educate and navigate this global climate crisis.

Joining me in this episode is UK -based practitioner Laura Sutherland. Laura has over a decade experience working in the sustainability, environment and climate sector and is founder of Aura Advisory, a strategic communication and advisory consultancy dedicated to helping organisations accelerate to a sustainable future.

Laura is also a member of the UK industry body PRCA’s Climate Misinformation and Climate Change Strategy Group which has just released its second annual research report exploring the attitudes and perceptions of practitioners – as well as consumers - towards the climate crisis.

The research confirms that climate, environmental and ESG issues are quickly becoming an increasing part of our role as strategic communicators:

  • More than 9 out of ten (96%) of PR professionals now advise their clients and colleagues to understand the climate crisis and how they can effectively communicate the part they play - up from 82% last year
  • Almost half (45%) have noticed their clients or organisation attempting to greenwash, however 89% have pushed back on this and 57% managed to change the approach as a result
  • Almost all (97%) said they have taken action to address the climate crisis but only 48% measure their carbon footprint
  • 71% of consumers say they would stop buying from a brand if they knew it had misled its customers about having a positive environmental impact
  • 57% of the general public don’t know the outcome of COP26 and a third (33%) felt the agreements made at the conference didn’t affect them

There are so many aspects of climate change and in this discussion we get into a range of areas: the ethics of working for organisations not doing the right thing for the environment; the call for integrating climate change and sustainability within the school syllabus; the risk of professional communicators pushing ‘spin” and getting lost in what Tony Jacques aptly described as “the conga-line of initiatives and their snappy acronyms”; and the role of Government versus business in the climate debate.