Challenge: In spite of storied history and impressive track record of delivering independent and scientifically significant reports since 2005, the general public’s attitude of the importance of ‘climate change’ and ‘climate science’ has been on the decline in Australia in recent years. This, coupled with a rise in the politicisation of the issue during an election year, led to a situation where The Climate Institute was having an increasingly difficult time mobilising stakeholder groups and convincing the general public of the importance of taking small actions to achieve a more sustainable and less-carbon dependent economy. And because the organisation is so focused on producing world-class scientific research, they weren’t in a position to be able to allocate resources to ensure their communications efforts were adapting to an ever-increasing social and digital communications model.
Strategy: Ogilvy Public Relations has supported The Climate Institute through a strategic communications partnership for the past several years, offering the Institute an integrated team that spans their media, policy, communications, and events activities. In 2013, Ogilvy recognised that one of the critical areas where The Climate Institute was most vulnerable was across its digital and social media efforts. To ensure that a series of upcoming Institute report releases and high-profile events were strongly attended, by both the general public as well as relevant climate stakeholders across government and industry, the Social@Ogilvy team embarked on a two-pronged strategy to better understand the social listening related to climate change in Australia (and how to best position The Climate Institute to participate in those conversations) and to develop a targeted influencer strategy that could greatly amplify the Institute’s thought leadership and positioning.
Results: Across a four month period (between mid-August 2013 and mid-January 2014), the Social@Ogilvy team worked closely with The Climate Institute to develop and execute two separate live events, that were also amplified in real-time via social media. The first event, dubbed “Climate of the Nation”, served as a mini-debate to take advantage of the impeding election and featured renown climatologist Dr. Graeme Pearman and researcher John Scales on 29th of August. The event was moderated by The Climate Institute CEO John Connor. In addition to the max capacity 85 attendees that joined in person (media, bloggers, government policy makers), the event was live-broadcast on twitter where questions were sourced from the platform and photos were shared in real-time. The #ClimateNation hashtag was used approximately 360 times during the 60-minute event and reached approximately 415,203 Australian twitter users (approximately 20% of the entire Australian twitter community at the time). The event’s social footprint was so successful that morning that the hastag was trending across Sydney for the majority of the morning. In addition to the Climate of the Nation Event, social@ogilvy also partnered with the Institute to run another event focusing on sustainable investment in the Australian Superannuation sector. During that 60 minute session, the Institute reached over 312,000 twitter users through 182 mentions of the #ClimateSmartSuper hashtag. Overall, twitter has proved to be an effective channel for The Climate Institute in reaching and engaging new audiences. On top of simple growth of the account, there has been a positive shift in sentiment and engagement as well. During the four month period, the twitter channel grew approximately 19.5% from 6775 ‘followers’ in August to 8093 in February.
Challenge: The CDP Australia and New Zealand Climate Change Report 2012 analyses climate change disclosures made by ASX200 and NZX50 companies through the CDP to its 655 institutional investor signatories with US$78 trillion in assets. These companies represented 85% and 91% of the total market capitalisations of the ASX200 and NZX50 respectively.
This annual report, written by Deloitte Australia, provides an annual update on greenhouse gas emissions data and climate change strategies at the largest listed companies in Australia and NZ.
OgilvyEarth was briefed to develop and execute a communications strategy which placed the key findings in mainstream news media.
Strategy: The report was scheduled to be launched at Carbon Expo Australasia in Melbourne so OgilvyEarth worked to leverage interest in the event and align the results of the report with broader environmental issues in the current news agenda.
OgilvyEarth identified and targeted key business and environment writers and offered embargoed interview opportunities with James Day, CDP’s Director for Australia & New Zealand, in the lead up to the launch in order to maximise launch day coverage.
Immediately following the launch event, OgilvyEarth issued a press release announcing the results of the report and continued to reach out to key media, offering media interview opportunities and byline articles written by James.
Results: The coverage achieved for the CDP Australia and New Zealand Climate Change Report 2012 was the most coverage received for any CDP Australia and New Zealand report to date.
OgilvyEarth achieved a total of 110 pieces of coverage for the report in key print, radio, broadcast and online publications including the Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Canberra Times, ABC News Online, ABC 702 Sydney, Sky News, and Climate Spectator.
When a group of 300 companies operating across the Australian economy, including Westpac, GE, and IKEA, wanted to communicate their support for carbon pricing they contacted OgilvyEarth. We had 72 hours to come up with a media strategy that would give profile to the group, Businesses for a Clean Economy. The timing of the public relations campaign – on the eve of historic climate change legislation being introduced – meant there was strong competition for media space, but great opportunities if the right strategy was employed.
Drawing on experts across Ogilvy Public Relations’ network, we created tailored content and took a strategic approach to media engagement, including holding a press conference that was streamed live on ABC News 24 and Sky News. We also set up a media tracking team, including social media experts, who monitored and responded to developments as the day unfolded.
The result was over 210 pieces of overwhelmingly positive press coverage, including:
- Front page coverage of the group’s position (SMH and AFR)
- Coverage on all major national television news programs
- Reference to the group by the Prime Minister
- 70 radio clips
- 115 articles online
- Retweets that reached over 200,000 followers
Best of all, as a result of the coverage, a further 88 companies joined the group (a 29% increase in membership) adding their support for positive action on climate change.
OgilvyEarth has been a proud Major Climate Partner of The Climate Institute (TCI) since March 2010, supporting TCI’s vision for Australia to lead the world in clean technology use and innovation. Part of our contribution to this partnership is supporting the TCI team with strategic communications planning and media outreach.
This year, OgilvyEarth has had the pleasure of being involved in the promotion of a number of world first initiatives led by TCI, including the launch of the Climate Advocacy Fund – a joint initiative with Australian Ethical Investment. The Fund works on the ‘power in numbers’ principle to influence Australia’s biggest companies to better manage climate change risk through constructive engagement and the provision of Australia’s first climate change shareholder resolutions. The Fund gives shareholders the opportunity to positively shape corporate behaviour in relation to sustainability. Media interest in the Fund has been positive, with stories reported by The AFR, The Age, SMH, Business Spectator and ABC News.
More recently, TCI in conjunction with Vivid Economics launched a pioneering research report that compares Australia’s efforts in driving carbon pricing within the electricity sector against its major trading partners China, US, UK, Japan and South Korea.
The report, titled “Putting a Price Tag on Pollution: Driving Competitiveness in the Clean Energy Economy”, revealed for the first time that Australia is lagging significantly behind its major trading partners in putting a price on carbon, therefore dispelling the myth Australia is at risk of leading the world and ‘acting too soon’ in making businesses responsible for pollution.
To maximise media coverage of the report, an interactive media release (IMR) was used in place of a traditional media release. The IMR featured the announcement of the report, links to an executive summary and the full report, an infographic, video interviews with two key spokespersons, and links to TCI social media platforms.
Media coverage of the report has been phenomenal with over 170 pieces of coverage appearing on the day of launch, including local stories in the AFR, SMH, ABC News and The Economist. The report has also attracted international coverage in the UK, US and China. The IMR drove a great response online, both from the media and international government staff and policy makers. Numerous bloggers posted links to the IMR and infographic, there were over 1260 views of the infographic on Flickr and over 345 views of the YouTube videos.
The report has been recognised by industry experts as an important piece of work which uncovers where Australia really stands on the issue of carbon pricing:
Dr Martin Parkinson, Secretary of the Department of Climate Change: “Vivid and the Climate Institute are to be congratulated for attempting to quantify the implicit carbon price imposed by policies to reduce emissions”
Heather Ridout, CEO Australian Industry Group: “I think it really does attack that idea that Australia was going to go it alone, that was a straw man and it’s been shown to be one.”
Professor Ross Garnaut: “The Climate Institute analysis was a very good first step that probably underplayed how far Australia was behind China and the US.”
Our team at OgilvyEarth continues to support the great work TCI is doing to make clean and low carbon a part of our everyday life.
There is an ever increasing demand from a diverse range of stakeholders for companies and their employees to go about business in an increasingly responsible manner. However engaging employees in an internal environmental sustainability strategy and maintaining momentum can be challenging. Organisations consistently face the same questions – how do you get employees to see the link between the company’s environmental performance and their individual actions? What needs to be done to make a difference? Who needs to be involved? Where do we start? How do we convince them this is not extra work, just a more responsible way of going about our business?
Bayer Australia and New Zealand is one organisation that, working in partnership with OgilvyEarth, has successfully designed and implemented an internal environmental sustainability communication program. Bayer’s employees are engaged, empowered and motivated to make a difference and are provided with the tools, resources and support required to be part of the solution to improving Bayer’s sustainability.
So how did they do it?
Made up of multiple elements, the B-Green program rollout inspired employees to make a difference, reinforcing throughout communication “lots of small changes x 850 employees + family + friends = big change”. There were three things Bayer wanted their employees to do – Consider the environment in everything they do, take personal responsibility for their actions and embed care for the environment as part of their every day. This led to the development of the B-Green charter – “Think.Act.Live.”
The B-Green program provided employees with educational tools and resources to understand what daily actions they can take not only at work but at home as well , such as printing smarter and considering what can be re-used even before recycling; and what positive effects this leads to in the bigger picture.
Initial research had identified the need for leadership to demonstrate their personal commitment and support, so Bayer’s leadership team were actively involved from day one and continue to play an important role in communicating sustainability as a business imperative.
Bayer set specific reduction targets for their Australia and New Zealand operations and regularly measures and informs employees of progress.
Bayer Australia and New Zealand’s environmental performance has significantly improved.
Employees have taken up the challenge to make a change, providing a comprehensive list of their own ideas on what could be done to improve sustainability based on their first hand experiences in their role and area of the business; and the program continues to be an ongoing part of life at Bayer.
As just reward for their efforts, the B-Green campaign has won a prestigious internal global award for Bayer Australia and New Zealand, the “Bayer Award for Excellence in Communications – Employee Communications”. This is an international award with more than 800 submissions.
Just goes to show that employees are a big part of the solution. Remember – lots of small changes x lots of people = big change!
Woolworths Limited wanted to enhance its existing sustainability strategy by engaging employees (across its 3,000 sites) to undertake positive behaviours that would reduce the company’s environmental impact. The communication challenge presented to OgilvyEarth was significant – 85% of Woolworth’s 188,000 employees had limited or no access to company intranet or email. A strategy session was held with key stakeholders around the creation of peer influencers, since named ‘Eco Ambassadors’, that could champion ideas and help develop a greater awareness of the everyday actions that could be taken. The Eco Ambassadors were trained via a half-day workshop, where they were equipped with everything they needed to make a difference. During the workshops, participants were taken through the challenges and engaged to play a part in delivering solutions. By highlighting Woolworths’ commitment to sustainability, the workshops equipped participants with tools and action plans to support their roles as mentors. Ultimately, this enabled them to act not only as a source of information and inspiration for other employees, but as a conduit for company-wide communication.