E Co. attends Creatives for Climate Summit in Amsterdam

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E Co. attends the Creatives for Climate summit in Amsterdam

Here at E Co., we’re consistently looking at how we can better communicate the urgency and importance of climate adaptation and mitigation projects as part of our wider climate communications strategy. These projects that we design and help to implement are the ultimate goal of the climate finance sector—utilising the money available in a way that provides climate benefits for vulnerable communities in areas around the globe.

On Thursday 10 November, we took the train from London to Amsterdam to take part in the summit held by Creatives for Climate all about how we can better communicate climate change to both fellow professionals, clients, the public and climate movers and shakers. Here’s what we learned.

Who are Creatives for Climate?

Creatives for Climate are a non-profit intelligence network of ‘storytellers and sustainability experts’ who are working to communicate the climate crisis and tackle greenwashing in their respective fields. Using creativity to drive change, Creatives for Climate are building a cross-sector collective who are learning and collaborating in order to better influence the narrative around climate change in a positive way.

Their positioning is best described by Kate Orme, the Programme director for Creatives for Climate, who states:

“Powerful climate communications are what is needed to move the needle on the ecological emergency – but this requires a complex and ever-changing skill set not widely taught or championed. Creatives for Climate is here to bridge this resource gap.”

What was the Creatives for Climate Summit?

Running alongside COP27, the Creatives for Climate Summit in Amsterdam was an opportunity for professionals from many sectors to come together and connect around their roles as solutionists and storytellers. Attendants had backgrounds as activists, policy-makers, in NGO spheres, and as communication strategists (amongst many others).

The event was moderated by Jelani Isaacs from New Film Amsterdam and Lucy von Sturmer, the Creatives for Climate director, who brought together eight speakers from a variety of backgrounds to talk about how communication can be used to not only accelerate crucial climate development work, but also combat the presence of greenwashing in and around the private sector.

The event was held in the beautiful canal-side clubhouse of Equals Amsterdam, which is an organisation dedicated to empowering all women, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people within the workforce.

You can watch the video from their 2019 Amsterdam summit here:

The speakers

Featured speakers included:

But not only those few got to speak. At the point of the Q&A, the audience was given the opportunity to input their opinions and provide answers to any questions that had been spoken.

Learnings from the Summit

The main crux of the night was to discover different ways to communicate, both within the environmental sector and beyond, and regarding environmental issues. One question asked during the night was:

              “How do we speak to others that are not already part of the conversation?”

This is an important question to ask, as time and time again those in the environmental sector see their ideas and projects falling flat because the recipients don’t necessarily understand the language being used.

E Co.’s specific position differs slightly from this. Essentially, as an organisation, we are already speaking to the converted. Those parties that are looking to implement new adaptation and development projects understand the issues being faced, but are still looking for the empathy and integrity that you find within mainstream climate communications.

Additionally, communication has to come from a point of inclusivity. The adaptation and mitigation projects we help to design here at E Co. are grounded in this concept. If a project is unable to find benefits for everyone within a target community, then it’s back to the drawing board. When adaptation or mitigation strategy is structured from the bottom up, with delicate, precise analysis of the root causes of local environmental challenges being utilised to facilitate lasting change, then you can include the wants and needs of the most vulnerable from the very beginning. Successful, accurate, trustworthy communication works from the same basis.

climate communication

The event took a strong stance against corporate greenwashing and, by virtue of that, any work done within the environmental sector that does not create tangible benefits for the at-risk. From a climate communications standpoint, this is vital. Two main points were raised on how this can be done:

  1. When it comes to any form of climate analysis or communication, provide unbiased, genuine data. This should come across within any form of content, bid development to social media content. When working with clients, this should be the baseline approach to any communications, because transparency and consistency are tools through which we achieve sustainable development.
  2. Switch to a collaborative mindset. This means switching from a competitive mindset to one in which the only goal is to secure results for the communities in question.

It boiled down to a key tenet that applies across sectors—the most leverage you have is to not work with somebody.

The importance of communication for climate adaptation and mitigation projects

Without successful, accessible and pragmatic communications, adaptation and mitigation projects are highly unlikely to be implemented to their full potential. Here’s E Co.’s Head of Marketing & Communications Mariella de Souza-Baker speaking on the importance of communication within our line of work.

Mariella speaks on the importance of building a foundation of trust and open communication, which complements our work as consultants. “It’s a constant investigation of being able to empathise with our global community and ultimately finding ways in which we can connect and collaborate for our wider collective mission.”

What was apparent during the Creatives for Climate Summit is that communication is often seen as a by-product or a secondary feature of climate development work, when in fact it is the binding agent that brings everything together, from stakeholders to consultants, from analysis to implementation.

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