By Felicity Carus
The day before the Sustainable Brands 2014 conference in London opened, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its first major report since 2007. At 1,552 pages long, the Synthesis Report is indigestible to all but the most die-hard climate activist, policy wonk or scientist. But its central message boils down to this: We must quit fossil fuels altogether by 2100 or face catastrophe.
This is not news people want to hear; not even sustainability professionals who have flown in from Hong Kong or Israel want to hear it. So, how can we expect the man or woman zooming past the Lancaster Hotel next to Hyde Park to get out of their cars and onto the bus, particularly when it’s raining in London?
The fact is that climate catastrophe is not even news at all. Sure, the world is a different place since the last IPCC report came out in 2007: The U.S. has a climate-changing president; the financial crisis took a chunk of money out of everyone’s pocket; and the momentum for action at the Copenhagen in 2009 has run out of steam despite the frenetic pace of adoption for solar and wind.
But the storytellers — the journalists, the brand strategists and sustainability marketers in this particular sustainability narrative – have failed to connect consumers enough to inspire engagement with this crisis on any significant scale to make a real impact.
Today’s workshop led by Daianna Karaian, senior brand strategist at Futerra, examined effective storytelling because “the connection with brands and consumers was often broken.”
“We look at our customers through market research or reams of data – that’s massively important, but at the end of the day it’s even more important to remember that our customers are real people, just like us.”Click to continue reading »