WFA launches framework to help marketers lead on climate change challenge
Initiative is designed to put marketers in a position where they can help lead brands’ responses to climate change
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The WFA is urging global marketers to sign up to its new Planet Pledge. The initiative is designed to put marketers in a position where they can help lead brands’ responses to climate change, encourage efforts across the wider marketing industry and help consumers act more sustainably when using their products and services.
The pledge was launched at WFA’s Global Marketer Week and aims to encourage CMOs to take action in four key areas:
- Commit to being a champion for the global Race to Zero campaign both internally within their organisations and to encouraging their marketing supply chain to do the same;
- Scale the capability of marketing organisations to lead for climate action by providing tools and guidance for their marketers and agencies;
- Harness the power of their marketing communications to drive more sustainable consumer behaviours;
- Reinforce a trustworthy marketing environment, where sustainability claims can be easily substantiated so that consumers can trust the marketing messages they are presented with as they seek to align their own consumption with their values.
Progress on all these goals will be reported annually by the WFA. The WFA will also work with advertising standards bodies worldwide and other relevant stakeholders in order to deliver industry guidance that will preserve trust in the evolving language of environmental claims in a way that enables consumers to make sustainable choices with confidence.
The Pledge is designed to amplify existing efforts and direct WFA members and their value chain partners towards them. In addition, it introduces new actions that marketing leaders can initiate and champion, thereby playing a distinct role in support of the transition to net zero.
It may take time for WFA members to sign up, as signing up to Race to Zero is a corporate commitment that extends well beyond marketing. Nevertheless, there is strong support among WFA members for the Pledge, which has been developed alongside CMOs from companies such as Bayer, Danone, Diageo, Dole Packaged Foods, Mastercard, Ørsted, Reckitt, Telefónica, Tesco and Unilever.
Stephan Loerke, WFA CEO: “Marketers have been behind the curve in driving sustainability but now is the time for change. Marketing should be leading the charge in communicating consumer demands for action internally, while also demonstrating to their customers how their company can help them make more sustainable choices. The Planet Pledge aims to embolden senior marketers to become climate champions both within their companies and with consumers at large and become catalysts for positive change.”
Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Mastercard and WFA President: “Marketers have not until now been at the forefront of the sustainability journey within their organisations. But as the ultimate voice of consumers and consumers demanding companies help address the climate emergency, it’s time for marketers to step up and lead. The WFA Planet Pledge is a fantastic framework for empowering senior marketers to help address an issue which is of paramount importance to consumers and society. It makes good business sense while making sure we as an organisation do the right thing. Mastercard for one will be signing up.”
Conny Braams, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, Unilever: “Just as marketing is at the heart of our business, so it must be at the heart of our response to the climate crisis. Our brands have the power to connect emotionally with people all over the world, to help them make sense of that world and provide solutions to the issues they face. With concerns around climate change at an all-time high, marketers have a unique role to play in communicating the benefits of making sustainable choices and adopting sustainable behaviours, truly becoming a force for good in the world as we collectively embark on the Race to Zero.”
Rupen Desai, Global CMO, Dole Packaged Foods: “I am a strong believer that, whether it is purpose, or a more positive view of how business is done in context to people, communities and planet, it has to start and end with building this into the business model. As an organization, if ‘how you make money’ is not aligned with prosperity for people and the planet, it is very difficult to have any significant or sustainable impact.”
Valérie Hernando-Presse, Chief Marketing Officer, Danone Group: “We are in an era of "show me, don't tell me". The more you act, even in a small way, the better. People want to know what you are doing now, not in five years. What matters is not the purpose, but which impact our brands will make on planet, people and health driven by their purpose - It starts with purpose-driven and sustainability savvy brand people.”
Filip Engel, Vice President, Sustainability, Public Affairs, Branding and Marketing, Ørsted: “When we accelerated communication about our sustainability goals to transform from fossil fuels to clean energy, it fuelled and inspired business transformation. By communicating this attractive destination, the future for the company, it inspired the business to accelerate change and helped grow the brand. Communication was one of the key drivers in making the change happen.”
Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer, Tesco: “We’ve shown throughout the pandemic what a critical role businesses like Tesco can play in helping our customers through challenging times. As the issue of climate change becomes increasingly important, we have another vital role to play, ensuring Tesco reduces its impact on the environment, while also inspiring our customers and colleagues to take action themselves. The WFA Planet Pledge provides us with the framework to do this, helping marketers champion the Race to Zero both internally and with consumers.”
Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Champion for COP26: "Marketing has incredible power in creating tangible and exciting visions of ourselves and our future, and in explaining the benefits of this critical transition to a zero carbon world. Given how important climate change is to their business and to our planet, Chief Marketing Officers should quickly become the new climate activists and lead the way in the Race to Zero."
Gail Gallie, Founder of Project 17: "Marketers hold the super power we need to accelerate the actions we need taken at every level- the ability to make the world think and behave differently. This pledge facilitates collective and bold action and I am delighted to be a part of it."