Submitted by: Sam Upton October 18, 2021
In the lead up to COP26, the climate is one of the most popular subjects in global media, reflecting the heightened public interest in the environment. But what does this mean for the success of your company and your future business choices?
We are now a matter of days away from the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and world leaders, politicians, CEOs, academics, NGOs and activists are gearing up for the most important events for the environment since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.
The importance of the Conference and its outcomes is reflected in the amount of coverage the climate crisis is currently receiving in the media. According to the Media and Climate Change Observatory, which publishes monthly updates of global media attention to climate change, August 2021 was the highest month in more than a decade for coverage of the environmental crisis.
Given that the previous month was officially declared the hottest ever month recorded on Earth, breaking the previous record set in 2016, the increased coverage is a positive sign that the climate crisis is finally gaining traction in the newsrooms of the media. Another positive sign is that consumers are now actively seeking out information and news about the environment to increase their knowledge – and they want more.
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According to a poll by the universities of Yale and George Mason, around three quarters of readers (74%) want to see more attention paid to the climate in the media. And given that the success of all media, whether that’s newspapers, magazines, TV or online, is dependent on people consuming that media, the companies are only too willing to comply.
During the run-up to COP26, most news and magazine brands around the world will be dedicating a lot of column inches to the climate crisis, with many hosting their own events and creating special content. The October issue of Bloomberg Green’s print magazine will feature a dedicated special section on the event, The Economist will publish a special report on what it will take to stabilize the climate, and Marie Claire recently published a guide on COP26, featuring recommendations on how readers can get involved.
Of course, for most publishers, the readers are only part of their revenue stream, with advertising revenue making up the majority. But while many big-name advertisers are very keen to associate their brand with environmental coverage, there are some that see potential problems and could be missing out.
“Topics such as climate change, Covid, Brexit, and US politics are some of the most-read articles that we publish,” said Jo Holdaway, Chief Data and Marketing Officer at The Independent. “For clients wishing to engage with our audience, not communicating to them when they are most active and focused is a missed opportunity.”
Recent research has demonstrated that consumers take the eco-credentials of companies they buy from very seriously. A study by the Capgemini Research Institute found that a significant majority of consumers (79%) are changing their purchase preferences based on sustainability. That shift in behavior directly affects business success, and 77% of companies said that their sustainability approaches increase customer loyalty, with 63% seeing a revenue uptick.
This also extends to a retail business’s packaging choices. A 2020 survey by Two Sides found that nearly half of consumers (48%) are avoiding retailers that are not actively trying to reduce their use of non-recyclable packaging. Meanwhile, a study by Pro Carton found that 75% of European consumers say the environmental impact of a product’s packaging affects their decision-making process, with 77% saying they would pay more for a product if it came in more sustainable packaging.
Whatever business you are in, it’s clear that your company will benefit from making the right choices when it comes to the environment. In the coming months and years, the climate will continue to be a subject people will want to know more about, and they will be looking at your products and processes in close detail to see just how environmentally friendly you are.
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