It’s been almost a month since COP26 kicked off in Glasgow, where we heard Boris Johnson warn our world leaders that we are ‘one minute to midnight on the doomsday clock’ when it comes to making an impact on climate change.

Ahead of COP26, ‘COP comms’ was on every client agenda going. And rightly so; done in the right way, COP26 was an excellent hook on which to hang your comms hat upon.

During the summit there were some real stand-out winners when it came to COP communications; there was Co-op and its Co-op26 rebrand and partnership with ‘Count us In’, The Epilepsy Society’s #TheEnvironmentalIssue and World Animal Protection’s ‘worst toy in the world’ campaign – all brilliantly relevant and creative.

But there were also some losers – none more so than at the conference itself with its last-minute backtracking on pledges and perceptions of generic targets and generic language.

But what has COP26 taught us when it comes to communications?

Take action – COP26 made some much-needed progress on addressing the key climate issues we face globally – whether the necessary action is taken to make change remains to be seen. From a comms perspective, there has been a real shift from ‘talking the talk to walking the walk’. Businesses are keen to share the action they’re taking as we strive for net zero, regardless of how big or small. Factoring this into 2022 plans is a big must.

Transparency is key – One of the key take-outs from COP26 was around ‘green financing’, which has opened a door for more open, honest and transparent actions and conversations. From a comms perspective, being transparent about processes and procedures (and being accountable) is key and comms teams will need to carry this through into thought leadership and comment opportunities from hereon in.

Authenticity is an absolute must – Greenwashing remains a hot topic out of the back of COP26 (what was it Greta Thunberg said?), and ensuring actions are done with authenticity is absolutely vital in ensuring trust. This is also true of communications; particularly when it comes to creative, sustainable campaigns. We’ve seen how effective these can be when done properly, so ensuring they remain credible, authentic and done with purpose will be absolutely key moving forward.

Since COP, there have been mixed reactions to the outcomes of this critically important climate summit; there’s been the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly. The one thing I think we can all agree on, however, is how COP26 has positively encouraged momentum when it comes to taking action – irrespective of how grand or small.

It has changed the language we speak in communications and has positively influenced the way in which we (and our clients) talk about sustainability challenges and goals. A more forward-thinking approach is emerging, and – as we head into a new year – we’re seeing climate change as a firm fixture on our comms plans and agendas, which can only be a positive thing.

Whistle works with clients to help develop a clear communications strategy around their sustainability roadmap, goals and achievements, whilst delivering on our own ambitions too. 

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