Climate change: what role should communications play?


Last week, hundreds of international decision-makers were brought together in New York City for Climate Week. A week that sought to emphasise how the urgency to act now on global warming is paramount, and the necessity to transform our economic and consumption models.
Yet, this transformation is not the sole responsibility of corporate executives, financiers, nor the sole responsibility of consumers. But the goodwill and coordination of a wide range of stakeholders. As communications professionals, we play a vital part.

Communications can and should be a catalyst. A positive call to action for real and meaningful change in this vital battle for humanity. In order to be credible in conversations on the climate ecosystem, we must clarify its “right place” in this transformation process.

It is my firm belief that communication doesn’t just drive business transformation, but it is at the core of its success.

There are five ways communication can be transformation’s most powerful ally:

Shareholder understanding:

Financial and corporate communication are essential in encouraging the longevity of business growth. Through clear, coherent, and confident communication, we can convince shareholders why there is a need to prohibit carbon-intensive activity and show how biodiversity can be a key indicator for business. Businesses which lack effective communication, do so at their own risk.

Societal Contribution:

The fight against climate change is not just the burden of governments and business. It is a battle that needs to be fought at an individual level as well. All aspects of society need to work together to present a united front – working symbiotically to encourage incentives and solutions at all levels.

Expert led advisors:

In order to foster a culture of positive change, each layer of a business requires a collaborative, inclusive and consistent approach to climate action. A culture where environmental, social, and cultural experts are vital to the creation and encouragement of new processes and sustainable outcomes within the present-day climate crisis.

Mobilise Collaborators:

Transformation without collaboration is to tread water. In a world of finite and depleting resources, collaborators are a company’s most precious asset. When the status quo is rapidly changing, all of the company’s divisions need to adapt and evolve fast to this new business model.

So, what is the real role of communicators in the transformation process? While sometimes seen as all-powerful and Machiavellian, it is important to recalibrate how we view communications and how it can truly be a catalyst for positive change. The days where we can claim the performative power of our actions in companies’ transformations are gone.

Unlocking Positive imageries for climate change:

While citizens are convinced of the need to act against climate change, they also confess a lack of will to make efforts in their daily lives. Yet solutions do exist. The stumbling block is cultural. We need to project ourselves into a happy, sexy post-carbon world. It is imperative that the cultural sector, including advertising, plays its part in creating a real desire to enter this new world.


Nicolas Narcisse

Executive Vice President

H/Advisors Havas Paris