Jeremy Leggett, social entrepreneur, campaigner and Environmentalist for EEF
How do you get the world’s biggest foundations to use their billions of dollars held in investments to turn the tide on global warming and help to prevent runaway climate change?
Well, on the eve of 2014’s New York Climate Summit, a Declaration on Climate Change signed by 160 award-winning environmentalists – from Jeremy Leggett, to Peggy Liu and Dr Ernst von Weizsäcker – featured in a full-page ad in the International New York Times. And we developed a communications campaign to help maximise its impact.
Working with the European Environment Foundation (EEF), on a very limited budget, we developed a communications campaign to engage ambassadors and influencers, to amplify the debate and maximize exposure with a strong call to action for the Foundations.
Building on the interests and support from ambassadors and influencers all over the world, we equipped them with briefing packs, press releases, backgrounders and quotes from leading environmentalists, and coordinated a major media launch on the eve of the Summit.
We stimulated debate on the key role foundations and other big investors can play in tackling climate change, by investing in clean energy and divesting from fossil fuels. The campaign generated 80 pieces of media coverage on four continents, including BBC World Service, the Press Association, and ClimateWire and Washington Examiner in the US.
In just two weeks, we built up more than 2,000 Twitter followers for EEF in key sectors and developed endorsements from influential foundations and organisations, including the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Divest-Invest Coalition. Our dedicated #InvestinClimate hashtag received 2,500 tweets and retweets from 1,165 accounts, exposing our messages to 6 million people.
Ultimately, the campaign helped to pave the way for Divest-Invest’s announcement that 800 organisations, including Rockefeller, were committing to divest $50bn from fossil fuels.