A Green Recovery

2020 was expected to be a critical year for climate change, with much talk ahead of the UK hosting COP26. Unsurprisingly since coronavirus started to spread however, global warming and climate change have taken something of a backseat. But things have begun to change in the last few weeks.

With many countries past the peak of the virus and beginning to flatten the curve, there is now increasing talk of the need to ‘build back better,’ with an emphasis on any recovery needing to be ‘green’.

Already this month more than 200 top UK firms have called on the government to deliver a COVID-19 recovery plan that is in line with climate goals, and a group of 57 charities and businesses have formed ‘The Climate Coalition’ – urging the PM to use economic rescue packages to build a net-zero economic recovery.

But the connectivity between COVID-19 and climate change has in fact always been there. The pandemic has had a profound effect on nature and the environment in ways that we could never have predicted in such as short space of time. From falling CO2 emissions to clearer waters, bluer skies and the urban birdsong.

On the flip side, there is evidence to suggest that certain climate change factors like air pollution have in fact worsened the pandemic and led to greater rates of infection. The question remains therefore whether COVID-19 can have a lasting and positive impact on the climate?

The answer, according to the British public, appears to be a resounding yes – as long as business and the government step up. Just before the pandemic, research conducted by FHF found that the environment was the number one issue that consumers wanted companies to address.

And COVID-19 has done nothing to diminish this. A recent survey of 2,000 consumers * by FHF found that in fact coronavirus has deepened people’s climate concerns. One in four people say the pandemic has made them more worried about climate change with nearly two-thirds (64%) believing that the environment is better off due to the actions taken to tackle the virus.

The British public also want to see the same level of urgency that society has applied to COVID-19, to tackling climate change with an expectation that businesses and government will lead the change.

Yet trust in business and government to deliver is at an all-time low. Less than one in four (22%) trust the government when it comes to providing information on climate change with only 6% of Brits trusting business. Instead, 66% believe that big, structural change is needed from companies to address the issue at large.

Clearly therefore there is a disconnect and gap between the expectation of consumers and the perceived action from business to deliver. The corporate world has always been though at the forefront of innovation when it comes to climate change. But if there is deep mistrust in business to act how does it bridge the consumer expectation gap?

Firstly, change the way you communicate. FHF’s research showed that the public wants to hear about the actions taken by business (39%) over their sustainability commitments (32%). Secondly those at the top need to step-up. People want leaders and CEOs to talk about climate change and it impact in striking terms. And thirdly communicate with impact – don’t be afraid to talk about risk and the real and present danger climate change poses.

It’s the businesses who do this consistently across a multitude of channels that will win back trust among the British public on the environment. And while COVID-19 has been devastating for so many, it has created an opening for tackling climate change that would have been unthinkable just six month ago.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that when society pull together it can tackle a global challenge. There is – and remains – a glimmer of hope that we can and will do better.

The Purposeful Business team at FleishmanHillard London conducted a survey of 2,000 consumers in April 2020 to better understand British attitudes towards climate change in the context of COVID-19 and their views on climate change communications more broadly. For more information please contact Holly Rouse on holly.rouse@fhflondon.co.uk

Holly Rouse
Partner & Purposeful Business Lead,
FleishmanHillard Fishburn (FHF)
holly.rouse@fhflondon.co.uk
https://fhflondon.co.uk/

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A Green Recovery

2020 was expected to be a critical year for climate change, with much talk ahead of the UK hosting COP26. Unsurprisingly since coronavirus started to spread however, global warming and climate change have taken something of a backseat. But things have begun to change in the last few weeks.

With many countries past the peak of the virus and beginning to flatten the curve, there is now increasing talk of the need to ‘build back better,’ with an emphasis on any recovery needing to be ‘green’.

Already this month more than 200 top UK firms have called on the government to deliver a COVID-19 recovery plan that is in line with climate goals, and a group of 57 charities and businesses have formed ‘The Climate Coalition’ – urging the PM to use economic rescue packages to build a net-zero economic recovery.

But the connectivity between COVID-19 and climate change has in fact always been there. The pandemic has had a profound effect on nature and the environment in ways that we could never have predicted in such as short space of time. From falling CO2 emissions to clearer waters, bluer skies and the urban birdsong.

On the flip side, there is evidence to suggest that certain climate change factors like air pollution have in fact worsened the pandemic and led to greater rates of infection. The question remains therefore whether COVID-19 can have a lasting and positive impact on the climate?

The answer, according to the British public, appears to be a resounding yes – as long as business and the government step up. Just before the pandemic, research conducted by FHF found that the environment was the number one issue that consumers wanted companies to address.

And COVID-19 has done nothing to diminish this. A recent survey of 2,000 consumers * by FHF found that in fact coronavirus has deepened people’s climate concerns. One in four people say the pandemic has made them more worried about climate change with nearly two-thirds (64%) believing that the environment is better off due to the actions taken to tackle the virus.

The British public also want to see the same level of urgency that society has applied to COVID-19, to tackling climate change with an expectation that businesses and government will lead the change.

Yet trust in business and government to deliver is at an all-time low. Less than one in four (22%) trust the government when it comes to providing information on climate change with only 6% of Brits trusting business. Instead, 66% believe that big, structural change is needed from companies to address the issue at large.

Clearly therefore there is a disconnect and gap between the expectation of consumers and the perceived action from business to deliver. The corporate world has always been though at the forefront of innovation when it comes to climate change. But if there is deep mistrust in business to act how does it bridge the consumer expectation gap?

Firstly, change the way you communicate. FHF’s research showed that the public wants to hear about the actions taken by business (39%) over their sustainability commitments (32%). Secondly those at the top need to step-up. People want leaders and CEOs to talk about climate change and it impact in striking terms. And thirdly communicate with impact – don’t be afraid to talk about risk and the real and present danger climate change poses.

It’s the businesses who do this consistently across a multitude of channels that will win back trust among the British public on the environment. And while COVID-19 has been devastating for so many, it has created an opening for tackling climate change that would have been unthinkable just six month ago.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that when society pull together it can tackle a global challenge. There is – and remains – a glimmer of hope that we can and will do better.

The Purposeful Business team at FleishmanHillard London conducted a survey of 2,000 consumers in April 2020 to better understand British attitudes towards climate change in the context of COVID-19 and their views on climate change communications more broadly. For more information please contact Holly Rouse on holly.rouse@fhflondon.co.uk

Holly Rouse
Partner & Purposeful Business Lead,
FleishmanHillard Fishburn (FHF)
holly.rouse@fhflondon.co.uk
https://fhflondon.co.uk/

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