On Earth Day, April 22nd, over 70 marketing leaders from brands and agencies gathered for a webinar hosted by THINKHOUSE - 'Delay is the new Denial: Communicating for Planet Earth.'

Hosted by THINKHOUSE’s cross-functional PLANET team, and powered by insights from The Youth Lab, the event was designed to strengthen our industry’s role in restoring our earth. The event aimed to accelerate the change we want to see in our industry by exploring the potential for brands and communication within the broader climate and sustainability context.

“This event served as a temperature gauge of where we are now and where we’re heading," said Laura Costello, Senior Strategist, Purpose & Planet at THINKHOUSE. "The picture is clear - there is a big gap between what businesses and brands are currently perceived to be doing in terms of acting on climate and what young people expect from them. With major initiatives such as The Great Reset by Purpose Disruptors and Thinkhouse’s own sell-out industry event in 2019 ‘World War Z, a Generation’s Battle to Fix the Climate Crisis,’ this event is part of our continued commitment to share the views of the next generation and accelerate an inspired and informed response.”

"David Attenborough said ‘Saving our planet is now a communications challenge.’ We know this - and we have witnessed how, since the launch of our PLANET services over 2 years ago, brands and businesses are increasingly aligned on the need to achieve a net zero world as soon as possible," said Claire Hyland, Head of The Youth Lab at THINKHOUSE.

"To do this, our industry must step up to tackle the problems of communications that are misaligned with a net zero world and/or not working within the Sustainable Development goals. Education is critical to the journey of change - by empowering marketeers to identify, understand and refute delay arguments we are driving accelerated action. Because the better educated we all are the more confidence we will have to move faster."

Net Zero awareness and ambitions have never been higher - a recent report by UNFCCC that the number of commitments to reach net zero emissions from local governments and businesses has roughly doubled in less than a year, as many prioritise climate action in their recovery from Covid-19.

However, as an industry, we’re not moving fast enough - research by World Federation of Advertisers reported this week said that just 10% of marketers claimed to be ‘well advanced’ in their sustainability journey, compared to 29% who said that their wider business was already at this stage. We’ve a lot of catching up to do.

Discourses of Delay
Discourses of Delay

The team presented 'Discourses of Delay' that are stalling our industry's response to addressing the climate crisis, obscuring essential conversation and progress. These include four key problem areas:

1. Redirect responsibility

2. Emphasise the downside

3. Surrender

4. Push non-transformative solutions

Solutions on how to identify, understand and positively influence such conversations were shared, with lots of practical examples from brands including Frank & Honest, Ben & Jerry's, Tony's Chocolonely and Barry's Tea to inspire action.

“More and more of our customers are part of the global race to net zero," Dave Byrne, Head of Creative at THINKHOUSE. "As creatives and marketers we must arm our clients with the right insights, ideas and creativity to win the race - this is a race towards a better world, better marketing. We want to create a world where only good marketing exists and this is another event that furthers that mission.”

As part of the Purpose Disruptors Ireland community, the team will co-host an event on the Ecoffectiveness methodology on April 28th.

Find out more and sign up here.