Your role in shaping a successful climate summit – ECIU Roundtable
James Best, Chair of the AA’s Climate Action Working Group, participated in a virtual roundtable event organised by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit last week. The non-profit organisation supports informed debate on energy and climate change issues in the UK and engages with stakeholders from across civil society, encouraging all sectors to take part in the national conversation about climate change. The event titled “A new path to COP26: your role in shaping a successful climate summit” examined preparations in the lead up to next year’s UN summit on climate change, which has been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, both from governments and civil society.
The discussion, chaired by Richard Black, Director, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit focussed on how COVID-19 would impact upon preparations for COP and the UK’s role in the wider fight against climate change. The panel also discussed how all elements of civil society could get involved in the lead up to the annual summit. Speakers included: Liz Bentley, Chief Executive, Royal Meteorological Society; Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Action Champion, COP26; Claire Poole, CEO, Sport Positive; Fanny Calder, Director of Purpose, World Tour Futures; Dr Alison Doig, International Lead, ECIU and Gurjit Singh Lalli , TedX Curator for Glasgow.
Speaking at the event, James Best reiterated the importance of advertising when communicating messages to the public. As an industry that encourages behaviour change amongst individuals, he said that the Government’s communication strategy should look to advertising to win over the “hearts and minds” of the British public in the lead up to the conference as well as part of their wider strategy to make consumers more environmentally responsible. James said that utilising the power of advertising should constitute a large part of the Government’s communications plans in advance of COP26 and stressed the importance of the role the industry could play in making messages and measures resonate with the public as policy is drawn up and rolled out.
As the Chair of the AA’s Climate Action Working Group, James also spoke about the work that the recently established working group have been doing to “get the industry’s own house in order” by looking at the carbon footprint of the advertising industry. He said that from there, the group would look at influencing clients and the wider public in an environmentally conscious way.
The event also featured a presentation on climate change from Liz Bentley, Chief Executive, Royal Meteorological Society and a short speech from Nigel Topping, the UK’s High Level Climate Action Champion, before a short Q&A session.
The Climate Action Working Group are currently working on a project which aims to encourage a “green recovery” as the industry looks to bounce back from the COVID-19 economic downturn. You can find more information about the group here.