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Communicating to create change: tackling the environmental crisis

Available On-Demand

Free to all small charities (with an income of £2 million or less) whether they are CharityComms members or not
£75 + VAT pp for individual members
£85 + VAT pp for medium member charities
£95 + VAT pp for large member charities
£130 + VAT pp for corporate partners
£155 + VAT pp for non-members of all types

Medium member charities income: £2-5 million
Large member charities income: £5 million and over

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This event took place on 19 May 2022 and all registered delegates were sent direct access details for the recordings. Please only book your place here if you missed the event the first time round. 

Environmental crisis is already having an impact on many aspects of our lives, from the quality of the air we breathe, to food and water insecurity, and rising energy bills. The environmental crisis will impact every charity and every person they exist to serve and support, no matter the charity purpose.

In the words of Sir David Attenborough: “saving the planet is now a communications challenge.” Charity communicators have a vital role to play in communicating environmental crisis, regardless of charity purpose. The way that we as communicators talk about environmental crisis affects the way that people engage, think and respond to the problems and solutions. Our communications can determine if people switch off or feel compelled to act.

According to the NCVO The Road Ahead Report 2022, recent polling shows that the public is supportive of action from government, business, industry and energy suppliers to tackle climate change. But what about charities? As more scrutiny falls on the public and private sectors, the voluntary sector is thinking about how it can advocate for the environment and embed sustainable practices.

Join us as we talk about why environmental issues should become part of your charity’s values, mission and brand, and the frameworks you can use to structure and direct your thinking. We’ll hear from a variety of organisations who are communicating environmental crisis messages – whether they are local/grassroots, national or international organisations. Together, we’ll explore:

  • Why environmental issues should become part of your charity’s values, mission and brand
  • What framework do you need to help structure and direct thinking on environmental crisis?
  • Framing your messages
  • Why visuals matter when communicating environmental crisis
  • How charities are building environmental crisis awareness into their communications
  • How charities are demonstrating the intersectionality of environmental crisis
  • What can we learn from environmental campaigners?
  • Collaboration with other charities

Who is this event for?
Anyone working in a charity or agency who wants to use comms to help tackle the environmental crisis.


Adeela Warley 
CEO, CharityComms


Vanessa Weddell 
head of events, CharityComms

Putting planet health at the heart of your brand

Join us to explore how environmental issues intersect with many social justice issues and why all charities (no matter the purpose) should make them central to mission and brand. We’ll hear from a range of charities that have already started this important work, offering their top tips on anything from getting buy-in (at all levels) to the frameworks that can help structure and direct thinking on environmental crisis.

Zarina Ahmad 
Wen adviser, Wen

Muireann Montague 
senior campaigns officer, NCVO

Collette Philip 
founder, Brand by Me

Rachel Hudson 
director of fundraising, marketing and communications, Practical Action

Lisa Davies
head of brand and external engagement, Practical Action

Peer exchange: your challenges shared - where is your charity on the journey?

We’ll use breakout rooms for some much needed peer-to-peer discussion. 

Refreshment break

Whilst you wait for the kettle to boil, ponder this morning’s content and think about any action points you’ll take away. 

Framing for change

How do people think and feel about the health of our planet? How can we talk in ways that connect with and move people – and that spark change across society? In a lively and interactive session, Nicky will draw on research and examples to explore how we can use communications to take us through and beyond the crisis. 

Nicky Hawkins 
director of communications, On Road Media

Why visuals matter when communicating environmental crisis

A lot of climate change imagery isn’t effective at driving change. Imagery matters because much of the way we understand the world is dominated by what we see and how it makes us feel. In this session, Léane will introduce the Climate Visuals project, which includes evidence-based principles for visual climate communication as well as an image library where charities can freely download hundreds of images for their projects

Léane de Laigue
communications lead, Climate Outreach

Lunch break
Communicating sustainability with creativity and passion

Sustainability strategies or achievement reports can come in dense (and dry!) formats. More often, they are considered ‘for internal eyes only’ and not part of the core brand or messaging. But, as people increasingly expect organisations to address climate crisis, its time to make those sustainability reports work hard. In this session, Chris and Faith will explore how organisations are placing sustainability goals and achievements, front and centre in their brand communications. They’ll share the ways they’ve helped to bring data to life and offer tips and advice to inspire how you communicate about sustainability.   

Faith Bulleyment
business director, Creative Concern

Chris Dessent 
managing director, Creative Concern

Lightning talks – a series of three punchy and practical talks
Making the global personal: putting health at the heart of environment policy

Harriet Edwards will set out how environmental issues need to be at the heart of health and social care policy. Over the last seven years, the charity has been campaigning for clean air and they will share their learnings, insights and progress from over this time. As well as how we can use health messaging to make the global personal and the power of storytelling to get us there. She will share the charity’s insights with people with lung conditions setting out the stark reality many of them face not being able to leave their homes during high pollution episodes, and the likelihood of these trends becoming even worse in the face of the climate crisis.

Harriet Edwards
head of policy & external affairs, Asthma + Lung UK

Breathing space
Lightning talk - Planet Earth Games: how gamification drives real-world-action

Gamification is a sustainability game changer and an effective means for driving real-world-action. Devon-based wellbeing and sustainability charity Planet Earth Games will share how they have leveraged the power of sport and its connection with the natural world through gamification. This approach has helped them engage a large group of people from diverse backgrounds and ages. By making sustainability fun, accessible and non-judgemental, your reach has no limit. 

Chris Broadbent 
founder and chief executive, Planet Earth Games

#Older and Greener: Galvanising communities to support inclusive climate communications and policy

The Older and Greener campaign was developed and led by the Centre for Ageing Better alongside the UK Network of Age-friendly Communities. It aimed to challenge the narrative that older people ’caused’ the problems of climate change and that only younger people would be the ones able to or interested in providing solutions.

In this talk, hear how the campaign galvanised communities across the UK to highlight the important contributions older people make to this agenda locally. Find out how the campaign also illustrated the role of local places in amplifying the voices of older people in order to develop well-rounded policy solutions.

Jessica Taylor
localities officer, Centre for Ageing Better

Practical tips for digital sustainability

For most charities, their website is their shop window and one of their most vital communications channels. Yet websites can be highly polluting and the internet is responsible for producing around 2% of the overall CO2 emissions. So it’s important to us, as communicators, to take steps to minimise the environmental impact of our digital presence. In this talk, Sepas will offer his tips for how we can make our websites more sustainable. Whether you’re relaunching your website or optimising your current one, there are simple things that you can do to make a big impact.

Sepas Seraj
CEO, Pixeled Eggs

Pre-recorded presentations launching at the close of the live event:

We’ll be launching pre-recorded presentations for you to watch at your leisure. 

Power in partnerships: how partnerships influence policymakers to take meaningful climate action

Policy change is an important part of social change – and even more so when it comes to taking action on the climate crisis. Organisations that are looking to explore their role in addressing climate change, and need a place to start, will be stronger working together with other organisations who are on their own paths to creating meaningful change. This punchy and practical session looks at the advantages and challenges of collaborative working, how to find and approach the right organisations to work with on your climate action journey, and tonnes of tips for making partnerships work for you

Ben Matthews 
director, Empower

Turning climate insight into an inspiring and creative campaign

Whales play a vital role in the health of our oceans. But did you know they help combat the impact of climate change? In this talk, Raw London and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) will talk about their campaign to establish whales as an important part of the climate conversation. They’ll share how they turned extensive scientific research into an engaging and unique fundraising campaign, with COP26 as the backdrop. We’ll hear how they: 

  • Defined new target audience groups and key drivers
  • Developed a creative proposition and key messages
  • Created the ‘Climate Giants’ hero campaign film
  • Engaged corporate partners and the general public during COP26 and beyond 

Don Mike
head of strategy, Raw London

Ed Fox 
director of marketing & communications, Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Being brave and signalling intent

Charities have an important role to play in communicating environmental crisis. Updating your vision, mission, values and beliefs as an organisation is an excellent place for charities to start as it has overarching effects across all areas of work. Reach Volunteering recently updated their own vision, mission, values and beliefs to recognise both climate crisis and the need for civil society to act immediately.

Encouraging people to think about the intersectionality of the crisis, and work together to transition to a society that is equitable, fair and sustainable, has been key for Reach Volunteering. In this presentation Janet will share top tips on how charities can be brave and signal intent about this work with both internal and external audiences.

Janet Thorne 
CEO, Reach Volunteering

Top tips for working with the media on green issues

ClientEarth is an environmental charity using the power of the law to protect life on Earth. It works in partnership across borders, systems and sectors, focussing on changing the system. In this talk, you’ll hear how ClientEarth use comms, including PR and social media, to promote environmental strides and legal action to better protect our planet. Georgia will share:

  • Advice for getting green stories picked up by the media
  • Tips for piggy backing on existing green stories, events and campaigns 
  • How to help shape language and narratives in the media
  • How to distil jargon (science and legal jargon isn’t always ‘public or media friendly’)
  • Tips for utilising the media to make change

Georgia Shortman
PR and brand officer, ClientEarth

Start by starting: how to start communications about planet health

The climate crisis is one of the biggest problems that we face. We know we need to do something, but it feels like such a huge task, it’s hard to know where to begin. That’s why the Going Green Together campaign is here to support organisations to take the first steps on their climate action journey. To get you started, in this presentation we’ll be sharing our top tips on how to begin communicating about the climate crisis when it’s something that you haven’t done in your role before. 

Georgia Goncalves
partnerships and projects officer, VONNE

Communicating through a values lens – the role of compassion in environmental comms

As communicators, we have a choice in whether our work reinforces self-interest values such as wealth, power, ambition and image, or compassionate values such as equality, justice, wisdom – and protection of the environment. Drawing on their experience working with corporate partners including Unilever and Virgin Media O2, the Global Action Plan team will share their insight on how to put values into practice, the importance of positive narratives – and why this is essential in order to motivate young people, in particular, to take action to tackle the climate crisis.

Charlotte Zamboni
director of marketing, Global Action Plan

Natasha Parker
head of post-consumerism, Global Action Plan

Tips on how to use community engagement and influencer outreach to cut through climate noise

The power that influencers and communities have in mobilising audiences remains one of the most dynamic ways to achieve cut through in the crowded digital space. Last year, Global Witness, an organisation that challenges the abuses of power to protect people and our shared planet, along with their social media agency, Catnip Comms, employed this strategy on the countdown to COP26. 160 influential voices and 100 organisations from 15 different countries supported their campaign. In this session, they’ll share their story, with top tips for creating a powerful community you can mobilise time and time again to help achieve vital change.

Fay Schofield
founder & social media strategist, Catnip Comms

Ana Melissa Zarraga
head of digital and content, Global Witness

Headline Sponsors

Logo: Work that matters. Creative Concern.

Creative Concern is a full service communications agency that believes that creative, compelling and compassionate communications can make the world a better place. For us, great ideas and good values go hand in hand; we care about what we do and we care about what you do.

Since we started out in 2002, Creative Concern has been dedicated to working with charities from across the UK, tackling a whole range of different creative communications challenges. In this time, we’ve seen environmental issues and sustainability move from the margins to the mainstream and we’ve helped hundreds of charities and organisations communicate their ambitions and their impact.  Our work has stimulated positive behavioural change and helped to form new habits and ways of living, working and travelling. 

Logo: Pixeled Eggs

Pixeled Eggs make websites that are built to last, helping organisations spark and grow long-lasting, valuable relationships. What sets us apart is the focus on creating engaging websites that are usable, findable and trackable.

Over the past 10 years we have worked with over 30 charities to help them become a more digital organisation, regardless of their reach, size or income. Some of our clients include Missing People, The Royal Foundation, Diabetes UK, Barrow Cadbury Trust, ONE, European Lung Foundation, Queen’s Green Canopy and The Disabilities Trust.

Inspired by our recent work with The Royal Foundation on The Earthshot Prize, which supports groundbreaking environmental projects across the globe, we consider sustainability throughout our design and build process, with the view to create better performing websites with a lower carbon footprint.

Pre-recorded Presentation Sponsors

Logo: Empower Agency

Empower is a strategic digital comms agency, with comprehensive and in-depth expertise in climate change and sustainability. Empower’s agency culture is central to our work and we only work with clients who actively demonstrate these values.

  • People-centred: We are kind, generous, inclusive and human.
  • Driven: We are ambitious, professional and take initiative.
  • Ethical: We are trustworthy, transparent and fair.

Recent client experience in the sustainability sector includes: COP26, UN High-Level Climate Champions, WWF, Science Based Targets Network, Global Commons Alliance, Business for Nature and World Resources Institute. Our team of digital experts can help you in the following areas: Sustainability Comms Strategy, Digital Strategy, CSR Strategy, Content Creation, Social Media and Paid Media, Sustainability Innovation, Measurement and Impact.

We’re a small friendly team that prefers working in an embedded way with your team, so contact us to explore how we can partner together.
Logo: Raw London

Raw London is a multi-award winning creative and strategy agency. As a certified B Corporation, we’re all about campaigns that inspire change for good, and have been working with brands, charities and global NGOs since 2006. More specifically, our focus is on changing perceptions, because we believe that if you want people to behave differently, first you need to change what they know, think, or understand. 

It’s this idea that drives us. So, if you want to make a step-change, if you want to challenge old ways of thinking and doing, if you want people to see your brand, cause – or society- differently, then get in touch.

Tweets from the event