With the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (hashtag #COP21) in Paris just around the corner, a number of clever social media campaigns support the goal of reaching a universal climate agreement. The common denominator in these diverse works is easy-to-consume, highly shareable content that spreads organically, if not virally, across digital and social channels.
This campaign has some major celebrity backing with Barack Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio among the supporters. Proving that humour goes a long way, even with a complex and sometimes contentious issue like climate change, it uses popular memes to get the message out. To date, the project has reached more than 260 million people (source: Huffington Post, #ClimateChangeIsReal, So Are Solutions (And Avengers). LOLcats and animated Friends gifs can save the world!
Sierra Club developed the #ActinParis campaign to raise awareness ahead of the summit. Among the tactics deployed are a selfie gallery as well as a virtual tour of Alaska, narrated by American actor Jared Leto. The video allows the user to navigate fascinating 360 degree views of arctic glaciers, wildlife and communities affected by climate change.
The project brought together some of the biggest names in the music industry – including Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, and others – to perform the “Love Song to the Earth”. The more people play and share the song, the more money is raised to support Friends of the Earth’s work to fight climate change.
Climate Change and CSR
Climate change is not only a priority for governments and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) but also a central theme for businesses and their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies.
Paul Hilder, director of Here Now cites Unilever as a prominent example of how companies can participate in the social conversation. The company handle @Unilever tweeted “#ClimateChangeIsReal. And businesses can grow by tackling it.” Unilever CEO Paul Polman (@PaulPolman, 9,000+ followers on Twitter) added, “Climate change is already impacting our business. That’s why Unilever is committed to 100% sustainable sourcing, zero net deforestation and moving to renewable energy.”
And with businesses increasingly investing in their own climate change campaigns, recent research reminds us that one of the main reasons for people to share website content is the desire to develop their own personal brand online.
While CSR communication often has to show more restraint, #ClimateChangesReal and others demonstrate that talking about the environment doesn’t have to be “boring but important”. In a crowded market place where even the most substantial corporate commitment rarely features in the mainstream media, aligning with social media trends and relevant hashtags, if not memes and other viral tactics, can play an important role in getting the message across on digital channels.