Climate change may very well be the single biggest threat facing humanity at the moment. Science has been warning us of this danger for a while, and as the years have progressed, cries for more climate-conscious and sustainable growth have only grown louder. 

The UN has released its most strongly worded report to date on climate change, signaling code red for humanity. The report outlines some of the major implications that global warming is causing and how they impact our world. It calls for rapid and large-scale fundamental changes to reduce emissions globally. 

There are many stakeholders involved, including governments, industrialists, policy-makers, organizations, and individuals. The major challenge in driving such change is the enormous task of raising public awareness. While industries and governments have to drive the change, it will only be effective if there is a corresponding change in lifestyle.

The question we ask ourselves today is this: Since the situation demands immediate action from everyone, how can organizations and other bodies take a leaf out of the US government’s approach to vaccinations and use influencers to spread the message of sustainability? 

 

What Does The UN Report Say?

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report after analyzing over 14,000 scientific studies from different parts of the world. 

The report says that the current rate at which we are cutting carbon emissions is unlikely to be enough to prevent the level of disruption we potentially face, calling for harsher policies and a strong crackdown on fossil fuels. The report has sounded alarm bells across the globe, with governments and public figures alike drawing attention to its findings. 

The report also states that some of the consequences—like Greenland’s melting ice caps and rising sea levels—are already irreversible. But these changes can be slowed with immediate action.  

 

How Can Influencers Help?

Today, in the digital-first world we occupy, influencers are not restricted to just brand promotions – they are also catalysts for social change in many ways.

Many influencers are quite outspoken about important social issues, including women’s rights, racial equality, politics, mental health, and many others. The issue of climate change is something that affects everybody, and influencers can engage both organically and through paid partnerships. And most creators don’t turn down campaigns that are for a good cause.  

The messaging is one key aspect to consider. The kind of change we are looking for involves fundamental shifts in the way we operate on a day-to-day basis. It’s about changing the way we live. The products we buy, the waste we produce, what we eat and wear, the cars we drive—these all are personal level changes.

Beyond this, it’s essential that we come together as communities to effect change in the larger society. This involves making businesses more carbon-neutral, pressuring elected officials to act, and further spreading the message in hopes of catalyzing change.

This means getting influencers involved on various levels, with brands effectively running campaigns to help drive this message of change. Here are some ideas around how brands can use influencers to help spread the message. 

Sustainable Lifestyle

In 2021, influencers are perhaps the strongest driving force in the fashion and lifestyle world. These creators all have communities that look to them for inspiration and recommendations, and these networks can be used very effectively to drive buyers towards more sustainable products and ways of living. Some influencers are already sending these messages on their own accord, as true advocates of the lifestyle.

Promoting sustainable products is an important conversation. Tips and hacks to build a habit of sustainable living and being aware of your carbon footprint will be of great value too. The messaging should also prompt urgency in this matter and make people more aware of their lifestyles.  

Younger Audiences As Changemakers

The younger generation – coming up in a world of TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitch – turn to these platforms for a multitude of reasons. Inspiration, entertainment, insight. The list is seemingly endless. So creators on these platforms are great options. Brands can identify and activate influencers who can help spread the message and create more awareness about the pressing issue of climate change. 

Activism & Politics

Influencers are no strangers to the worlds of activism and politics. The 2020 elections in the US saw many influencers actively campaigning, both organically and through paid partnerships. During the pandemic, various creators were enlisted to generate awareness of safety protocols and later in the vaccination drive. Influencers can help brands and other bodies generate awareness around policy decisions and how to pressure elected representatives to take a stand. These campaigns can be organic or paid partnerships. 

Reaching Underserved Audiences

There are several communities that are traditionally underserved, and it is often difficult to reach these communities through traditional channels. This is where using influencers can be a major advantage.

The lifestyle change is for everyone – so it’s important to include everyone in this movement. Brands can reach these communities via influencers who have credibility and drive significant change through them. Influencers are already playing a major role in speaking up in these communities, discussing these very issues, including climate change. It’s a particularly relevant conversation and one that is essential. Natural disasters tend to disproportionately affect poorer communities.

Fundraising

Like many aspects of life, this degree of change will require funding in order to devote adequate resources to support real change. Bodies like the UN often rely on donations and the funds they get from various countries to keep their programs running. Dealing with the effects of climate change and implementing plans to tackle this problem in the long term will require substantial funding. 

Influencers can be an effective way to reach a larger audience and help raise the necessary funds. People are willing to donate to deserving causes but are often skeptical about how the funds will be used.

Engaging influencers can lend credibility while also raising awareness. Brands can raise funds on their own, or prompt consumers to donate to organizations that they have identified as worthy and noble causes. 

 

In Closing

The IPCC report is a definite indication that climate change due to global warming cannot be taken lightly. There needs to be a mass public movement to create actionable change, and it needs to be inclusive. Influencers have garnered a lot of attention, and, as the name suggests, they do have real influence. Brands have to find ways to leverage these communities and deliver the message.

Brands themselves have a responsibility to be as close to net-zero emissions as possible. They should also be encouraging the larger ecosystem to move towards lower emissions. If they do not practice what they preach, it is unlikely that their campaign will succeed.

As many brands have shown before, the audience welcomes a socially relevant message conveyed through their brand campaigns. So brands need to come forward with ideas and do whatever they can to drive the message. Influencers are not ones to back down from an important social issue. Brands and influencers can form a good team in the fight against climate change.

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