Content, Climate & COP26

Over the past few months I have become more and more concerned about climate change. The recent report from Chatham House makes for bleak reading and the predictions from NASA are equally concerning. Should dramatic action not be taken there will be dire consequences for future generations, and as a father of three this plays heavily on my mind. With COP26 around the corner it has focussed my view that we require huge change in order to avoid this climate crisis and I just hope that the nations of the world are equally focussed on preserving our future.

With this in mind we made the recent decision to turn down an opportunity to pitch on a project for an oil company. We have produced content for them before which is how the opportunity came about, so we certainly cannot claim any sort of moral high ground in refusing to pitch for the work. Neither would we hold anything against the agency involved in the project who hold the client relationship. As a small agency still navigating our way through a global pandemic, turning down work is a very difficult decision to make and whilst it may not have been a wise decision financially, we felt that since becoming more aware of the consequences of the crisis we had to decline the opportunity.

We are by no means alone in this position. Projects like Clean Creatives are gaining traction in the UK. It’s a movement that started in the US asking agencies to pledge that they will decline work with the fossil fuel industry. As part of that movement we have recently taken this pledge and I really hope that more and more agencies across our industry do so to.

Tinderflint is by no means perfect. I very much doubt anyone is, but we are trying to play our part. There is so much more that we can be doing to ensure that our business is more sustainable, from the way that we run a shoot, through to offsetting the CO2 we produce. Whilst these steps are necessary and well intentioned, it is simply not enough to tackle the crisis we face. We need the Government to act and the only way to do that is by ensuring the public are informed on the subject so that political pressure can be applied.

As an industry we hold huge power in communicating and influencing people’s behavior and I feel that it has reached a point where we have to act. As well as pledging to be part of the Clean Creative movement, perhaps the industry could bring it’s brightest and best together to develop a strategy to communicate to the public why we have to act now.

There will of course be detractors who would argue otherwise and make accusations of hypocrisy, a puritanical approach designed to shut down the argument. We all live in a society/economy that is entirely based on fossil fuels so it is impossible to completely opt out, so we are all hypocrites to one degree or another. Nevertheless because you are in a system does not mean that you cannot raise your voice to change it, and we will require fundamental change if we are going to achieve our goal of dramatically reducing carbon emissions over the next few years. It would be wonderful if we as an industry could come together to play our part in achieving that.

We’ve drawn a line in the sand and I really hope that others will do so too.