We Mean Business – changing the climate challenge narrative
The narrative for businesses on climate change is usually “it costs jobs and money”. We Mean Business aims to replace this with a story about competitive advantages, more jobs and innovative technologies, as co-founder Callum Grieve told the audience at the Climate Savers Business Event.
Set up in 2014, We Mean Business may be a new organization, but it is already achieving impressive results.
Ninety-six businesses worldwide have joined, committing to back one or more of We Mean Business’s six initiatives on climate change, which WWF, the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and CDP have been involved in developing, aligning science with business strategy.
“The goal is to have at least 1,000 commitments within the campaign,” said Grieve. “We have 300 right now.”
One area We Mean Business is focusing on is carbon pricing. “It seemed that businesses were becoming confused with all the things that they were being asked to sign on to. So we helped create something called the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, which the World Bank is now driving with the UN Global Compact and many of our partners,” explained Grieve.
Telling a different story
We Mean Business wants to help companies tackling climate change to tell their stories, inspiring others and encouraging them to join.
“More companies and investors are taking climate action than ever before,” said Grieve. “We want to help tell their story. The way you tell it is important. Bold climate action is not a burden but a historic economic opportunity. The message has to be right, and the messenger.
“In We Mean Business the business leaders are the spokesperson. We also want to bring out the unusual voices. For example, Tim Cook from Apple talked about climate change just one week after they launched their new iPhone. We received some 80 original journalistic pieces on Apple alone.”
The Climate Change Conference in Bonn in June 2015 will be a big moment for We Mean Business.
“We have taken out adspace in strategic areas where we know the negotiators will likely travel, so train stations, on the walkways as they approach the new conference centre and inside the centre,” explained Grieve. “We’re going to be profiling CEOs that have already joined We Mean Business too.”
We Mean Business is also aiming for maximum media coverage during the Business and Climate summit at the Climate Week in Paris. The organization has already secured an important deal with Bloomberg.
“Bloomberg is going to build a studio within the UNESCO headquarters, interviewing business leaders live and broadcasting that on TV and online. Bloomberg is also opening their studios all around the world, inviting business leaders who have a story to tell to visit and get their voices heard,” said Grieve.
“Paris is not the finish line, it is a launch-pad. The commitments that get made to the campaign are about long-term and essential work well into the future.”