Public Engagement Can Spark Innovative Climate Action

Public Engagement Can Spark Innovative Climate Action During Chicago Ideas Week, Edelman sponsored a panel that explored, “Climate Action, an Economic Growth Opportunity.”  Our co-host and partner was Net ImpactFor those of you who don’t know about Net Impact, it is a nonprofit based in San Francisco that supports members through a volunteer-led chapter network spanning six continents. Their mission is to mobilize a new generation to use their careers to drive transformational change in their workplaces and the world.

(Panelists were Jon Creyts, principal and leader of the U.S. climate change practice at McKinsey & Co.; Aaron Durnbaugh, deputy commissioner in the City of Chicago’s Department of the Environment; Jacky Grimshaw, vice president of policy at the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology; Shannon Schuyler, leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ U.S. corporate responsibility practice; and Alex Weiner, founder and chief operating officer of Inbalance, a Chicago-based management consultancy that specializes in improving buildings’ energy efficiency and other green-related services.)

As panel moderator –  surrounded by professionals with rich and diverse backgrounds and some strikingly divergent opinions; responding to perceptive questions from the audience; and monitoring Net Impact and Edelman tweets – got me to thinking about the innovative, ideas-focused culture at Edelman.

Few of you probably would put “the world’s largest PR firm” in the same sentence with “climate action counselors.” It’s a testament to Edelman’s leadership, especially Jane Madden, executive vice president and director of CSR & Sustainability in the Chicago office and an executive vice president here, that we hang that shingle out.

The panel served to exemplify Edelman’s public engagement road map, which we use to guide our client counsel on social responsibility and sustainability, while illuminating that we: :

  1. Listen with fresh intelligence.
  2. Create galvanizing ideas.
  3. Grasp the socialized approach to media relations.
  4. Develop and co-create content.
  5. Participate in the conversation.
  6. Build active partnerships for common good.
  7. Embrace complexity.

I encourage you to partner with external organizations, seek input from the public and embrace the uncertainty of an issue as important but as tough as climate action and business growth.