A new public awareness partnership to support United Nations-led efforts to promote a new global agreement on climate change in Copenhagen next December was launched last week by United Nations secretary-seneral Ban Ki-moon and more than 20 advertising industry leaders of the international advertising community.
Initiated by the International Advertising Association (UN-IAA), and timed to coincide with the opening of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly and the fifth annual Advertising Week in New York, the new partnership marks a milestone in private sector support for action on climate change.
The partnership builds on the International Advertising Association's social responsibility programmes with the United Nations, a desire by the organisers of Advertising Week to galvanise the forces of the advertising community for a common, larger good, and support from the most powerful leaders of the global communications industry to come up with strategic solutions to one of the most important issues facing the planet today.
Michael Lee, executive director of the International Advertising Association, said, ''It has become increasingly clear that the complexities of climate change issues present a communications challenge with both policy makers and the general public.
The global advertising community can make a significant contribution to help change consumer behaviour, influence public policy, and help the UN make further progress on this issue. The ultimate selling proposition might just be saving the planet.''
Ban stated, ''We need action on climate change, and I applaud the determination of the advertising industry to help. As climate change affects everyone, everywhere, the UN needs partners in the private sector and in civil society to mobilise and spur action. Now is the time for action, and we welcome this assistance from the advertising community, which will bolster our present capacities.''
The advertising leaders who the secretary-general met with include Maurice LÚvy, Publicis Groupe; Michael Roth, Interpublic Group; John Wren of Omnicom; Miles Nadal, MDC Partners; Seth Farbman, Ogilvy (representing WPP group); David Jones, Euro RSCG Worldwide (representing Havas Advertising); Tom Carroll, TBWA Worldwide; Byron Lewis, Uniworld; and Linda Sawyer, Deutsch, and Co-Chair of Advertising Week.
Next steps include the formation of the industry's working group, which will develop a set of firm objectives and deliverables. The new initiative, which will be global, will be presented in the margins of the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change Conference in Poznan this December.
Countries agreed in Bali last year to negotiate a new climate change agreement that would take effect in 2012.
Without concerted global action on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected a 4░ C rise in global average temperatures this century, up from 0.8 ░ C in the last century.