AD NET ZERO GLOBAL SUMMIT: Driving behaviour change for a more sustainable future

Nov 21, 2022 | Blog


Rebecca Holmes


Last week Alexa Stewart and I attended the AD NET ZERO Global Summit to understand how we, as Cirkle, can elevate the work and ESG commitments we have as an organisation and the counsel we provide to our clients. 

There is a sense of shared responsibility across brands and the community to tackle the climate crisis but there is a journey to navigate: a paradox of choice, dis-trust and confusing terminology inhibits people’s ability to make conscious choices. 42% of people do not know what it means for a brand to be sustainable and almost a half (42%) do not know how to tell if a brands promise is truthful. (Ipsos, 2022)

As a first step, we as communicators need to break down the knowledge gap and empower people with the information, they need to make informed conscious and easy choices. Net Zero is no longer a differentiator for organisations – it is a hygiene factor.

A Few Key Takeaways:

We can be the catalyst for change – or we can be the problem

  • Every single person has a role to play in the protection of our planet – our role as communicators is to normalise sustainable behaviour but we are also encouraged to:
    • Change the way we work (picking up on the first 4 ANZ actions)
    • Change the work we make (the final AZN action) – this is where we can promote sustainable behaviour and drive behaviour change

Cultural context matters for sustainability – we do not a need a few to be perfectly sustainable, we need many to try their best

  • There is currently a huge gap between macro issues and micro actions which results in limited consumer behaviour change. The gravity of the issue is overwhelming for consumers. They are unable to see the how micro actions impact the macro issues. To help navigate this we need to ENABLE consumers to make sustainable choices by making it easy to find and choose them and ENGAGE with them by taking them on your sustainability journey, sharing progress and building up their knowledge and understanding (particularly important in service industries).

Eco accidentalism is about effortless choice of the most aspirational products & services

  • Sustainability & behaviour change should be at the centre of creative excellence. As communicators we need demonstrate that sustainable products are desirable, indulgent, and easily fit into people’s lives. Through engaging creative, we must make the behaviour change seem easy, fun, and imperceptible. 

Sustainability needs to meet functional, emotional, and rational needs

  • As part of a global survey undertaken McCann Truth Central respondents spoke about ‘protecting the planet’ when asked what they considered the definition of sustainability to be, however when asked about what sustainability means ‘to you’ the response was personal, focused on our collective survival and ensuring there is a liveable planet for future loved ones and grandchildren. We need to leverage the power of communications to bring the emotional, the personal, the human side of sustainability to the forefront of conversations.

To discuss how we can help your brand with their sustainability communications please email

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