You are here

Climate Emergency alert! Commit to Futerra's Creative Climate Disclosure before we become extinct


uterra wants people to change before its all too hot, too late, too nothing. Therefore the change-agency co-founded by Ed and Solitaire, two friends with a common task in making sustainability as natural as possible -ever since 2001, Futerra pursues the mission of “making sustainable development so desirable it becomes normal’ with multiple projects- has declared a climate emergency alert for the creatives -even though many nations and leaders continue to declare that Earth is not becoming a burning hell due to fossil fuels and the drive to eat meat...

Futerra's Creative Climate Disclosure has been brewing since 2015 when the change-agency published the world’s first Client Disclosure Report during COP21 in Paris. Then in May 2019, the Extinction Rebellion folks reminded the advertising, PR and marketing industries they hadn’t been forgotten. Spearheaded by the agency the letter aims to “divest creative talent from destruction.”

Creatives and communicators are already changing the narrative about climate change and ecological crisis. That’s the work we’re all passionate about. But too many advertising, creative, public relations, marketing and digital agencies are still ‘playing both sides’ and treating their role as neutral. They have some clients for climate solutions and yet they also run campaigns for fossil fuels. The first step to changing that is honesty – for agencies to be transparent about who pays their bills” notes Futerra. This is literally open invitation to begin a long-delayed conversation across the entire creative industry asking both agencies and individual creatives to come aboard a mission for change. 

“If you are an agency you promise to disclose your turnover by sector, and highlight any climate conflicts. If you are an individual working, or planning to work, in this industry, then by signing your declare you won’t work on fossil fuel clients. No one is policing you or checking up, this is a promise to yourself” notes Futerra. The deadline is end 2019 to disclose.  

Creativity has consequences, so our industry cannot be neutral. As communicators, we have the power to inspire change or to keep serving destruction

Well if the global economy runs on fossil fuels, why do agencies need to take the blame you ask like a spoiled teenager. “We strongly believe agencies have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We are a $1.3 trillion sector, after all. These disclosures bring agencies in line with other industries, all who report their ‘material’ impact on the world. We have to respect the climate and ecological science, just like everyone else” is the answer. Even if you don't think this is a massive step forward check the media industry. “There is still too much climate confusion and denial, some obviously sown with professional help. No one gets to be neutral when it comes to climate change, the agency world has to do our bit as well” states Futerra on the dangerous virality of fake news spreading like wildfires in California or Portugal or Greece or, you name it -it will happen anywhere unless we take measures not to and probably we, creatives, should be warriors for good. The media and marketing industry should help solve the climate emergency before we become extinct.

“That’s the power of imagination, invention, problem solving and storytelling. But not if the advertising, PR and marketing industry keep serving the problem. That’s why creatives, especially young talent, are opting out of destruction. They are powerful communicators themselves, so they know spin when they see it. Declaring your agency purpose without disclosing proof simply won’t cut it anymore. At Futerra we’ve spearheaded this letter to help put agencies on the right side of history” said Solitaire Townsend, celebrated green entrepreneur, advisory board member for Danone and O2 Telefonica and self-confessed sci-fi geek and co-Founder of the change-agency. Below is the full Creative Climate Disclosure agencies and individuals alike are asked to sign by the end of the year: 

“As creatives, communications agencies and media experts, we see the climate emergency. Just over a month ago, Extinction Rebellion (XR) called upon advertising agencies to 'Declare a climate & ecological emergency and act accordingly.' Those of us who have signed below agree. Because creativity has consequences, so our industry cannot be neutral. As communicators, we have the power to inspire change or to keep serving destruction. We could end this letter here, with a commitment to use our power of persuasion and storytelling for the right side of history.

Spearheaded by the change-agency the letter aims to “divest creative talent from destruction”

But a promise is not enough, because our industry hasn’t faced the same scrutiny as others. Remember, we’re good communicators and might be able to wiggle out of this. Therefore, the agency signatories below commit that before this year is done, we will disclose our ‘climate conflicts’. Whilst respecting client confidentiality, we will reveal the percentage of our turnover categorised by industry, including income from fossil fuel companies and other high carbon clients. Some of us have already done so. The individual creatives who have signed below will simply not work on fossil fuel client briefs, no matter which Agency we are with. 

We know many of our colleagues and friends across the creative industry are anxious/terrified about the climate emergency. We also know that disclosing climate conflicts will be too early, and too controversial, for many Agencies today.  But, we firmly believe that we cannot serve climate solutions, whilst still serving the industries most answerable for causing the climate emergency. And of course, disclosure is only the first step on a journey that must lead to divestment - divesting agency client rosters of these clients. Agencies need to align our businesses with the climate science, just like everyone else.”

“Creative agencies have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We are a $1.3 trillion sector, after all. We have to respect the climate and ecological science, just like everyone else”

Image via Futerra

In line with Extinction Rebellion's first demand to Governments to Tell The Truth and be adult enough to share the seriousness of our climate & ecological emergency the Climate Creative Disclosure is a great first step states XR.

“It's great that individuals, businesses and whole industries are starting to get the message and doing the same. Industries need to come together, be open, honest, disclose their business actions that are in conflict with life itself and follow with fast and meaningful action. Though Extinction Rebellion wrote an open letter to industry leaders, we recognise that everyone in a company can put pressure on their employers to act now. Creatives can have a huge role; to tell the truth, refuse to work with toxic clients or on briefs that will harm the environment. So many agencies claim to understand Gen-Z audiences yet promote ecologically damaging clients and behaviours, even greenwash fossil fuel companies, actions which will ensure that these young people who are deeply concerned for their planet, will have a future at all. We encourage all agencies to sign and disclose, for employees to rise up and demand change, for individual creatives to use their talent on the right side of history. We are running out of time" added Extinction Rebellion's William Skeaping. 

Futerra believes a better world is possible, and we, creatives, can make it happen. Be involved and use your talent for a good cause.

Sign the letter and commit here.