Exclusive: PR agency bosses pledge to support global climate strike

The bosses of leading UK PR agencies have signed an open letter pledging to support staff who wish to join climate strikes tomorrow, PRWeek can reveal.

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has inspired a global climate strike backed by PR leaders. (Photos: Getty Images)
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has inspired a global climate strike backed by PR leaders. (Photos: Getty Images)

They are urging the comms industry to "put our skills towards something bigger than our clients and grab headlines for the planet".

PR industry leaders and their staff will join millions of people across the world tomorrow (20 September), demanding action on climate change in the first day of a week-long Global Climate Strike.

So far, the bosses of more than a dozen PR agencies – including Taylor Herring’s James Herring, Freuds’ Arlo Brady and Ketchum’s Jo-Ann Robertson – urged the whole industry to down tools for the day and join the movement, which has been led by students and inspired by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

The open letter, shared with PRWeek (see full text below and signatories), warned that the climate emergency is real and ‘planet earth is in trouble’.

"We need to help campaigners around the country raise the volume for the climate and get media and our government to take note. We can’t keep putting our head in the sand and hoping this is going to go away. 

"Our industry creates work that leads, inspires and informs culture. Every day we help create news and views for our clients and ourselves.

"It’s time we put those skills to work for something bigger than our clients and grabbed headlines for the planet."

The plea calls for agencies to support climate change activism into "our campaigns, our media outreach and our client relations". 

Other agency bosses to sign the letter include: Brands2Life’s Giles Fraser and Sarah Scales; The Academy’s Mitch Kaye and Dan Glover; Talker Tailor’s Gary Wheeldon; Tin Man’s Mandy Sharp; Ready 10’s David Fraser; Porter Novelli’s Fenella Grey; Manifest's Alex Myers; and The Romans' Paddy Hobbs.

The agency leaders plan to assemble at 10.45am at Victoria Tower Gardens, Millbank, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JU.

Thousands are expected to join climate stirkes across the UK. The last strike took place in February

In the UK, 140 global creative, PR and advertising agencies have committed to promote the global climate strike, but this is the first time UK PR agencies specifically have planned to come together en masse.

"The school strikes brought the climate change fight to the attention of the media, but now adults should heed the call to join in on 20 September," Herring told PRWeek.

"The PR industry needs to lend its voice and support to the crisis. Our hope is that other agencies and in-house teams will add their signatures and encourage participation in the event and also bring climate change into their client work."

Another agency that will join tomorrow’s strike is PR firm Futerra, which has worked on a campaign to support the week-long Global Climate Strike.

Herring has urged other agencies to sign up to the movement and join strikes, which will take place in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and elsewhere.

A second strike has been planned for 27 September.

The open letter

Dear PR Industry, 

The climate emergency is real and planet earth is in trouble. 

We need to help campaigners around the country raise the volume for the climate and get media and our government to take note. We can’t keep putting our head in the sand and hoping this is going to go away. 

Our industry creates work that leads, inspires and informs culture. Every day we help create news and views for our clients and ourselves. 

It’s time we put those skills to work for something bigger than our clients and grabbed headlines for the planet.

This Friday 20th September will see thousands of students across the country strike and millions across the globe to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

We can support them as citizens and join the march with them on Friday, letting our colleagues and staff do the same.

We can bring climate change into our everyday work incorporating it into our campaigns, our media outreach and our client relations.

And we can do both. 

We want to support the thousands of young people who started this movement and are rightly concerned about the impending crisis.

Will you join us in marching on Friday 20th September? Will you commit to allowing your staff to participate? 

We have. 

James Herring, Cath Taylor & Pete Mountstevens - Taylor Herring

Dr Arlo Brady, Freuds

Fenella Gray, Porter Novelli 

Jo-Ann Robertson, Ketchum

Jo Carr & James Gordon-MacIntosh, Hope&Glory

Giles Fraser & Sarah Scales, Brands2Life

Alex Myers, Manifest

Mitch Kaye & Dan Glover, The Academy

Gary Wheeldon, Talker Tailor

Mandy Sharp, Tin Man

David Fraser, Ready 10

Paddy Hobbs, The Romans

Alec Samways, Splendid Communications

Adam Raincock, Pitch Marketing Group

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