‘We Recognize the Leadership Role Media Plays’; Sustainability Remains a Hot Topic

As sustainability continues as an important business initiative and hot topic, B2B, niche and association coverage of it will need to heat up as well. The LinkedIn platform has seen a 77% increase in engagement for sustainability content over the past couple years. “This tells us that sustainability topics are gaining collective mindshare with the audience, making them a powerful means for driving creative impact.”

The American Society of Landscape Architects’ Landscape Architecture Magazine won two Neal Awards this year—one for Best Profile Article for a story titled In Their Elements (they also had a finalist) and one for Best Overall Art Direction/Design. ASLA CEO, Torey Carter-Conneen (pictured), has spoken often about what their members are doing in response to climate change.

Last year Carter-Conneen spoke how landscape architects reduce residential energy use by designing at the community scale. And this May he moderated a panel titled “Greening the Built Environment—How Can the Buildings and Construction Sector Decarbonise?” sponsored by the US Green Building Council.

The magazine covers sustainability often now. One recent article focused on wildfires in California’s wine country and what landscape architects are doing to prepare for them. “Because of that fire and others like it, Baker says, people in the region are more open to new ideas. ‘People are really getting ready for change; they’re looking for it, they’re asking for it.’”

As with other topics, change will come faster by involving many voices.

“We know that the journalism and information space as a whole is looking for spaces for sustainability, so if we don’t have unique and diverse voices in these rooms, how do we know what to solve for?” asked Sherrell Dorsey, founder and CEO of The Plug, now hosting TED Conferences. “How do we think creatively about the solutions on the table?”

Here are some examples of initiatives taking place:

Set deadlines. Questex recently unveiled Quest Zero, its “roadmap to reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions” for both the company and its events. “Our team is passionate about this topic; we are proud of the strategies we have put in place, and we are committed to transparent and accurate reporting,” said Paul Miller, CEO, Questex. They’ve committed to create healthy spaces that make a positive impact on the communities they touch, joining the Net Zero Carbon Event initiative alongside vendor partners and colleagues to be Net Zero by 2050. “We ask our event participants to join us in this commitment to make our community and our world better.

Set goals. In 2021, Bauer Media published its Sustainability Playbook. Included are ways they are “Influencing Sustainability” in their Lifestyle, Outdoors, Automotive, Fashion & Beauty, and Audio brands. “Sustainability has become a key strategic focus for us because we recognize the leadership role media plays in driving sustainable behaviors,” head of strategy Kaushala Ratnayake said. “Shifting towards a sustainable publishing industry is not something any company can do alone so we really invite this movement towards working with publishers that have clear sustainability goals and targets.”

Educate staff. The BBC has offered bespoke sustainability training for editorial roles to over 1,000 staff across all divisions. It has led to a much deeper understanding of the issue of climate change and its relevance across the organization.

Offer incentives. The American Chemical Society’s Scientific Advancement division is leading the ACS Campaign for a Sustainable Future Initiative. The multifaceted initiative will include a campaign promoting sustainability, increased advocacy for sustainability research funding, and expanded efforts to modernize the chemistry curriculum for 2- and 4-year colleges to include a focus on sustainability. There will also be a prize for international collaborations. “The impact that we’ll have is creating a future chemistry enterprise workforce that’s trained in sustainability concepts,” ACS COO LaTrease Garrison said.

Assist journalists. The Oxford Climate Journalism Network (OCJN) is a new program at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Its mission is to help journalists and editors develop their coverage of climate change, and support leaders in identifying the issues involved in reporting on the climate crisis. The network is free to join and is open to working journalists, employed or freelance, covering any beat, not just environment and climate.

Create specific jobs. Recurrent—their publications include Popular Science, Field & Stream, Saveur, etc.—has three pillars on their homepage: Editorial First, Audience Obsessed and Sustainability Focused. “Coverage across Recurrent brands emphasizes products, technologies, and policies that could shape a more sustainable future, for the longevity of the planet and its ecosystems.” Last June they established two new roles—VP of sustainability and sustainability commerce editor—to solidify the company’s commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives.

Set ad guidelines. Conde Nast has new advertising guidelines in place as part of its sustainability commitments. It will now only accept ads from energy companies that promote renewable energy products. The company also aims to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030 and use only renewable energy in its offices globally by 2025.

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