In her MIPCOM Online+ keynote, United Nations Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Global Communications, Melissa Fleming, will explain that the way in which we communicate about climate change, will make a difference as to whether we can overcome it.

Key to the UN’s climate change message is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme, which came into force on January 1, 2016. For Fleming and her team the challenge has been to communicate the message of the 17 SDGs globally and engaging with the media has been crucial to that challenge.

There’s been a lot of progress, but we knew we were going to have to go many steps further if we were going to capture the imagination of the broader public and that’s why we decided to invite the world’s TV industry — which has remarkable reach and impact — to join forces,” Fleming said. “And so far we believe it’s made quite a difference.”

In fact the UN went beyond TV and in September 2018 launched the SDG Media Compact, which aims to encourage entertainment companies around the world to apply their resources and creative talent to advance the SDGs. Today the Compact includes more than 100 members reaching an audience of some two billion people in 160 countries, across five continents.

The list of members includes Reed MIDEM, whose engagement includes the launch of the MIP SDG Award, which for this its inaugural year goes to Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch. This first Award is dedicated to the Climate Action/Life Beyond Waters SDG.“Sky: they live it,” Fleming said. “Sky has had a consumer awareness drive that has hit 50 million Europeans with a campaign to give up single-use plastics. These are very specific actions that can make a huge difference in changing people’s view of everyday things that they have been depending on, but not realising how damaging they are to the environment.”

Fleming believes that nuance is required when communicating the threat of climate change: “Studies show that as the quantity of gloomy or alarming news becomes overwhelming, more and more people are switching off altogether,” she said. “At the heart of getting people to care is storytelling,” which is “a powerful way to build a bridge of compassion with audiences and to indirectly communicate the larger picture that lies ahead”.


Melissa Fleming’s keynote, No Time To Waste: Communicating In A Climate Emergency, is avalaible on MIPCOM Online+.

This is an extract from the MIPCOM One Book; full version online here!

About Author

Julian Newby is editor in chief of MIP Publications, namely the MIPTV/MIPCOM Previews, daily News magazines and supplements. He is also co-founder of Boutique Editions, a UK-based publishing and design house providing products and services for the international film, TV and creative communities.

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