Climate Change Mobilization – The Role for Business to Engage Consumers

A few weeks ago I moderated a lively discussion with four thought leaders working on the front lines of business’ role in mobilizing action on climate change. Steve Howard (Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA), Niall Dunne (Chief Sustainability Officer at BT), Paul Dickinson (Executive Chairman at CDP) and Edward Cameron (Director of Partnership Development and Research at BSR) each shared their views on the challenges and opportunities for business to play a more active role in engaging the public in the lead up to COP21.

The Context

GlobeScan’s Radar program of evidence and counsel draws upon our database of over fifteen years of tracking of global citizen perceptions around business and its role in society. In 2014 we came across a challenging trend: perceived seriousness of climate change by the general public is down in 16 out of 22 countries we’ve been tracking since 1998 (see graphic below). In other research have seen growing personal concern for climate change, but this finding is a measure of our collective sense of how much collective weight that we as a society place on climate change in context to issues like the economy, unemployment, terrorism, or disease control, etc. So in a broad sense, the signals from leadership (be it government, business, or civil society) are not coming through as loud or as clear compared to the other competing issues. This is the challenge the webinar hoped to address.

The webinar followed a narrative, where each presenter explored a different role for business to engage consumers on climate change. While you are welcome to review the full recording (you can find it here) we’ve edited each speaker’s topics into their own segment:

The Imperative

Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of CDP, explores why he feels there is a need to engage the public, and why business should be interested in this conversation.

The Opportunity

Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA shares thoughts on the role of business in engaging the public on climate change.


Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer, BT answers the question of how we can mobilize the public on climate change and shares the case study of which is focused on engaging millennials.
Learn more about BT’s partnership with Collectively, a coalition of the world’s biggest companies to make sustainable living the new normal.

Going Forward

And finally, Edward Cameron, Director of Partnership Development and Research, BSR looked at how collaborative efforts can drive success to get us to the future we all want and need.