Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Not everyone may agree with all of the climate policy - but we all want to help reduce climate change. And of course, everyone needs to play their part. To demonstrate how easy it can be the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy organized the National Climate Week in 2021: a week aimed at inspiring and mobilizing the people of the Netherlands by asking them: what can I do to reduce climate change? In collaboration with Campagne, our partner from Rotterdam, we developed a successful PR and communication strategy combining paid, earned, and own media.
STRATEGY AND APPROACH
The Ministry’s question:
Introduce the very first National Climate Week to the Netherlands as an annual theme week with a sustainable concept.
Ensure maximum visibility for the National Climate Week.
Inform the Dutch public and organizations of the ways in which they can contribute to reducing CO2 emission and mobilize them over the course of the week.
For this campaign, we utilized the pre-existing communication channel ‘Iedereen Doet Wat ’ (Everyone plays their part) that the National Climate Week is part of. Operating from the idea that everyone has the power to do something, it’s important to motivate and facilitate people to contribute to reducing climate change.
Our strategy is aimed at Dutch individuals as well as companies and organizations. To reach these different target audiences, we opted for a dual-track strategy.
Track 1: Climate Mayors inspire the public
To inspire all Dutch people with appealing regional and local examples, we developed the concept of a ‘Climate Mayor’. Through the use of regional and local media, we called on people to apply as their local climate spokesperson, as inspirer that encourages others to act, and who approaches local media with an inspiring, authentic story. Our Climate Mayors were well-equipped with an especially developed toolkit to help them navigate social media; including a customized Instagram filter and the National Climate Week flag made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Many interesting people with inspiring stories from all over the country applied. What about Alex van Eck from IJsselstein, with his Labrador Joy, who he has trained to clean up litter during their walks. Alex also offers this training at an international level, so now, dogs all over the world clean up people’s litter on their daily walks. And,of course, our youngest Climate Mayor, 8-year–old Valerie van Aals from Renkum, who collects recyclable plastic to turn it into, for example, outdoor benches. With her ‘plastic challenge’, she creates awareness amongst kids at elementary schools about the issues involved with plastic. And there were 140 other inspiring stories just like this one!
Valerie also kicked off the National Climate Week by raising the National Climate Week Flag in the centre of Dutch politics, the Hofvijver in The Hague. We shared the kick-off with the national media via a picture press release.
Track 2: companies and organizations become ‘Climate Supporters’
We called on companies and organizations to contribute as Climate Supporters and pay extra attention to reducing climate change. Climate Supporters endorse the goal of the National Climate Week and actively contribute to limiting CO2.emission. We made this as easy as possible for them by providing a special tool kit with posters, roll-up banners, images, presentations and a ready-to-go press release. We shared the most inspiring stories in videos and text posts on social media.
The National Climate team is proud of what we’ve accomplished with this first edition of the National Climate Week, despite the restrictions imposed by Covid. By turning the spotlight on inspiring, sustainable initiatives throughout the entire country, we set the tone for years to come.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
PHASED PR APPROACH
The campaign was divided into different stages, to let the public become familiar with the National Climate Week early on. Well before the start of the Climate Week, for instance, we were canvassing for Climate Mayors through local PR. This way, we were able to collect and share their stories in advance, and make sure to hold the attention throughout the entire campaign.
Summer 2021: first announcement via 277 tailor-made press releases in local media. “The first ever Climate Week starts on October 28th. Who will be Alkmaar’s new Climate Mayor?”
September 2021: second media approach to find Climate Mayors in the missing municipalities.
October 28, 2021: National Climate Week starts with 142 Climate Mayors. Again, we shared their inspiring stories through tailor-made local press releases. Local media throughout the country published interviews with ‘their’ Climate Mayors, resulting in even more publications and, perhaps most importantly: even more stories to inspire others.
Besides PR, content is an important part of the National Climate Week. To that end, our partner Campagne converted the collected stories into various ready-made, standard content formats, aimed at consistent, long-term communication journey. The Ministry continues to use these formats for publishing its own climate content today. In ‘Klimaat BV’ (Climate &Co), for instance, companies explained what they were doing to help reduce climate change, and popular claims surrounding climate policy were confirmed or – rather – debunked in ‘Dat is zo… toch?’ (‘That’s True…Right?’). Videos and pictures of the Climate Mayor and Climate Supporters were published alongside written interviews.
You couldn’t miss the very first National Climate Week. With the incredible success of this first edition, we’ve created a solid foundation for the years to come. This is what that looks like in statistics:
AWARENESS AMONG DUTCH PEOPLE
42% (7,4 million people)
REACH EARNED MEDIA
REACH SOCIAL MEDIA
NUMBER OF ARTICLES IN NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND LOCAL MEDIA
NUMBER OF REGISTRATIONS OF CLIMATE MAYORS, CLIMATE SUPPORTERS AND EVENTS
142, 68, 54
Our pre-existing experience with a tailor-made approach of mainly local media paid off once again during the National Climate Week. It’s great to see how media provided a platform for the Climate Mayors, mobilizing people to take action. Thanks to a wonderful collaboration with Campagne and the Ministry, we’ve achieved fantastic results. On to the National Climate Week of 2022!