News brands, advertisers lead climate agenda around COP26 and beyond

By Lewis Boulton


London, United Kingdom


I’m young enough never to have really known a time when climate change wasn’t on the agenda. Even in school, discussions about rising sea levels and extreme weather driven at least partly by human activity were commonplace. But never has it felt like the climate movement has carried quite so much momentum as it has over the past couple of years.

With forest fires and floods filling the world’s news cycles this summer, success at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow had been billed as vital for protecting ourselves from the very worst effects of climate change. Whether or not the deal world leaders agreed to at the end of two long weeks of negotiations can be described as a success is up to your own perspective.

What is clear, however, is the need for every single one of us to do our bit, from individuals right up to industries and businesses. The advertising industry has already picked up on this responsibility, with a broad coalition backing the Ad Net Zero pledge to reach carbon net zero through its advertising activities by 2030.

Individual advertisers are also playing to their brands’ strengths, helping consumers take everyday steps that can make a big difference. Here are some of the best creative as the climate dominates the advertising agenda.


In its signature strident style, the environmental organisation doesn’t beat about the bush. This ad cuts straight through to powerbrokers by using the agenda-setting power of news brands, directly speaking to those who can most make a difference.


The best campaigns stay true to a brand’s core values, regardless of topic. HSBC has become synonymous with crossing borders ever since it launched its “Global Citizen” campaign in 2018. This time, however, it’s not opportunity crossing borders, but the reality of climate change — borderless, stateless, and the responsibility of all of us.

BT and EE

I’m going to keep it simple, just like BT and EE did: Effective ads get straight to the point. This is one of them.


It can be very easy to get lost among the big pledges and open letters demanding more be done. Supermarket brand Sainsbury’s brings the climate conversation back to readers, using the trust consumers place in it to offer simple meat substitutes that can help the environment, one meal at a time.


Wait, can you hear that? No, it’s not a plane, although it might be a bird. 

The rolling hills are calling you for your next eco-friendly staycation. For UK holidaymakers, Scotland is a destination that won’t cost the planet.

About Lewis Boulton

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