Diverse Voices, Sustainable Choices: Natalie Dean-Weymark On Why Sustainability Is A Non-Negotiable

Diverse Voices, Sustainable Choices: Natalie Dean-Weymark On Why Sustainability Is A Non-Negotiable

With sustainability a growing concern in all facets of life, there is an increasing need for diverse attitudes and minds within the media industry, driving the cause for positive change.

As a B-Corp-certified PR and digital marketing agency, Compass Studio understands this need. The agency supports ethical, environmentally friendly, impact-led brands, utilising strategic storytelling to maximise impact.

This year, the 2024 B&T Women In Media Awards, presented by Are Media, is celebrating the universal effort required to champion the sustainability cause. The brand new Sustainability Champion award is open to women working in the media space who have used their positions and skills to make a difference in the preservation of this planet.

B&T sat down with co-founder and co-director of Compass Studios, Natalie Dean-Weymark, to unpack the importance of diversity in this area of the media and the role the industry has in supporting the cause.

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B&T: What sparked your interest in sustainability?

Dean-Weymark: As professionals, we all get to the point of our careers in which where we are putting our efforts count. As marketers or media specialists, this usually translates to thinking about what brands or companies you are helping sell more products.

We are at a point in time where collective education and action are desperately needed, so I couldn’t not stack my skills behind supporting and amplifying the companies and brands that are trying to create meaningful change.

B&T: How does increasing diversity in the media industry help further the sustainability cause?

Dean-Weymark: We need many minds on this. The more diversity we have, the more perspectives, lived experiences and skill sets we can bring to the challenge. The challenges that we are trying to solve as a global society are highly complex and multilayers, so we need communications professionals of all kinds to help render this information in meaningful ways. We need storytelling that resonates with as many different audiences as possible – and to achieve this, we need lots of brilliant minds on the job.

B&T: How can influence public perception and action on sustainability issues?

Dean-Weymark: The media industry exists in eternity to shape public perception and action – whether it be to add another product to your cart or switch your bank – the stories we tell as an industry shape public consensus and inspire action. If this weren’t true, we’d all be unemployed.

So considering this, imagine the potential result if more creatives directed their focus towards the challenge of how we solve those issues more urgent to humanity right now.

B&T: Can you share examples of successful sustainability initiatives or campaigns that you have worked on?

Dean-Weymark: Compass worked with Ben & Jerry’s and Surfrider Australia to arrange, drive attendance and generate media coverage for an unofficial world record-breaking paddle-out protest in Torquay, Victoria.

On 23 March, on the shores of Cozy Corner Beach, community members – along with professional surfers, indigenous leaders, MPs, and environmental advocates – were invited to come together in opposition to the world’s largest proposed seismic blasting permit, which would search for gas along the coastlines of Victoria and Tasmania.

The campaign was part of Compass’s work on Surfrider Australia’s Save the Southern Sea campaign, in which Surfrider continues to pressure the Victorian Government. This has helped reduce the proposed blast radius from 7.7 million hectares of the ocean floor to 4.5 million.

Compass generated media coverage nationwide, with the key intention of increasing awareness of and empowering locals to attend the paddle out and show solidarity against the devastating seismic blasting plans. One hundred twenty pieces of coverage were secured for the announcement, and 1,200 people attended the paddle out – unofficially breaking the world record.

B&T: How can media professionals collaborate with other sectors to amplify the message of sustainability?

Dean-Weymark: The message of sustainability presents two challenges in the media cycle. It is a highly complex topic that many find fatiguing. To ensure media create content that engages their audience, they should leverage the storytelling expertise of communication experts to simplify complex information, making it accessible and not overwhelming.

Additionally, given the pace of the sustainability landscape, working with other sectors (education institutions, government, non-profits) and leaning on their expertise will help strengthen the credibility of sustainability messaging, ensuring they are educating their audience with the latest information. The key caveat to this is that media professionals need not just to amplify the messages of these incredible people/organisations but also ensure the messages are accessible to anyone who clicks on the article link.

B&T: Are there any specific trends or innovations within the media industry that you see as particularly promising for advancing sustainability?

Dean-Weymark: We are seeing things like B Corp certification double in Australia in the past two years as more companies see it as their responsibility to meet global ESG benchmarks. We are also seeing more companies set their focus on not only carbon offsetting but also carbon reduction plans. I’ve also heard the passionate rumblings of many of our industry’s most tenacious minds, from mandatory carbon labelling on packaging to fossil fuel advertising bans to mass exodus of staff for companies still working with climate polluters.

This all just shows that a consistent and growing groundswell is happening, so professionals should be considering their involvement and participation as future-proofing their careers.

B&T: How can media organisations ensure that their internal practices align with their external messaging on sustainability?

Dean-Weymark: Independent certification and auditing are always good starts. After all, we are marketers, so communicating externally isn’t the issue. Where it counts is what you do on the inside—who you say no to, how you ensure your people are educated and committed to the issues that you have publicly pledged to, and that you do stuff that you do not because your organisation is obliged to… but because you want to.

B&T: Looking ahead, what do you envision as the future of sustainability in the media industry?

Dean-Weymark: We only need to look to Europe to see more formalised and stricter regulations regarding media and advertising, which a lot of creatives both anticipate and welcome arriving in Australia in the years ahead.

As public awareness and regulatory pressures rise, the focus for brands and companies is quickly pivoting from mere compliance to genuine integration of sustainability into core business strategies, and this is no different for the media industry. We’ll see a noticeable shift in operations towards more sustainable practices across all facets of production and distribution and a move towards authenticity and transparency when it comes to how brands and companies are communicating their sustainability efforts.

In addition, digital innovation is set to play a pivotal role in this transformation. Technology is constantly evolving and will allow media unprecedented opportunities to reduce their environmental footprints. The industry is on the brink of a digital revolution, from resource efficiencies to AI-driven optimisations, and this shift will not only support global sustainability goals but also align with the consumer demand for more personalised and interactive media experiences.

Enter B&T’s Women in Media Awards Now!

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