Havas PR today launches its new global climate change communications group, the Havas Worldwide Climate Practice.
The team brings together best-in-class communications experts in key geopolitical centres around the world. The practice will be led by Pete Bowyer, who was the spokesman to former UN Secretary-General H.E. Kofi Annan on climate justice issues in the runup to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009.
He will report into Marian Salzman, PRWeek’s 2014 Global Agency Professional of the Year and Havas PR North America CEO, for U.S. and Europe and to James Wright, managing director of Red Agency Australia and Havas PR APAC, for APAC. The Havas Worldwide Climate Practice will provide strategic consulting, communications advice and campaign mobilisation to clients on one of the most urgent issues facing our generation.
“There is real momentum developing across the world as a new global agreement on climate change approaches at the UN Paris Conference next year,” said Bowyer.
“It’s a top priority of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the IMF and the World Bank, and world leaders are beginning to face up to the greatest global challenge of our age. But business and civil society have key roles to play as well. The Havas Worldwide Climate Practice will ensure that their voices are a critical part of that conversation, too.”
The Havas Worldwide Climate Practice will have three regional hubs: London (covering EMEA), New York City (covering the Americas) and Sydney (covering APAC). John Casey, global director for the Havas–United Nations Foundation climate change team, will run the Americas hub; James Wright, who leads Havas’ engagement with WWF in Australia, will lead the APAC hub; Bowyer will operate the London office.
On-the-ground experts, each with direct experience with the issue, will support the hubs from more than a dozen countries (including Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, South Africa and UAE) to cover the leading geopolitical centres of influence. The Havas PR practice embodies the company’s belief that “Local is the new global” by drawing on its local knowledge and excellence in each key market.
“I am unbelievably excited about the launch of the Havas Worldwide Climate Practice,” said Salzman, who is also CEO of Havas PR North America. “Over the past five years, our people have been doing incredible, thoughtful and award-winning work on climate change. Looking ahead, the issue of climate will surely trend in 2015, and no other global communications network can claim our degree of firsthand experience or is better equipped to advise clients in this critically important area.”
The Havas Worldwide Climate Practice team’s experience on climate change includes work with some of the world’s most prominent institutions, corporations and spokespeople, such as:
- Launching Earth Hour with WWF, beginning in Sydney in 2007 and now a global event observed in 160-plus countries and territories and more than 7,000 cities and towns that has become the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment
- Launching the Onedidit website in Brussels, designed to draw consumer attention to their own climate footprint (2008)
- Creating H.E. Kofi Annan’s “Tck Tck Tck: Time for Climate Justice” campaign in the runup to the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (2009)
- Launching Dara International’s Climate Vulnerability Monitor with President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives at simultaneous press conferences in London and Cancún during the UN’s Cancún Climate Change Conference (2010)
- Working together with the United Nations Foundation to develop a global communications network in more than a dozen countries to communicate the science behind climate change for the launch of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (2013-14)
- Launching Ban Ki-moon’s Big Data Climate Challenge as part of the preparations for the UN Secretary-General’s September Climate Summit (2014)
- Designing and implementing a communications program for a prominent individual to mobilise French public opinion around climate change in the runup to the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015 in Paris (2014-15)
Havas PR’s work for the United Nations Foundation has been a winner and/or finalist for numerous awards in the public relations industry around the world this year, including:
- Global: International Public Relations Association Golden World Awards (winner, Environmental, Agency) and PRWeek Global Awards (finalist, Issues and Crisis Campaign of the Year)
- Australia: CommsCon Awards (finalist, Issues Management; finalist, Government Relations Campaign) and PRWeek Asia Awards (winner, Public Affairs Campaign of the Year)
- United Kingdom: Chartered Institute of Public Relations Awards (finalist, Global Campaign of the Year)
- United States: SABRE Awards (finalist, Global Campaign), PRSA Big Apple Awards (winner, Public Affairs, Government, Associations and Nonprofit Organizations)
“Havas’ worldwide team had the combination we needed of geographic reach, creative talent, climate expertise, political savvy, proactive media relations and digital media acumen,” said Sahar Wali, communications director for Strategic Climate and Energy Initiatives, United Nations Foundation.
“They have been a key strategic asset to the United Nations Foundation in our work on climate change communications, helping us to penetrate new markets in new ways and take the global climate conversation to the next level.”