The Crucial Role of Climate Advocacy in Corporate Strategies for a Net-Zero Future

Courtney Morrissette
February 7, 2024
As we face the escalating impacts of climate change, it’s critical for companies to use their influence to advocate for action. In this blog, we highlight why climate advocacy is an essential piece of any climate strategy, and three ways companies can have an impact.

In 2023, we added new advocacy reporting guidelines to the Climate Neutral Certified Standard, with the requirement going into effect during the 2024 certification process. We think of advocacy broadly as the act of using one’s influence to support climate action. Climate advocacy is a critical and necessary component of any corporate climate strategy aligned with a net zero future.

With the world quickly accelerating towards climate tipping points, we must use advocacy alongside direct investment to achieve the drawdown levels that scientists are urgently calling for. 

The goal of climate advocacy work is to accelerate policies and practices vital to address the climate crisis. By leveraging their influence, resources, and expertise, businesses can influence public opinion and government policies to accelerate the transition to a just, low-carbon future. 

Companies have three essential frontiers for advocacy:

1. Influence policies

Engaging with policy is a powerful way to advocate for climate action. Companies can get involved directly or indirectly to influence pro-climate policy. Direct engagement can involve providing testimony, endorsements or participating in government agency working groups, which can inform the direction of decarbonization pathways and policies. Indirect engagement can include reviewing corporate memberships (i.e. trade organizations) and ensuring these organizations’ activities align with your climate action goals. If these groups are promoting anti-climate activities or legislation - use your voice! Speak up about the importance of pro-climate initiatives, and bring your company’s influence to an organization united in addressing climate change. 

2. Engage employees to take action

Equipping employees with an understanding of climate change empowers them to take action in the workplace and beyond. By providing on-the-job climate training and adding climate-specific onboarding resources for new hires, you can integrate climate action principles into every job at your organization. Organizing a green team that is tasked with advancing sustainability goals and objectives at the company is another strategy to integrate the importance of climate action to your company’s mission. Engaging employees as a part of the company’s internal strategy can mobilize this key group to accelerate climate action.

3. Motivate customers to demand change

Consumers are key change makers, as their preferences shape companies’ behavior. But the opposite is also true. As a company, you’re in a powerful position to create demand for corporate climate action. You can do this by helping your customers become more climate literate. You can add content to your marketing emails, conduct in-person education, use your social media presence, and deploy many other tools. You can also do all of this in coordination with trade associations or business partners to magnify the impact. Your objective is to help consumers understand that companies have a big responsibility to tackle the climate crisis, and not all companies are stepping up. You can also use the strength of your relationships with customers to encourage their advocacy, for example by encouraging them to vote in the next election.

The new advocacy reporting guidelines in the Climate Neutral Certified Standard will give us an opportunity to understand how our Certified companies are using their influence on behalf of the climate. A fundamental component of corporate strategies aligned with a net-zero future, advocacy can increase the momentum and scale of actions to address urgent climate challenges. By engaging in the policy process, mobilizing employees, and involving customers, you will be able to amplify the impact of your other climate initiatives.

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About the Author

Courtney Morrissette
Program Manager

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