The Outdoor Policy Outfit
The Carbon Bankroll
A trio of international environmental groups focused on the banking sector—Climate Safe Lending Network (CSLN), The Outdoor Policy Outfit (TOPO) and BankFWD—collaborated to develop “The Carbon Bankroll: The Climate Impact and Untapped Power of Corporate Cash.” This report and its groundbreaking research make it possible to understand for the first time the scale of emissions generated by large organizations’ “financial supply chain.” When large companies’ and corporations’ cash and investments are held in large financial institutions, these banks can use the funds to finance fossil fuel projects. The Carbon Bankroll’s methodology calculated the emissions of several large tech companies including the impact their financial practices can have on their previously reported emissions. Spitfire Strategies partnered with TOPO to create a communication strategy centered on the global release of the report and to expand the outreach to its priority audiences.
The report authors and partners aimed to:
- Have corporate leaders see their banking practices as a strategic sustainability tool and a massive opportunity in improving the climate crisis.
- Partner with large companies and corporations to put pressure on their large financial institutions to change their carbon-heavy investment practices.
- Position themselves as leaders in this effort so that they can work to support corporate and financial leaders as they address their financial supply chain.
To execute the agreed-upon strategic approach and to help TOPO and its partners effectively communicate the right messages to their priority audiences, telling a unified story, Spitfire developed and managed a slew of communication assets and strategies, including the following:
- Project managed the report launch, including all the assets, to give the reporters who received an embargoed copy had ample time to read the report and conduct interviews before the report’s release.
- Created a digital toolkit with infographics, sample posts, a list of handles and key hashtags for Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. This helped internal and external partners amplify the report to their climate, business and financial audiences via social media and newsletters.
- Drafted and pitched the press release for the report’s launch with additional supporting quotes.
- Composed a media pitch for climate, finance and tech reporters and shared it with partner climate communication organizations to help pitch to their media contacts.
- Developed an internal FAQ and messaging guide.
- Developed and conducted a media training exclusive to the needs of CSLN, TOPO, BankFWD and Amalgamated Bank’s spokespeople.
- Facilitated a live business briefing and podcast in collaboration with Business Forward, an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. The briefing was strategically scheduled for the day before the launch of the report to tease the report’s findings. This way, invited companies—big and small—were able to learn about what was to come, hear the solutions the report authors offer and be prepared for the influx of reporter and stakeholder inquiries. The briefing allowed business leaders to ask questions and enabled the report authors and partners to offer their support to companies interested in working to decarbonize their financial assets. This gave companies in attendance the opportunity to prepare before the first news article was published.
The Carbon Bankroll was covered in more than a dozen publications, including The New Yorker,The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, American Banker, Fast Company, Protocol, Edie, Business Green, The Verge, Bloomberg, CleanTechnica (twice), Yale Climate Connections, Cointelegraph and Boing Boing. The report also garnered social media traction: One of the tweets by Bill McKibben (renowned environmentalist, author and journalist who wrote The New Yorker article) has been retweeted more than 1,300 times, quoted more than 150 times, and liked more than 2,700 times. His additional posts on the report have garnered more than 500 retweets and 900 likes. In its first five days, the microsite where the report is available had 3,400 visitors, 4,200 pageviews and 1,000 report downloads.
Through this effort, Spitfire combined the collective power of TOPO, CSLN, BankFWD, BusinessFWD, corporate leaders and climate leaders to execute a successful report launch that will have positive implications for our planet for years to come.