Newsworks kicks off this vital Cop26 climate conference fortnight with a special ’10 minutes with’. Margaret Jobling is chief marketing officer of NatWest and a recent chair of one of Ad Net Zero’s working groups. Read about what the initiative has achieved so far, what is next to be done and what news brands and journalism bring to the climate fight
Are you going to COP26?
Yes, I’m attending the whole of the first week.
What is Ad Net Zero and why does it matter?
Ad Net Zero is the industry’s initiative to reduce carbon emissions from ad operations to net zero by 2030 and to really harness the power of advertising to create behavioural change.
Firstly, we’ve got a responsibility as an industry to get our own house in order. This means getting to grips with how we work and the carbon that’s involved in that work. It also means the work we’re creating. Advertisers have a massive responsibility to drive consumer behaviour change. It is a collective responsibility; no brand can do solve this in isolation. Climate change is everybody’s problem.
What are you most proud of about the project’s work so far?
I’m proud of the work on many levels. The engagement across the industry is impressive. The 5-point plan is clear and simple but there’s lots more work to do. The collateral is great, and, right now, the new training – the Ad Net Zero Essentials Certificate – is exactly what we need.
Overall, Ad Net Zero is making the complex challenge of climate change one that people in our industry can do practical things about to make a real difference.
What’s the next step?
Measurement. Clear KPIs against each of the actions in the plan. Alongside that, accreditation. The big question to tackle is how do we drive the right outcome as fast as we can through the industry?
Best piece of climate advice you’ve received?
Get going. This advice has a clear link to our creative platform – Tomorrow Begins Today. Wherever you’re at, get started! For brands, understand where your customers really are to best help them. We know that our customers are in very different places on this journey. How do we take everyone along with us?
Why do news brands matter in Ad Net Zero’s mission?
Quite simply, you create movements. Culture change. You write about and shape the zeitgeist. We need the biggest culture change ever when it comes to tackling the issue of the climate.
You’re a climate journalist for a day: what would you cover?
I’d highlight where things are going well. I’d look to showcase the great stuff and focus on the positives with all the learnings that can be shared. Where have we made real progress and why? My goal would be to point to the things that could make a real difference now.
Then, I’d investigate a big issue where collective action is needed. For example, housing stock is a big topic where we can make material impact but what’s the call to action that would make real change happen?
What does journalism bring to the fight against the climate crisis?
Journalism puts it into sharp focus, the good and the bad. It reports the truth. I think this is where people are struggling right now – what is the truth? Illuminate the issue with facts. I’d also ask everyone to remember to be responsible with the effect of your journalism… it can create fear, inertia, panic and do we want that, do we need it?
Who inspires you with their contributions to fighting climate change?
The usual suspects. From a young person, Greta Thunberg. From a big company perspective, Unilever. Inspiration comes at all levels.
You’re organising a dinner party to discuss the biggest climate challenges we face: who’s on your dream invite list?
I’d build a dinner party table filled with people who have the power, the money, and the influence to save the planet. I’d want the leaders of Russia, China, India, and the USA, sat alongside the owners of the big global tech companies plus a handful of heads of the big private equity companies with the challenge of a young voice in the mix too.
I’m looking at inviting guests including Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Satya Nadella and Greta Thunberg. Of course, we’d need a facilitator at the head of the table who could get them all onto the same page when it comes to the action plan. For that role, I’m thinking Oprah.
Away from Ad Net Zero and other work, how do you switch off?
Exercise and cake-making. I’d love to go on Great British Bake-Off. And spending time with my family.
If you weren’t working in your current career, what would you be doing?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a policewoman, then a doctor. Now, I’d love to run a little patisserie. Spend my days having chats with people, while serving them tea and cake.
Gym or gin?
Gin. Always the gin.