Identity politics have never been far from the climate change discussion — socially liberal values make a comfortable fit for many environmentalists. But with the climate issue now commanding mainstream attention, new situations present themselves. Surges in Populism have fuelled antagonism from the more resistant audiences. It looks like a climate war. Underneath, however, is a culture war. So maybe for a decisive breakthrough, the climate side could soften on the less directly related radical social justice and do more to highlight the positive real-world benefits of new clean economies and technologies. For an even greater good….

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Photo credit: Eden Hills County Fire Service/Facebook

Conservative conservation

Sir Roger Scruton died recently. A softly-spoken figure with vast mind and radically conservative views, he was in his later years disappeared by a thoughtcrime sting. On climate change, he proposed in his book Green Philosophy that the political Right could make as relevant and imaginative a case as the Left. And when he said that “Conservatism starts from a sentiment… that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created,” it was something with which any environmentalist could agree. …

Brand purpose has for some time been the buzz in marketing discussions and has become synonymous with social causes. But for all the good intent, it can also seem preachy or polarising or rely on simplistic assumptions about people’s views. This article looks at how we got here and suggests that brand purpose should be about sharing opportunities for good, not creating antagonism.

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BRAND PURPOSE (“cause-related marketing”): a brand growing value not only from profit and shareholder return but through the pursuit of a greater social good, built into the brand architecture.

I MAKE no judgement as to whether it would be a good or bad thing, but I do wonder if we are approaching the moment of peak purpose. The augury was when the Association of National Advertisers made “brand purpose” the 2018 Word Of The Year. There can be only one thing worse than an award devoted to a word (or two) and that is winning it. …

In getting people to make clean energy choices, shouldn’t we be making the message more positive, even visceral?

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Photo Credit: Asian Power

NOT THAT I am old enough to remember, but in 1961, my birth town in Yorkshire had the largest electric road-based transit system in the country — an attractive fleet of 132 sky blue trolleybuses, drawing power from overhead wiring whilst riding on conventional rubber tyres, purring around the streets without noise or fumes.

It was not because of environmentalist causes. The urban air of 1961 might have been smoggy with soot and cigarette smoke, but the seas were not clogged up with plastic bottles and discarded condoms, paper cups were a rare modern Americanism, airports were never busy, and no one imagined the globe might warm up. A different heat kept people awake at night: the nuclear arms race between the superpowers. This, not the climate, made for demonstrations in London, documentaries on television, and Etonian-accented safety warnings from the Government. At the UN, Kennedy and Khrushchev were shouting about Cuba, and in that year’s blockbuster film — The Day the Earth Caught Fire — the eponymous event came not from CO2 or Tesco bags but as a result of H-bomb testing. …


David Hopper

Brand Foresight consultant at, a global research strategy agency. Co-author of The Branded Gentry.

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