PRCA sets sight on COP26 and misinformation in the climate crisis

THE Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has launched a focused initiative to fight the spread of misinformation, ahead of a bid to promote the importance of ethical communication at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). 

The launch comes as the spread of misinformation continues to pose a significant threat to solving one of humanity’s biggest issues.  

Professional communicators play a vital role in tackling misinformation as well as accurately advising leadership teams across the public, and private and third sectors, on the most effective methods of communicating climate crisis related activity.  

A small strategy group led by Don’t Cry Wolf founder John Brown (pictured) will be delivering on six key objectives:

  1. Arming the public with credible information and tools to tackle misinformation in relation to the climate crisis 
  2. Equipping communications professionals with the knowledge and insight to provide the best possible advice clients and organisations 
  3. Championing genuine UK progress in tackling the climate crisis 
  4. Calling out untruths surrounding the climate crisis 
  5. Lobbying UK government to curb the enablement of misinformation spreading in relation to the climate crisis 
  6. Acting as an authoritative rallying call for organisations and individuals eager to tackle misinformation relating to the climate crisis

Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Brown said, “We have a decade to tackle the climate crisis, and, and according to recent studies, we have a 5 per cent chance of hitting the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Misinformation is one of the most significant threats to tackling this challenge. Through this initiative, we’ll be looking to not just tackle the spread of misinformation, but equip comms professionals with the tools they need to engage in the discussion from a place of confidence and positivity, while helping the public to navigate a polluted debate and focus on what matters.”

The group has partnered with strategic insight agency Opinium to run two separate studies on climate crisis misinformation. The first seeks to evaluate the public’s understanding of misinformation on the climate crisis and the second explores the role of PR professionals in advising clients and organisations on the crisis.

The PRCA is urging members and non-members to complete the survey for PR professionals. Responses will remain anonymous and the data gathered will be used to help shape the group’s Commission’s strategy up to and beyond COP26.  

James Endersby, CEO of Opinium, said, “Misinformation surrounding the climate crisis is a serious issue which needs to be tackled head on and so we are delighted to support the PR and comms industry in taking a lead on this. This survey is vital in helping give context and will inform the creation of an action plan to arm PR and communications professionals on their quest to reduce misinformation surrounding the climate crisis through their work.”

To complete the survey, click here.