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Map of global media coverage of climate change 2004-2010

This is a very interesting chart below on how climate coverage has dipped so much since the end of 2009.

Clearly the spike was very much related to all the heads of state attending the 2009 Copenhagen Summit. But worryingly for us all, despite the uplift then, coverage has still tended to fall away compared with years previous to 2009.

Here’s the chart: (Click on it to enlarge)

So what does this mean for business? A few things I guess.

One is that consumers are less exposed to, (and some surveys show, more sceptical about) climate change coverage.

As a result part of the burden falls on business to continue to communicate climate change mitigation (and adaptation) efforts.

The second is just as important: CEOs will be seeing and hearing less about climate change in the media they consume. Some who were sceptical anyhow, may use that to justify dampening their personal enthusiasm for tackling the subject.

Others will simply let it slide down their priority list, bit by bit, unless their CR and sustainability teams help keep it front of mind.

This calls for CR and sustainability teams to be both innovative in thinking of new ways to maintain that CEO engagement (here’s one way), and to use the efforts by other big firms (some named here) to benchmark against, and show senior management if the firm is falling behind.

In the developing world and emerging markets, stakeholders are generally seen to be more positive about being able to driving change. Where possible companies can look to harness this in 2011.

HSBC, in their Climate Confidence Monitor 2010, reckons that Asia is the most concerned region. 30% of people surveyed in Vietnam and 25% in Hong Kong say it’s their number one concern among global issues.

Your company may not be looking to Vietnam as a priority market right now.

But perhaps campaigns and stakeholder engagement across Asia on climate change might help boost media coverage on the topic.

Pushing environmental communications towards Asia might also persuade governments in the region that action is still very much needed as the 2012 Rio Earth Summit approaches.

As HSBC’s research points out: “On average 38% of people agree that climate change is amongst the biggest issues they worry about. This ranges from 57% in China to 16% in the UK.”

There are more such stats and some compelling research in HSBC’s report.

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