Chief executives and founders from a string of major UK agencies have signed an open letter calling on the industry to support action against the global climate crisis by allowing their employees to take time out from work to join the Global Climate Strike on Friday 20 September.
The signatories include Katie Lee, chief executive of Lucky Generals; Ian Millner, chief executive of Iris; Bill Scott, chief executive of Droga5 London; Neil Christie, Wieden & Kennedy London chief executive; Natalie Graeme, Nils Leonard and Lucy Jameson, founders of Uncommon Creative Studio; Jenny Biggam, owner of the7stars; and Andrew Stephens, co-founder of Goodstuff Communications.
Leaders of 25 other agencies have also signed the letter and the organisers are calling for others to do the same by signing up here.
The Global Climate Strike is being led by Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, with organisations including the Campaign Against Climate Change and the UK Student Climate Network, and comes three days ahead of a United Nations climate action summit in New York.
As well as calling for people in the industry to take part in the strike, signatories to the letter have launched "Create and strike", an open brief calling on creatives to use their talent to "create a sign, a blimp, something" to support the messaging. UKSCN and a panel of top creatives will shortlist and award the most impactful ideas.
The brief reads: "If you truly believe that our industry has the power to enact change, then walk away from your desk and use your creativity to get their [millions of young people striking] message heard."
In addition to the "Create and strike" competition, the group will be hosting creative workshops in London during the week leading up to the day of the strike.
Ben Essen, chief strategy officer at Iris, said: "The time will come when we have to look our children in the eyes and tell them what we did to protect their future from climate armageddon.
"Young people have asked us, the adults, to support them at the Global Climate Strike and we have generated ‘Create and strike’ in response. It’s time for us as leaders to stop sitting on the fence and start making ourselves accountable."
The open letter in full
Dear Creative Industries,
We are in a climate emergency. What are we going to do to help?
We, the signatories of this letter, support the Global Climate Strike that is happening on Friday 20 September, organised by Greta Thunberg and thousands of youth organisations around the world.
The Global Climate Strike will see millions of young people out on the street, demanding an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for all.
These are the most important voices in the world today, and they have asked the adults to support them. We believe that our industry has the power to enact positive change, and we believe it is our duty to use our creative talents and resources to support the young people’s message.
As a signatory, I commit to giving my employees the opportunity to take the time to:
Join the strike on September 20.
Make something that amplifies the climate emergency message at the strikes
Young people have asked for our help, and this is a clear opportunity to take advantage of what we are great at and to make a significant difference to the defining issue of our time.
This initiative, Create and Strike, has been generated by individuals from competing creative companies united in our desire to help address the climate emergency. As an incentive to participate, the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) and a panel of creative luminaries will shortlist the most impactful ideas. We are hosting create and make workshops in London during the week leading up to Friday 20 September.
Ian Millner, CEO, Iris
Katie Lee, CEO, Lucky Generals
Natalie Graeme, Nils Leonard and Lucy Jameson, co-founders, Uncommon Creative Studio
Bill Scott, CEO, Droga5 London
Jeremy Hine, CEO, MullenLowe London
Camilla Harrisson, CEO and partner, Anomaly
Neil Henderson, CEO, St Luke's
Claire Hynes, CEO, Mr President
Peter Zillig, CEO, Cheil London
Jonathan Trimble, CEO, And Rising
Jason Cobbold, CEO, BMB
Kit Altin, CSO, The Gate
John Quarrey, founder, Krow Communications
Alex Lewis and Pete Bardell, co-founders, Revolt
Alex Goat, CEO, Livity
Simon Glover, CEO, Odd
Solitaire Townsend, co-founder, Futerra
Emma Tozer and Jake Dubbins, co-founders, Media Bounty
Jenny Biggam, owner, The7stars
Jane McDaid, founder, Thinkhouse
Chris Page, founder, Jelly/Three Blind Mice
Asad Dhunna, founder, The Unmistakables
Neil Christie, CEO, Wieden & Kennedy London
Tom Tapper, founder, Nice and Serious
Jonny Madderson and Jono Stevens, founders, Just So
Juliette Larthe, co-founding partner, Pretty Bird
Sara Tate, CEO, TBWA\London
Margo Mars, founder, LIEF
Aimee Luther, managing director, Europe, Fortnight Collective
Ed Brooke, head, Leith
Andrew Stephens, co-founder, Goodstuff Communications
Karen Martin, managing director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty