Case Study 22: Manchester is my Planet Pledge Campaign

May 26, 2009

CB_Case22.jpgResidents of Manchester are invited to sign a pledge to take action against climate change

2005-, Manchester

households, citizens


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Summary of the case

The Manchester is my Planet Pledge Campaign is an attitude and behaviour change programme that forms part of the wider Manchester is my Planet Climate Change Programme which has operated across the city-region of Greater Manchester since 2005.

The wide Manchester is my Planet Climate Change Programme evolved from the Manchester: Green Energy Revolution (M:GER) feasibility study which took place took place over 2004-2005.

The Pledge Campaign can be seen as having three distinct phases:

1) Initial Pledge Campaign, August - December 2005
The M:GER feasibility study identified a climate change pledge campaign as a ‘quick win’ to change atti-tudes and ultimately behaviour and build receptivity and support in the community for the changes needed to move towards a low-carbon economy.

This phase saw the development of campaign design, branding and guidelines led by an private communica-tion consultancy Creative Concern, which utilized national climate change communications guidance pro-duced by Futerra on behalf of DEFRA. Funding totaling £160,000 was secured from a variety of partners to run this intensive PR and events focused campaign designed to get 10,000 citizens to sign up to a climate change pledge, culminating in a celebration event.

Significant levels of media coverage were generated through this first phase of the campaign. Collateral was produced including the Manchester is my Planet website, pledge cards, posters, campaign resource packs for use by partners and guidance to support pledgees in meeting their pledge commitment to reduce their CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010.

This phase of the campaign concluded on 1st November 2005 with a major event at Manchester Town Hall to report on the findings of the wider Manchester: Green Energy Revolution study. The event featured a photo-call to celebrate the achievement of the first 10,000 pledges. Follow-up surveys were conducted to assess the effectiveness of the campaign and provide recommendations for further development.

2) Development of Pledge Campaign, November 2005 - February 2008
In late 2005, the Manchester: Green Energy Revolution initiative was formalized as the Manchester is my Planet Programme and a co-ordinator and assistant appointed at Manchester: Knowledge Capital.

The pledge campaign was continued with much lower budgets. However additional project funding totaling £55,000 was secured from DEFRA’s Climate Challenge Fund in September 2006, to undertake climate change commutations work with new and existing pledgees.

This phase saw greater development of the website, production of new marketing collateral. Greater use of local authority partners, affinity deals with private sector businesses and some training of pledgees in climate change communications.

This phase was characterized by lower operating budgets, in-house co-ordination with reduced communica-tion specialist support, and less intense PR activity. Pledge numbers increased from 10,000 to c.18,000 dur-ing this period.

Surveys of public attitudes to climate change were conducted during and after the campaign which demon-strated widespread support for local action on climate change and acknowledgement that individuals through their own actions at home and work had a part to play.

3) Move towards viral communications, March 2008 - present (August 2008)
The end of DEFRA’s Climate Challenge funding, saw a further reduction in climate change communications activity and the development of lower-cost, higher output methods of increasing pledge numbers and wider communications work, under the banner of getting people ‘Switched-on to Climate Change’.

A key change was the move away from paper-based to electronic communication, with a switch to solely e-newsletters. It also saw trials of a Facebook application, a new ‘pledge widget’ for installation in partners websites and a digital creative competition. Pledge numbers during this phase have increased from c.18,000 - c.20,300.

The effects of the Pledge Campaign 2005-08 and wider communications work on the energy related behav-iour of the target group has not been evaluated. An estimate of energy savings, based on the assumption of the 20,000+ pledgees meeting their commitment suggests c.44,600 tonnes of CO2 being saved annually.