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June 1, 2023 //  //       //  Opinion

Supporting Grassroots Activism Through Compelling Storytelling

For the past 18 years, Allison+Partners has supported the Goldman Environmental Foundation, an incredible nonprofit organization that honors the work of ordinary people who take extraordinary actions to protect our planet through an annual prize. This year’s Goldman Environmental Prize winners — each representing a different inhabited continent of the world — impacted tangible large-scale changes through their grassroots efforts to conserve their own corners of the world.  

Breaking through an ever-complicated and crowded news landscape to share these awe-inspiring individuals’ stories, the Allison+Partners team identified common storytelling threads based on pressing climate and environmental topics, resulting in more than 1,000 pieces of coverage globally. Below are a few examples of the themes highlighted in coverage:

Protecting Biodiversity 

It is increasingly apparent how essential biodiversity is to the existence and proper functionality of all ecosystems. It is also critical to demonstrate how extractive processes, such as peat mining, overfishing and deforestation, eliminate critical components of our environments. Two of this year’s prize winners — Zafer Kizilkaya from Turkey and Tero Mustonen from Finland — championed biodiversity on a wide-ranging scale, from expanding Turkey’s network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along 310 miles of Mediterranean Coast to protecting peat marshlands, which hold some of the largest carbon stores on Earth and are paramount players in the time-sensitive fight against climate change. 

Holding Industrial Polluters Accountable 

Governments can be held accountable for climate inaction based on standards from the IPCC, but fewer mechanisms are in place for holding corporations, much of whose impact has resulted in the damage of critical ecosystems that serve as natural climate regulators. This year’s prize winners demonstrated unparalleled bravery and resilience by standing up to corporations, resulting in groundbreaking legal victories for the planet and their local communities. Two examples are Zambia’s Chilekwa Mumba, who took on British mining company Vedanta Resources for its harmful mining practices in Zambia and set a legal precedent in the U.K. Supreme Court, and Texas’ Diane Wilson, who won a landmark case against Formosa Plastics, resulting in the largest settlement in the history of the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Championing Indigenous Communities 

During COP27, conversation around loss and damage highlighted that global indigenous communities are often on the frontlines of climate change and nations and corporate entities must seriously evaluate extractive practices’ impact on these communities. The 2023 prize winners Delima Silalahi from Indonesia and Alessandra Korap Munduruku from Brazil achieved landmark wins to ensure their respective communities — the Tano Batak community in North Sumatra and the Munduruku people in the state of Para in Northern Brazil — are seen and heard within the climate conversation, preserving indigenous lands that are significant not only environmentally, but culturally, to so many. 

Finding the Common Threads 

Each of the individuals celebrated by the prize this year has an incredibly unique and complex story that led them to receiving this “Green Nobel” recognition. Identifying the common threads within their stories allowed us to create compelling narratives that resonated with some of the largest news drivers in the environmental justice and climate protection spaces while also allowing us to share the amazing human interest stories behind each of their accomplishments. 

On behalf of the entire Allison+Partners team, it was an honor to tell these stories and celebrate these environmental wins for our planet. 

We hope you will take a moment to read through some of the news stories that capture the essence of these incredible achievements and feel inspired by the future being created by grassroots activists like this year’s prize winners. 

Cassie is an account manager based in Allison+Partner’s San Francisco office with a passion for purpose-driven work. As a member of the agency’s Purpose Center of Excellence, she supports social impact storytelling for a variety of brands spanning consumer lifestyle products, nonprofit organizations, technology companies and beyond. 

During her eight years at Allison+Partners, Katy has worked with startups to mid-sized and global Fortune 500 companies across the London and San Francisco offices. With a background in the non-profit world prior to agency life, she has a keen interest in purpose, sustainability, social impact, DE&I and the outdoors, and applies her passion to deliver impactful storytelling for the brands she works with. In her role as vice president, she leads initiatives within the agency’s Purpose Center of Excellence, seeks out climate-focused new business opportunities, builds strategic thought leadership platforms and oversees teams to drive impactful results for brands committed to building a sustainable future. She holds a BA in psychology and fine art from Newcastle University.

Emily is a vice president at Allison+Partners. Her fresh perspective and resourceful nature have made her a natural fit for clients desiring a high-level approach with detailed execution. With a background in purpose-driven brands, food technology and agriculture, she has executed campaigns that shape the conversation and culture of her clients’ key markets. Fostering collaborative partnerships with stakeholders, spotting unexpected opportunities and managing workflow are additional strengths Emily brings to the table. Emily's work has spanned from food and technology to sustainability and social impact, having lead programs for the Goldman Environmental Prize, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Lymphoma Research Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Seattle Goodwill. She has provided communications counsel to a number of consumer brands including Upward Farms, Bowery Farming, Impossible Foods, Driscoll's, Danone North America, Safe Catch Tuna, Stasher, Rainier Beer, Olympia Beer, Samsung, and Walmart.

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