Environmental Campaigns Sustainable Transformation Agency Leadership

Why 5 top UK ad agencies are joining forces to help youth fall in love with nature


By Ellen Ormesher, Senior Reporter

November 17, 2023 | 7 min read

Wieden+Kennedy, The&Partnership, Amplify, Leo Burnett and Oliver have seconded talent for a new pop-up ‘agency for nature’ in a bid to tackle eco-anxiety.

A pen draws a nature scene

Creatives say the brief is a chance to rethink adland's approach to climate / Purpose Disruptors

According to a 2022 study by the journal Ambio, Britain ranks bottom for nature connectedness in Europe, meaning that UK citizens measure lowest in their feelings towards the natural world.

The disconnect is supposedly driven by a fast-paced and high-consumption lifestyle that is also contributing to eco-anxiety among young people, as further research by the Woodland Trust connects a lack of green space with 1 in 3 young people feeling scared and sad about the climate crisis.

An initiative spearheaded by ad industry climate collectives Glimpse and Purpose Disruptors wants to help the advertising industry’s transition towards a more sustainable and climate-conscious future by tackling this issue.

The Agency For Nature has been created to focus the advertising industry’s unique talent on counteracting the growing disconnect between humans and the natural world. This disconnect has been proven to be a root cause of climate change, biodiversity loss and a decline in young people’s mental health.

As Ellen Miles, an activist and author of Nature is a Human Right, explains: “Time in nature is as vital to our wellbeing as regular exercise and a healthy diet. But millions are being deprived of access to green spaces, and countless people today don’t feel like nature is for them.

“We need to come together to break down systemic barriers to accessing and enjoying natural spaces and help everyone feel at home in the outdoors. This is not only essential for building our own welfare and resilience, but to secure it for other life on Earth.”

To combat this disconnect, five top UK creative agencies – Wieden + Kennedy, The&Partnership, Amplify, Leo Burnett and Oliver – have put forward 10 rising creatives to create the ‘pop-up’ Agency for Nature. They have been tasked with “creating hype for a nature-connected lifestyle“ as part of a provocative brief where ‘nature’ is the client.

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From today (November 17), The Agency for Nature will meet for an “immersive client induction,“ a spokesperson from Purpose Disruptors explained to The Drum. “They’ll get a deep dive into why we need all hands on deck to crack this problem. We won’t have a brick-and-mortar office with a drinks fridge because we want as much work as possible to happen outdoors. We’ll be carrying out nature-connection exercises with Ellen Miles to immerse the Agency in nature and encourage the cohort to continue this throughout their experience.“

The agency will then work on the brief throughout November and December, with scheduled drop-in sessions to guide the work.

In January, ideas will go into production and delivery. The Agency for Nature campaign and exhibition will launch at the end of February.

Speaking on plans for the future, Purpose Disruptors tell The Drum that the project is “about imagining a role for creativity in the 21st century that’s in service to life on earth,“ adding that it is “just getting started” – a hint that the Agency for Nature is just one of a series of initiatives by the group to aid the ad industry’s sustainable transition.

James Turner, founder of Glimpse, says that it has found that young creatives overwhelmingly want work that matches their values, especially on climate change.

“So we’ve created this agency to help them flex their talent on one of the most pressing challenges of all – rebuilding our broken relationship with nature. Imagine if millions more people were inspired by great advertising to feel deeply connected to nature. Imagine the benefits for the NHS, local communities, climate targets and the wider culture if we can make this happen. That’s the promise we’re aiming for.”

Creatives Sam Collins and Ivan Stanojevic from The&Partnership say they’re thrilled to be a part of the project. “The Planet is a global account and has always been a dream client of ours. Working in an industry that’s often misguidedly in the thrall of social purpose, it’s refreshing to dedicate our energy to briefs with purpose at their core. And since more pixels mean more carbon, we’re hoping we won’t – for the planet’s sake – be asked to make the logo bigger.”

Jennie Mossman, sustainability lead at Amplify, adds: “There is so often a tunnel vision focus solely on carbon emissions that the importance of protecting nature and power of connecting with it is overlooked. This really is a dream brief for the incredible creative teams to tackle and will hopefully provide inspiration for the wider industry to take into our work, helping us to take more collective action and responsibility for a thriving future.”

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