The Case for Common Narratives around Climate Change

The media plays a vital role in shaping our understanding of truths. Their high-quality, fact-checked information and analysis enables narratives to emerge, giving much needed insight in times of intense change like ours.

Creating a common narrative around climate change has been a challenge. The subject requires expertise that newsrooms have had to develop and refine in record time. There is also a sense of urgency: if the subject isn't rapidly better understood by the public, how can consensus emerge between different entities in society, like business and government, consumers and producers?

On the ground and in the field, many scientific, economic and government actors are already part of a multi-sector approach to climate change. "Solutions won't only come from state level commitments in December (for COP 21), but also from projects developed by economic actors. Contrary to common beliefs, there are many concrete ideas (...) for more environmentally sustainable economic development", explained Dominique Seux, Deputy Chief Editor at Les Echos, the leading French business publication, last December.

The common story that is being written on how business can adapt to climate issues will be given centre stage on November 4th. Twenty prominent business papers are part of an alliance called Solutions&Co, that will publish and share fifty stories about effective, up and running solutions to climate change. They aim to reach a collective audience of some five million people with stories about viable business solutions to climate change. This year the focus is on cities, the economic hubs of the world.

"Progress is a consequence of knowledge"

As underlined by Hans-Jürgen Jakobs, former Editor in Chief of Handelsblatt and current Senior Editor, "to fight pollution and climate change it is necessary to join forces. This concerns journalists, too. So we're acting in a way, we can do best: explore and share information. Progress is a consequence of knowledge." These beliefs, and an underlying commitment to bring prominent newsrooms together to produce solutions journalism in a collaborative way, is what drives Sparknews, the social startup behind Solutions&Co.

If knowledge is one of the cornerstones of progress, sharing across cultures, languages and geographies is imperative. Speaking on why such an alliance could make sense for a Pan-African publication like African Business, Editor Lanre Akinola was quite direct. "Despite accounting for a tiny fraction of global emissions, Africa looks set to bear the brunt of the impact of climate change at a time of renewed hope and optimism about its economic potential. Solutions&Co offers a unique platform to raise awareness of the many ideas and projects out there which are helping to address this fundamental challenge in the 21st century."

The strength of the alliance resides in its reach and maybe more importantly, the representativity of perspectives from around the world. Stories and solutions from every continent are shared and cross published by media from Europe (France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Spain, Russia), to Asia (India, China, Hong Kong), the Americas (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Canada) and Africa and MENA (Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia). Each of these countries and audiences has its own experience of climate change, business and cities. Each has stories to tell.

Sparknews' experience with solutions reporting and international alliances shows time after time that media partners are aware of their unique position. Their voice carries far, telling stories that can inspire others to act, showing that many are already leading by example and demonstrating the extremely contrasted approaches to solving today's problems.

At the end of the day, that's exactly what journalists aim to do. Tell the best possible stories - checked, reviewed and following strict rules for integrity - to the widest audience, in the hopes that the the world seems more comprehensible.

For more information about Solutions&Co, visit:
This year's 20 media partners are African Business (pan-Africa), Valor Economico (Brazil), Les Affaires (Canada), Pulso (Chile), China Business News (China), Portafolio (Colombia), Les Echos (France), Handelsblatt (Germany), The Hong Kong Economic Journal (Hong Kong), Nova 24 (Italy), Hindu Business Line (India), Lëtzebuerger Journal (Luxemburg), El Economista (Mexico), L'Economiste (Morocco), Business Day (Ghana & Nigeria), Kommersant (Russia), Al Eqtisadiah (Saudi Arabia), Cinco Dias (Spain), Business Day (South Africa), Financial Times (UK).

By Melie Aboul-Nasr