After a squirrely career path, Solitaire Townsend found her role in the sustainability movement by filling a big communication gap: she’s persuasive, an excellent storyteller, and loves talking to people. Today, she lives and breathes public relations for good as co-founder and Chief Solutionist at her company Futerra. There, she’s led sustainability planning with name-brand organizations from the United Nations to Formula 1.
But she’s also in a fight with her own industry. Solitaire is working hard to get her colleagues in PR, marketing, and advertising to stop using their talents for the objectives of fossil fuel clients
In this episode, you’ll hear about a crisis we rarely hear about: how, using the powers of storytelling and persuasion, the fossil fuel industry has been outsmarting the climate movement. And you’ll learn how Solitaire and her team began applying sophisticated storytelling strategies to sustainability before it was cool; ways you can use your talents to get a climate-fighting job in the creative services industry; or create a career in sustainability at the job you have right now.
Solitaire is a renowned sustainability expert who works with some of the world’s most influential organizations. She is co-founder and Chief Solutionist at Futerra and trustee of the Solutions Union. In 2023 she was named ‘Agency Lead of the Year’ at Adweek’s Sustainability Awards. Her popular TED Talk, Forbes column and most recent book – The Solutionists: How Businesses Can Fix the Future – are available online.
Resources from this episode
- Learn about Futerra’s projects, including climate campaigns, sustainability training for businesses, and products incubator.
- Watch Solitaire’s 2021 TED Talk: Are ad agencies, PR firms and lobbyists destroying the climate?
- Check out Futerra’s web series, Solutions House. The series includes debates, presentations, and workshops — all with the motto of “Answers Only.”
- Read Solitaire’s latest book, The Solutionists: How Businesses Can Fix the Future, and her previous book, The Happy Hero: How to Change Your Life by Changing the World.
- Follow Solitaire’s column in Forbes.
PR & Climate must-reads:
- How PR companies hurt the climate
- Former PR executive Christine Arena’s 2023 congressional testimony
- ”Clean creatives” campaign pushing PR firms to fire their fossil fuel clients
- Fossil fuel companies are paying influencers
- The House Natural Resource Committee’s hearing about the role of public relations firms in preventing climate action
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