Cognito research: Media coverage of climate finance and ESG surging 50% annually

Cognito today has published a new report on the communications around the topic of climate transition. This is the second piece of research we have produced with a specific focus on ESG communications.

The report showed us that media coverage of climate transition, sustainable finance and ESG is soaring, while pressure builds for financial institutions and other businesses to communicate better on the tangible corporate action behind climate transition and the drive to net zero.

Other key findings included:

  • Mentions of ESG and sustainable finance grew over 50% in major media outlets in 2021 over the previous year​​​​​
  • Mentions of ‘climate transition’ however rose much faster – 135% – over the same period, with particularly large increases in relation to the banking, insurance and energy sectors.
  • Coverage of solutions focused on the net zero transition – ranging from carbon allowances and offsets to hydrogen – rose by more than 50% on average and in some cases, over 300%.

What was clear is this: media attention on climate transition has reached a new level, and is still increasing. With more coverage comes more noise, but we see an opening for companies and institutions to tell increasingly granular and authentic stories about their role in the transition.

We also heard time and time again during our research about the challenges of reporting and communicating stories on the green transition. Our report is designed as a guide for creating the dialogue that leads to meaningful change in the financial industry and beyond.

When writing the report, we wanted to create a useful snapshot in time that felt suitably global. We analysed over 25,000 articles from 20 major media publications and interviewed dozens of reporters, PR professionals and business leads.

We hope you enjoy reading it and can learn some new ideas for 2022, 2023 and beyond, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to discuss it.

Charlie Morrow, Director and Jon Schubin, Director
Report co-authors, Cognito’s London office


Download report here.

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