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Climate change dominating global activist campaigning - could water be next? New report

Press release September 29, 2009 Politics

Climate change has knocked out every other issue from the environmental activists’ agenda in the last nine months, said a new report on NGO campaigning published today

Climate change has knocked out every other issue from the environmental activists’ agenda in the last nine months, said a new report on NGO campaigning published today. 

The report, Where are NGOs concentrating their campaigning resources?, produced by SIGWatch, the NGO and issues tracking firm, showed campaigning on climate change is running at five times the level of the next most popular issues such as agricultural biotechnology and nuclear energy and ten times more than hitherto top issues like pesticides. Only in South America is action on climate change not a top priority for NGOs. 

“The dominance of climate change in advocacy campaigning reflects a dramatic pivot by the environmental movement and its allies within the last three years, away from traditional environmental concerns,” said Robert Blood, author of the report and director of SIGWatch. “We have also seen a marked acceleration in climate campaigning in the run-up to the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December. After Copenhagen, what will the NGOs do with their campaigning resources? My guess is that they will develop a whole new environmental theme, probably on water footprint, paralleling their campaigns on carbon.”  

After climate change, NGO priorities diverge strongly between North America, Europe, South America and Asia. North American NGOs are most worried about oil and gas drilling, protecting the Arctic, the impact of coal mining and mercury pollution from coal-fired power generation but their European counterparts are more concerned about corporate social responsibility, road building, cattle ranching in rainforests, pesticide residues in food, and storing nuclear waste. South American NGOs are anxious about the environmental impacts of aquaculture, mining, hydro dams, plantation forestry and the impact of resource extraction on indigenous people while Asia-Pacific NGOs have above average concern about palm oil, aquaculture, pesticides in textiles and coral reef conservation. 

Nonetheless green issues dominate everywhere, not least because environmental NGOs are far more numerous and wealthier than their counterparts in human rights, animal rights or third world development. 

SIGWatch also identified issues where campaigning activity is rising fastest across the globe. Top of the list is investment in the arms industry, following by oil sands (tar sands), impact of pesticides on community health, carbon emissions from shipping, nanosilver, and formaldehyde in household products. 

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SIGWatch specializes in global NGO tracking and issues analysis. Headquartered in Freiburg, Germany with partners in the U.S. and Canada, SIGWatch has over 50 clients, nearly all multinational companies, major PR consultancies and high profile industry associations. SIGWatch services are also used by several business and management schools for teaching and academic research.

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Media contact: Robert Blood on [email protected] or +49 176 6257 1577 (Germany)


Contact Robert Blood for a live remote online demonstration of SIGWatch.