In 2022, Edelman mobilized an Independent Counsel of Climate Experts, a group of global leaders representing business, government, science and civil society, to help shape the firm’s actions on climate change. Among the nine inaugural members is Marina Grossi, President of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development, part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. An economist by training, Marina has dedicated her career to advancing sustainability nationally and globally. She has worked at the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, and from 1992 to 2001, served as a climate negotiator for Brazil at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
What inspired you to focus on climate change in your career?
I believe climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity today. To prevent the worst possible impacts, we need to mobilize companies, governments and citizens around a common goal, in addition to behavior change. We need to change the conception of development that we’ve known since the Industrial Revolution, one that is mainly based on fossil fuels as a limitless natural resource, and turn to one that is renewable and sustainable.
I’ve been working on climate change since 1997. Over the last 25 years, I have seen the advance of different actors and increased media interest, but it is not enough. We are still falling short of what we need to do to keep the world to 1.5-degrees Celsius warming. Current commitments will put the world on track for a 2.4C and 2.6C temperature rise by 2100, leading to potentially devastating impacts. I believe the world has today the tools it needs to radically reduce emissions, and with new innovations and technologies, we can keep the world to 1.5C and protect lives and livelihoods.
What motivated you to join Edelman’s Independent Council of Climate Change?
Words can be powerful. We know how we communicate and what we communicate is critical to changing mindsets and behaviors. This is why I joined Edelman’s Independent Council of Climate Experts.
As the president of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development, I work closely with companies across multiple sectors to drive action on a range of sustainability and social impact issues. Businesses know the power of words to affect their most important audiences, from their board to consumers and across their supply chains. They know the right words can open opportunities, and the wrong ones can close them. With clear communications supported by evidence and science, companies can avoid greenwashing and potential litigation. They can tell powerful stories to mobilize their stakeholders around positive climate action and at the same time, be both profitable and sustainable.
What do you hope the Council will achieve?
The Independent Council has nine members who are leaders in business including fast-moving consumer goods, former heads of state and ministers, climate scientists and consultants. I’m honored to be serving alongside them. With these diverse minds and perspectives, it’s my hope that we contribute to making Edelman a force for meaningful climate action---across their diverse client portfolio and within the communications industry at large.
How can communications drive climate action in the Brazilian context?
Brazil has a particularly powerful role to play, and communications can help tell a more powerful and positive story. With a population of more than 218 million people, Brazil has a much cleaner energy matrix than the global average and of course, is blessed with the biggest tropical forest in the world as well as rich biodiversity. While we face some challenges, for example, in protecting our rainforest, we can tell stories about Brazil in the global context that can demonstrate the country’s opportunities, such as innovative projects and potential partnerships that can drive action regionally and globally. It’s fundamental “to separate the sheep from the goats” to leverage the contributions we can offer and move forward on the journey towards a net-zero world, where nature-based solutions can play a leading role.