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Get To Know Kim Stengert, Chief Strategic Communication and External Relations, WWF-Singapore

World Wide Fund for Nature, Singapore: Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged

Kim, welcome to Marketing In Asia. I am so excited to talk to you about the upcoming Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged. Before we get into that, let our readers know a little bit more about you. 

Hi, I’m Kim and I head strategic communications and external relations for WWF in Singapore. I believe that communication is about impact. At WWF-Singapore, our campaigns always have a strategy-led, targeted approach to creating real conservation impact by changing consumer behaviour, government-led policies or business practices. 

WWF is the world’s largest conservation organization and has been around for 58 years.  Walk us through how the organization first started, Kim and how it has grown to be where it is now.

WWF was initially started with a vision to protect iconic wildlife species, and remains best known for our work with wildlife. Since then, WWF’s mission has evolved in line with the changing nature of conservation. We cannot protect wildlife species without protecting the natural environments that they live in. Furthermore, no solution is truly effective over the long term without addressing the root cause of environmental threats: unsustainable demand for our natural resources. 

Building on Singapore’s strengths as a regional financial hub and globalised consumer markets, we have an opportunity to redefine sustainability in an urban context. WWF-Singapore’s impact comes from working with communities in our schools and heartlands, partnering the financial and corporate sector, mobilising tens of thousands for action, and investing in fieldwork around the region. 

For those not familiar, what is Earth Hour, Kim?

Earth Hour is the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment. For more than ten years now, Earth Hour has inspired people in over 180 countries and territories to commit to environmental change. With nature loss continuing unabated, Earth Hour draws attention to the immediate need for halting nature and biodiversity loss for our health and well-being. 

What do you hope to achieve from Earth Hour 2020?

This is a crucial year for the environment. Governments are set to make major decisions on climate, nature and development. For Singapore this is also the year we will be electing our leaders. There is no better time than now for people in Singapore to make nature matter to our decision makers. 

This is why this year, in conjunction with Earth Hour, we’ve teamed up with like-minded individuals and environmental groups in Singapore to provide a platform for people in Singapore to voice out their aspirations for the future they want. As people around the world unite for Earth Hour, in Singapore we are sending a louder message than ever that nature needs to be protected. We are doing this in the form of an open letter that is written for Singapore, by Singapore. And the letter will be addressed to decision makers across Singapore – those in our governments, businesses, institutions and communities. 

The Earth Hour has been commemorated in the Lion City for 9 years and this year’s event is going to be the first ever to be digitally live streamed; of course, this is due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. How receptive do you think the audience will be, having to witness the event through this medium?

With more people choosing to stay home during this public health emergency, our decision to go digital offers more accessibility for people to join the Earth Hour movement.

Going digital allows us to tap into the full potential of online campaigning. This is an intuitive move for us given that WWF-Singapore’s campaigns have always had a digitally-focused call to action – whether it is an email to a brand or an online petition.

For Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged we are working with influencers and changemakers with strong online communities to bring the message and awareness to more people. With the livestream taking place entirely on earthhour.sg, we are able to have the message and call to action easily accessible for anyone that views it – a short scroll down allows one to sign an open letter to Singapore after learning about it during the livestream. 

You have an amazing line-up of celebrities and local changemakers making their appearances on Earth Hour 2020. How was the general reaction when the idea of going digitally livestream was presented to them?

Everyone has been overwhelmingly supportive. The switch to digital required plans to be changed and new arrangements to be made – and everyone came together to make it happen. In fact, Paul Foster – who is one of the hosts along with Charmaine Yee and Angelique Teo – worked with us on shaping up what the livestream and open letter could look like. Preetipls and Subhas created a song called Planetary Duo inspired by Earth Hour and the campaign. Local environmental groups came together to support the single message for change. This embodies the spirit of Earth Hour – people putting aside our differences for the one moment where we take a stand for nature and the planet. 

There is a one hour “Lights Out” moment on March 28, which I am truly looking forward to; one-ness, solidarity and of course, an hour of rest for our planet. How much of Singapore do you think will take part in this, Kim?

Earth Hour is a movement that belongs to people across the world, including Singapore. As recognition for the need to protect biodiversity and put a stop to climate change grows, the movement will only get stronger. 

This Earth Hour, over 100 landmarks are preparing to switch off to show their support for the movement, sending a collective message of solidarity for the planet. This includes iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Tokyo Skytree, Brandenburg Gate, the Colosseum in Rome, Taipei 101, the Petronas Twin Towers, the Ali Qapu Palace, the Akropolis, Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong and many more.

Tell us about the Open Letter To Singapore initiative.

The Open Letter to Singapore is a platform for people to voice support for nature and the future they envision. Recognising the crucial role that systemic intervention plays in advancing scaled and sustained environmental change alongside individual action, the Open Letter is addressed to Singapore’s political leaders, businesses, institutions and schools. This initiative rallies Singaporeans to safeguard Singapore’s future by calling for improved environmental policies and business practices nationwide. Let them here your voice via Open Letter to Singapore: Write Your Future Now.

More and more people are now aware of the importance to safeguard the world’s biodiversity and conservation. What have your strategies been to ensure maximum outreach?

The science is clearer than ever, but it has to also be accessible and relatable. Successful advocacy is about community building and it’s important to engage people long term and with the right message throughout a journey of touch points. 

We are seeing an unprecedented groundswell of awareness and support for environmental change globally. A key reason for that is that the movement has become easier to follow. People are experiencing the tangible impacts of climate change or nature loss. Think air pollution,  temperature increase, plastic polluted rivers and beaches. People also understand that individual choices are important, but cannot adequately address the crisis at hand – unless supported by bold action of businesses and governments.  

For those who wish to know more about WWF or the Earth Hour 2020, where can they find the information?

Tune in to the Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged digital livestream happening on 28 March 2020, from 5.30pm-8.30pm, at earthhour.sg. While you are at it, join many others that have already done so by adding your voice to the Open Letter for Singapore

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Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen is the Marketing In Asia's Editor for Singapore. She is also a certified Image Branding & Lifestyle Consultant. Born in Singapore and blessed to have lived in a couple of other amazing cities in the world, Anjalika is currently expatriating in Kuala Lumpur. Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram. You may also reach her by email at anjalika@marketinginasia.com.

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