Olympic sponsor EDF Energy asked Weber Shandwick to get British people involved in a summer of inspirational Olympic-inspired activities as part of its Team Green Britain initiative to lower the country’s carbon footprint. Consumers and journalists embraced Green Britain Day, and almost one million people were inspired to pledge that they would take action for a greener future for the UK.

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers, and the largest producer of low-carbon energy in the UK. It is also the first sustainability partner of the London 2012 Olympics.

In 2009, EDF created the Team Green Britain initiative to use its sponsorship of the Olympics to inspire people across the country to change their behaviour. The long-term aim is for Team Green Britain to motivate people to take action that will contribute to a lower carbon footprint for Britain.

Weber Shandwick was brought on board in 2010 to encourage everyone in the UK to think and act green, and take part in a summer of inspiring activities culminating in Green Britain Day on June 17. The aim was to create a high-impact campaign supported with media partnerships to get hundreds of thousands of adults and children involved.

The objectives:
• Get 750,000 people to sign up to www.teamgreenbritain.org
• Raise awareness of EDF Energy as the sustainability partner of London 2012
• Achieve positive media coverage throughout summer 2010.

The first challenge for the team was to ensure that the media were on-side from the start of the campaign, since the first Green Britain Day in 2009 had been labelled by some cynics as mere corporate ‘greenwashing’. To reinforce EDF Energy’s environmental credentials, a series of briefings were held with influential journalists, and EDF’s Sustainability Commitments were announced before the launch of Green Britain Day.

As well as targeting national, regional, broadcast and online media, EDF wanted to generate coverage in women’s lifestyle magazines such as Hello! and Grazia. As part of the strategy, Green Britain Day ambassadors including model Danielle Lineker, singer Jamelia and DJ and presenter Lauren Laverne were set eco-challenges across the course of a week to create content. This was used above the line, across print and digital partnerships and culminated in an advert which aired on ITV’s News at 10 on Green Britain Day. The challenges also formed the basis for lifestyle editorial in women’s magazines.

On Green Britain Day, June 17, pledges from hundreds of children, Olympians and celebrities were presented to the energy minister. The Metro newspaper in London turned its masthead green, and Olympic and Paralympic athletes visited schools and planted trees.

During Bike Week (19-27 June), the biggest cycling event in the UK, 500,000 people took part in 1,900 events, including festivals, commuter challenges and family rides. Olympic cyclist and team green Britain ambassador Victoria Pendleton delivered locally-sourced strawberries to people queuing for the Wimbledon tennis championships.

The team also worked with Imperial College London to create the ‘LEAF Index’, ranking European countries by their carbon emissions output.

The finale was The Big Lunch, in partnership with The Eden Project, where communities across the UK came together for picnics and street parties, with a specially-created playlist of music.

The campaign inspired and motivated adults and children across the UK to get involved with green activities. The team smashed the target of getting 750,000 people to pledge to reduce their carbon footprint: almost one million people have now promised to change their behaviour on www.teamgreenbritain.org.

Team Green Britain 2010 also succeeded in delivering a far higher percentage of positive coverage of Green Britain Day compared with 2009. Negative coverage was down from 11.5% in 2009 to just 1.5%, with the remaining 98.5% positive.

Two-thirds of the 566 articles were EDF Energy-branded, and coverage of EDF appeared for the first time in women’s magazines including Hello!, Company, Grazia and Woman & Home. The campaign had a reach of 225m, and delivered £1.75mn AVE. The coverage included 12 items on national television compared to just three in 2009.

The campaign also met the objective of raising awareness of EDF as an Olympic sponsor: spontaneous awareness of EDF Energy as the most recalled Olympic sponsor rose by 7%, against a target of 5%.

EDF Energy’s Brand, Sustainability & External Communications Director Andrew Brown said: ‘A big thank you for the terrific contribution of the Weber Shandwick team in making Green Britain Day such a great success. We have all been very impressed by your dedication, commitment and passion. And this is only just the start! It’s an early indication of what great things we can all achieve together in the coming years.’