Sector: Sustainability

#bakeagainstpoverty: Grayling communicates internationally for social business Vollpension

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The Viennese social business Vollpension actively campaigns against old-age poverty around the world and has launched the #bakeagainstpoverty initiative for this purpose. Now, Grayling’s offices in more than 20 countries worldwide are raising awareness of the initiative through targeted media relations and strategic communications consultancy – all on a pro bono basis.

Old-age poverty and isolation are two growing challenges worldwide that have been massively intensified by the Covid pandemic. In Austria alone, more than 220,000 senior citizens live in old-age poverty, a large proportion of whom are women. The social business Vollpension is not only actively committed to combating this problem in Austria, it also offers a cross-border solution to growing old-age poverty and loneliness with its international baking platform, #bakeagainstpoverty.

Bake around the world

Senior citizens from all over the world can apply until 15th September 2021 to generate income through online baking courses from their kitchen at home, with the added benefit of avoided loneliness during the pandemic and staying in digital contact with other people. The Viennese social business wants to encourage as many senior citizens from as many countries as possible to apply for the “Bake Against Poverty” campaign and will support the participants with training in media and digital skills. The first baking courses will go online at in autumn 2021. Through this international baking platform, Bake Against Poverty offers a cross-border solution to the growing problem of poverty and loneliness among the elderly.

Grayling supports in more than 20 countries

“Old-age poverty is an issue all over the world, even in countries like Austria that have strong social security systems”, said Hannah Lux, one of the founders of Vollpension. “The local Grayling team, plus the agency’s international network, was our preferred partner and the great media response from countries like Spain, the Philippines and even neighbouring Germany confirms that we made the right choice.”

The international hub for the project is in Austria and Grayling’s corporate affairs team of Kilian v. Dallwitz, Michaela Schützinger and Johanna Wenzl coordinates media relations in more than 20 countries, including the USA, UK, China, France, Germany, Spain and Russia, with Grayling’s international offices rolling out activities using their local and cultural know-how.

“Poverty and a lack of digital literacy in old age are among the great challenges of our time and we see it as part of our social responsibility to support this initiative pro bono,” said Grayling Austria CEO Sigrid Krupica. “We are proud to be able to leverage our international network for this client. The successful international roll-out is an impressive demonstration of how relevant the topic is in other countries too.”


For inquiries, please contact


Photo: From left to right: Kilian v. Dallwitz, Sigrid Krupica (both Grayling Austria), Hannah Lux (Co-founder, Vollpension), Johanna Wenzl, Michaela Schützinger (both Grayling Austria), in front: Granny Kathrin from the Vollpension team in Vienna. Copyright: Marvin Strauss.

Grayling reinforces its EU Public Affairs Team with three new hires

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Grayling has announced the appointment of Charles Feld as the new Director and Head of its EU Energy & Environment Practice in Brussels. New Manager Dominik Flikweert and Senior Consultant Otto Ilveskero also joined this month to further reinforce the team’s sustainability credentials.

Charles joins Grayling from the leading worldwide transportation and shipping group CMA CGM, where he represented the company’s European advocacy strategy. Previously, Charles worked in the European Parliament as political adviser to French MEP Philippe Juvin. His professional experience also covers the European Commission and the External Action Service.

Grayling Brussels has further reinforced its EU Energy & Environment Policy Practice with two additional appointments: Manager Dominik Flikweert, joining from LightingEurope with an extensive background in eco-design and energy efficiency and Otto Ilveskero, who has specialist expertise in green finance, renewable energy, and green technologies.

Russell Patten, CEO of Grayling in Belgium, said: “Charles, Dominik and Otto’s appointments further strengthen our already considerable expertise in the field of sustainability – including energy, transport and climate policy, a growing area of focus for us. Their experience and knowledge of specialist policy will bring added value to our clients’ businesses.”

Charles Feld added: “It is an exciting moment to join the Grayling Brussels team in a year that will be key for Europe’s global climate leadership, ahead of the Fit for 55 announcements and COP26. An increasing number of organisations are trying to get their voice heard on the green transition and we have lined-up the perfect team of experts to advise and guide them.”


Charles Feld, Dominik Flikweert and Otto Ilveskero (from left to right).


For further information on the appointments please contact

Creative magic doesn’t exist

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Being a creative is a terrific job.

I can’t think of many other roles where you can have an idea in your head one minute and see it enjoyed by millions the next. Where your ideas can be featured in the newspaper your dad reads, shared in your mates’ WhatsApp group, or appear on a morning breakfast show watched by the nation as they munch their Weetabix.

It’s absolutely great… most of the time.

But sometimes your brain refuses to connect the dots, can’t find that ‘creative magic’ that everyone assumes you have in abundance, or is just a bit too knackered to have ideas.

Sometimes you feel imposter syndrome, leading you to pitch half-heartedly or concede that your idea isn’t good enough.

You need a thick skin.

I’m not here to get a violin out to serenade creatives having a hard time, because there are a million and one jobs that are much harder, but I do think it’s important to shed light on the reality.

I spoke to some creative leaders in the PR industry to find out how they get to an idea – not the poetic version – but the reality.

What happens when you have an off day? What happens if you have an idea without any strategy? What happens if the only idea you have is that one you’ve tried to sell to four different clients already?

The creative process is dead, long live the creative process

Process… not exactly a word that oozes creativity is it?

Well, actually, yes. According to some it is.

Whether consciously, or unconsciously, we all have a process as to how our brains come to an idea.

Some I spoke to said “ideas just fly in before I’ve even finished the brief” whilst others opt for deep-thinking techniques, taking a break from the relentless bombardment of Teams, Slack, WhatsApp or emails to give their minds time to percolate.

Others remove themselves completely from consciously thinking about the problem they want to solve and run a bath or run themselves around the park to try and find an idea.

Some have a more concrete process, from hour long question-storming sessions to ask everything from “the obvious to the down-right illegal”, to a creative system forcing them to look at a series of different and unusual websites for stimulus, or creating an ideas bank so they can study other people’s ideas and, presumably, nick the best bits for themselves.

Environmentally-friendly creative is what it’s all about

Ideas are subjective and many things can turn clients off an idea. From those I spoke to, many echoed the view that: “If you’re passionate about an idea, don’t let that passion die if the first client doesn’t bite your arm off for it”.

One consumer PR creative told me they have ideas that they’ve loved for years and they “Keep evolving the idea and bringing it out of the ideas fridge when the time is right”.

Speaking from my own experience, I’ve always kept ideas stored somewhere (either a Post-It note or on a Google Doc) but I also try to squirrel away interesting photography techniques, arresting images that have made international press, or snapshots on my phone from exhibitions. Upcycling creative works and feeding your brain with consistent stimulus is so important.

However, a word of caution also comes with recycling ideas. One creative warns: “When you hear yourself sell something again it always loses something, so I wouldn’t advocate ramming in the same ideas for years… There’s a reason it hasn’t been bought.”

Allow yourself an off day

Everyone has off days and the pressure of having to be creative all the time can be detrimental if you don’t embrace having a day where you admit that your brain just isn’t ticking (some call it a hangover).

Working under constant pressure isn’t great for a constant flow of good quality ideas. One business leader told me: “The PR and creative industry has increasingly been talking about mental health, but then it’s become standard to juggle several briefs and deadlines, work under pressure and constantly churn out ideas whilst conveying a sense of always being busy”.

They also mentioned that when this happens, they make a conscious effort to recognise their mental capacity and switch off if they’re not in a productive state to generate ideas or solve a problem.

Others mentioned the power of getting outside on off days (nice one, English weather) and when ideas are harder to come by, trying “more walking and talking”.

It’s also worth remembering that this is all a team game and great ideas happen not because of one individual, but because of a collective group with a shared desire to make stuff they’re proud of. As a seasoned professional told me: “An idea never just comes from one person – surround yourself with great people and you’ll always get to great ideas”.

That seems like a good way to end this post.

If you have scored yourself a creative role then embrace it, enjoy it, revel in it but also remember that the best work comes from teamwork, from collaboration and from surrounding yourself with people you learn from.

Creative magic doesn’t exist, but magic creative ideas can. Just find yourself the right environment and the right people to make it happen.


Written by Andy Garner, Creative Director Grayling. This blog post was first published on the PRCA website.

Internal Communications: Your steps towards increased sustainability

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Sustainability is quickly becoming the top priority, as many organisations are redefining and rethinking their purpose.

From a business perspective, those companies that have made a commitment to fight against climate change will have a competitive advantage as society becomes more environmentally aware.

As evidenced by the pandemic, employees feel committed to companies that contribute to improving the environment. Employees want to be part of this project, and we can create a solid working community by training people and encouraging them to help save the planet.

At Grayling we want to do our bit to help companies redefine themselves and implement this new purpose, whilst ensuring employees are involved and can make the project their own. To this end, our team in Spain has developed a comprehensive carbon footprint offsetting programme. This will give employees the opportunity to measure their C02 footprint and, thanks to a specific training course we will offer, we can then develop a monthly plan to reduce their footprints.

Click on this link to learn how we can take steps towards sustainability together.

If you would like to know more, our team in Madrid is happy to advise you. Get in touch with Almudena Rodríguez Tarodo at




All together now: no stopping the New Collectivism

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COVID-19 has accelerated – rather than slowed – the movement towards better business. That was the overwhelming verdict of the expert panel recently brought together by Grayling to discuss the findings of our recent whitepaper New Collectivism: Building Better Business.

Our research found that over two thirds of senior leaders in large companies agree that businesses have a collective responsibility to the societies in which they operate. Underscoring the effect of the pandemic and looking ahead to a crucial COP26 in Glasgow, three quarters of these senior leaders also said that ESG issues would be more important this year.

Commenting on the results of the research panellist and All Together founder Jamie Mitchell maintained that he had expected the pandemic to knock the sustainable business movement off course. Instead, he said, “COVID just revealed the stark inequalities in society in this bleak way, revealed the fragility of the planet in this most clear way – and a new wave of civic leadership appeared from business [as a result].”

He argued that the pandemic has reinforced and accelerated existing arguments and trends around better business: “We seem to be coming out of the pandemic with a universal, singular point of view…which is very exciting.”

For panellist Roksana Ciurysek-Gedir, Chairwoman of the Impact Advisory Board of White Oak Global, the banks and investors who were previously sceptical about sustainability and who advocated the “profit only” model are now also on board. During the discussion, she characterised the old approach as “maximising profit, then throw money to fix environmental problems caused by this approach afterwards.” Now though, almost the entire sector agrees that “the sustainability revolution is the biggest investment opportunity in history. There isn’t a single institutional investor who isn’t talking ESG and impact investing.”

However, according to Ciurysek-Gedir, only measurement and transparency can ensure that businesses are keeping their promises when it comes to sustainability. “We know that if something is not measured, it doesn’t get done.”

Kerry Irwin, Director of Communications, EMEAR at Tetra Pak pointed the role of consumers when it comes to this shift in business thinking. “It’s one of their biggest concerns”, she argued. While responding to this pressure and effecting change across a huge organisation can seem daunting, businesses have to make deliver on what they promise: “even if it’s small steps.” “It requires a full 360 degree change right across the business.”

Dan Mobley is Corporate Relations Director at Diageo. During the webinar, he underlined how the understanding of profit and risk in the business world had dramatically shifted over the course of recent years – particularly for a company that counts some of the world’s oldest brands among its portfolio. “When you’re looking at taking decisions where the payback is decades away, you have to build a sustainable and inclusive business – the cost of inaction is very real.”

However, he cautioned against some of the “utopian” rhetoric around sustainability and warned that trade-offs are inevitable for global businesses. “For example, one of the easier ways to get to net zero is going to be invest in clean technology in rich countries rather than poor ones. Business, governments and civil society have to come together to address these trade-offs because none of us can solve it alone.”

The panellists all agreed that, despite the challenges of driving change across organisations, the time for better business is now – and that the COVID-19 pandemic has only supercharged this drive for sustainability. There really is no stopping the new collectivism.


Please find the full recording of our session on the “New Collectivism” below:


If this is a challenge you recognise within your organisation, Grayling can help. We provide a wide range of expert communications services across Europe, including public affairs, public relations and digital communications. Please don’t hesitate to drop Tom Nutt, Grayling’s Head of Corporate, UK & Europe, an email to learn more.

Let the sunshine in: Transparency is critical ahead of COP26

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Transparency is king. That was the clear message last week from the panellists at Grayling’s first COP26 event of 2021. Neil Thomas, Senior Account Director in our London team, shares the main insights from the event.

The event kicked off a year of action around this year’s climate change conference and brought together a stellar panel featuring Baroness Sue Hayman, CDP’s Global Head of Value Chains Sonya Bhonsle, Quiller’s Deputy CEO Andrew Hammond and BT’s Head of Environmental Sustainability Gabrielle Ginér.

Drawing upon years of combined experience of attending UN Climate Change Conferences, all our panellists agreed that – despite the distraction and disruption of COVID-19 – COP26 is set to be the most important conference ever.

In the last few months, the new Biden administration has injected new energy into the global fight against climate change. Re-joining the Paris Agreement on day one of his presidency, Joe Biden is also expected to announce an enormous infrastructure bill in the coming days which will include huge climate spending. This comes after the other two members of ‘the big three’ – China and the EU – also made big climate change commitments in the last year.

There is also renewed pressure on governments and businesses to act, from above and below. Investors are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to reporting requirements. The global climate strike led by young people around the world and led by the tireless Greta Thunberg has also created immense pressure.

And increasingly, business leaders know action on climate change means good business. Indeed, in research recently carried out by Grayling, 70% of business leaders stated “alongside making a profit, businesses also have a collective responsibility to the societies they operate in”.

In the lead up to the Paris agreement, climate targets by businesses were often half-hearted according to Sonya Bhonsle: “Companies were setting targets in line with what they thought they could do but we’ve seen a change since then from what can we do? to what is necessary?“.

For example, many have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative, which represents a commitment by these businesses to act in line with limiting carbon emissions to a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures.

“Business leaders know this is a moment”, agreed Andrew Hammond.

But what of those companies that have yet to take the first step when it comes to taking meaningful action on climate change and want to engage with COP26?

For Bhonsle, transparency is key.

“We’re still hearing from many companies that, when it comes to disclosing carbon inventory, putting their head above the parapet is scary. By contrast, investors are saying that transparency is key – and anything is better than nothing. No one expects perfection in year one.”

Clearly then, for those brands wanting to demonstrate climate leadership and get involved at COP26, a commitment to disclosing carbon budgets helps build credibility and shows seriousness.

Beyond reporting, how should climate goals be framed – especially at a time when stakeholders are becoming more sceptical after the raft of announcements coming out of many companies in the last year or so?

Quiller’s Andrew Hammond suggested that “it has to be a mix of both”.

“You need the headline initiatives to drive transparency. They also offer a sense of clarity and purpose for the future.

But you also need shorter term initiatives to get there as well. One of the big lessons of the last 5 years is that you can make these pledges, but you need to show granular progress year by year. The key thing that will hopefully come out of Glasgow is making deeper cuts, deeper pledges.”

Telecoms giant BT has a commitment to be net-zero by 2045, and an interim target of cutting carbon emissions by 87% by 2035. Gabrielle Ginér added, “it’s important to have those interim targets so companies can demonstrate to how they’re getting on along the way – and the barriers that they face in order to reach them.”

When it comes to companies that are still on the fence about taking meaningful action on carbon emissions, the window of opportunity is closing. For Baroness Hayman, “The future of climate change action is from the bottom-up. It has to be that way, otherwise people – and especially young people who are by far and away the most engaged in climate issues – won’t buy into it.”

Are you looking to engage with COP26? Contact or to see how we could help you make your mark at this year’s critical UN Climate Change Conference.

Grayling nets full service European brief for plant-based seafood brand Good Catch®

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Grayling has been appointed to work with American plant-based seafood brand Good Catch as its first European-wide agency partner, following a competitive pitch. With a remit spanning emerging markets across Europe, including the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain, Grayling will deliver consumer and trade campaigns to increase brand awareness and advocacy across the region.

Ahead of what is set to be a defining year for sustainability and climate action, Grayling will be working with the Good Catch team on a strategy to win the approval of flexitarian consumers in Europe, where nearly a quarter of the population are already actively reducing their meat intake. Its European network, coordinated by Grayling’s London consumer team, will also support the brand’s distribution expansion in both retail and food service.

Already an award-winning favourite in the US and Canada, Good Catch has significant backing from celebrities and investors. Founded by plant-based chef brothers Chad and Derek Sarno, the brand has attracted celebrity investors including Paris Hilton, actor Woody Harrelson, and pop star Lance Bass. With experts predicting that the European plant-based market will be worth €7.5 billion by 2025, the expansion is perfectly timed to meet the needs of over 2.6 million plant-based eaters in the region – a figure which has doubled in just four years.

Grayling UK’s consumer practice has extensive retail, food and foodservice experience. Recent wins include Cathedral City cheese and Country Life butter, as well as delivering campaigns across Europe for household brands such as M&S, Red Bull, Open Table, Nestlé and Oppo ice cream. The account will also benefit from Grayling’s heritage in deploying global hub models to allow for multi-market execution at scale for clients such as dating app Badoo, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Amadeus.

Sarah Scholefield, Global CEO, Grayling said:
“We are thrilled to be working with Good Catch as its first European-wide agency partner. Our extensive European network and experience in the food sector means we are well placed to support Good Catch at this exciting time, as it extends its footprint internationally. Prioritising health, wellness and the world around us has never been as critical as it is today, so we are delighted to be part of the Good Catch journey.”

Scott Simons, Snr. Vice President Marketing & Communications at Good Catch Foods said:
“The Grayling team offer what we needed; a strong focus and expertise on the European market specifically and a demonstrated desire to deeply understand our category. We’re enthusiastic about our European expansion and very happy to be partnering with Grayling.”

Global IR Survey: Nearly 80% increase in ESG-related questions from investors

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Citigate Dewe Rogerson x Grayling have released results of the 12th annual investor relations survey. 377 Investors Relations Officers worldwide contributed to our survey, representing companies from 55 countries, with a combined market value of over $3 trillion.
This year, the report specifically sought to identify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communications practices and investor relations, as well as the growing importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance).
Key findings

  • Increased caution and transparency on the part of IR teams in the context of a global pandemic – nearly 80% of IROs report an increase in ESG-related questions from investors, with 27% reporting a significant increase in such questions.
  • Links between annual report issuers and investors have been strengthened despite disrupted modes of interaction – 37% have issued statements to the market more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The quality of extra-financial communication is at the heart of IR teams’ priorities due to investors’ growing need for information – 69% intend to improve ESG disclosure over the coming year
  • The main challenge of ESG reporting: messages that are not yet integrated into traditional financial communication result in ESG arguments that are often underdeveloped and, therefore, not yet widely marketed to investors.

Download the full report here.
Contact us: Lucia Domville, Managing Director, Grayling US.

What to expect from the EU Farm to Fork strategy

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On 20 May 2020 the European Commission published its landmark “Farm to Fork” strategy.

At the heart of the European Green Deal, the strategy aims to promote the transition to sustainable food systems in Europe, taking a universal approach, from food production to consumption, to achieve – according to the Commission – “healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet”.

For a more detailed analysis please see Grayling’s Policy Briefing here, and of course if you have any questions or want to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact us at