Inside Mission North’s Sustainability Practice: Ingenuity, Mobilization and Transparency

Sustainability practice icons

Our mission: To design a healthier relationship between people and the planet.

Our goal: To help businesses reverse the course of climate change and build environmentally-positive systems.

Our current clients include

We have also worked with:

How we help our clients:

The Green Gold Rush is Here and Accelerating

Climate change impacts everyone on the planet. As we all face tangible, often life-changing, consequences, we are also seeing new innovations and fresh thinking emerge to tackle elements of the world’s most urgent problem. Our clients are rising to the challenge and helping to reinvent trillion-dollar industries across food, energy, transportation and manufacturing. This is the driver for our Sustainability practice where we are formalizing and building on the climate change work we’ve already been doing in partnership with our clients. We help to make complex topics more accessible to non-technical audiences and inspire action, while connecting the dots from technologies to economic realities.

The opportunity to make more serious inroads into climate change has just grown much bigger. The recent Inflation Reduction Act is the most important climate bill in U.S. history with a promise to triple clean power generation and turbocharge the energy transition. The bill has the potential to lift virtually all parts of the sector by making expensive new technologies less costly. It’s set to accelerate the deployment of mature technologies like electric vehicles (EVs) and solar and wind power, while also bringing new capital to areas still too risky for most VCs.

Trying to solve the climate crisis was already big business before the debut of the new bill. In 2021, corporate venture funds invested $23.2 billion in businesses in the climate technology sector—more than double compared to the previous year. Most recently, Toyota, Honda and Ford each poured billions of dollars into new domestic battery production facilities to support their own EV market push.

While the infusion of cash and interest is great news especially for climate tech companies, more money can mean more problems—the competition for mindshare. That’s where Mission North comes in. Our audience-centric, integrated strategies help companies elevate their positioning from a focus on their technologies to the impact of those solutions, reinforcing how they are a pivotal piece of the solution to move towards a healthier Earth. 

<split-lines>"While the infusion of cash and interest is great news especially for climate tech companies, more money can mean more problems—the competition for mindshare."<split-lines>

Companies Need to Inspire and Avoid Greenwashing

Customers are using sustainability as a metric for decision making—within both B2B and B2C worlds. Sustainability is now an inherent part of the procurement process. Every organization is laying claim to a sustainability narrative. This creates confusion around what is legitimately helping the planet versus what can best be described as noise. Greenwashing abounds and is receiving increasing backlash, including legal action.

Transparency is the antidote to this confusion. Mission North works with companies to engrain transparency into the foundation of their messaging and across their storytelling. We help our clients show rather than tell, using a mix of clear proof points, inspiring examples and human-centric stories that come to life across channels.

Climate tech companies are often too in the weeds of their ingenious inventions or glossing over the details with lofty, generic language to check ‘green’ boxes. The result is that audiences are either lost or turned off. We help our clients demystify their technologies, establish trust and clarify their impact roadmap so people can see the way ahead and understand how it will improve their lives.

Future-focused industries like climate tech confront shared storytelling challenges—for example, convincing audiences that this is not science fiction. UPSIDE Foods is growing real meat directly from animal cells to make meat better for the planet and its inhabitants. When founded in 2015 as Memphis Meats, our client faced zero competition. Fast forward to 2021, and with dozens of companies in the market, we helped UPSIDE Foods rebrand as a global consumer company with real products ready for market by being direct and approachable about cultivated chicken. 

Establishing credibility in a nascent or crowded space is another shared challenge for the sustainability sector. For Skyryse, which is rethinking how people fly, we supported its launch out of stealth by leaning into impressive technical milestones and a real-world pilot program supporting first responders in California. Skyryse has since raised a $200 million Series B, the largest in the aviation industry’s history, and has secured partnerships with five of the largest aircraft OEMs in the world.

Simply put, our strategy is to help companies find the right message, for the right channel, with the right messenger.

<split-lines>"Customers are using sustainability as a metric for decision making—within both B2B and B2C worlds. Sustainability is now an inherent part of the procurement process."<split-lines>

There Is Fertile Ground for Making Real Impact and Reasons for Climate Optimism

Many communities across the world are already facing the stark realities of climate change, fueling the urgency to take action. Despite continued bleak forecasts in our fight against climate change, we feel hopeful for several key reasons.

  1. People are bought in and want change. There is consensus that climate change is the top global concern. Passion and expectations are high around the world, and it’s deepening the mandates for companies to do more and ask consumers to do their part and demand more sustainable products.

  1. Technology is amazing and evolving rapidly. Innovative solutions like carbon capture—once considered a ‘fantasy technology’—are starting to mature and transform CO2 from the atmosphere into new products. Incredible things are happening across alternative materials such as growing cement from microbes. Plus, nuclear fusion—the holy grail of clean energy—might finally be only a few years away.

  1. In our world of PR, the media landscape is expanding to match this increased interest and market growth. Over the past year, publications including Axios and Protocol have added dedicated climate sections, and we’re constantly tracking new reporters now covering the climate beat. Our role here is to engage with this expanding group of journalists to help introduce them to our clients and to also act as educators.

We believe our optimism is well placed as we see first-hand how technologies have the power to effect positive change in what once seemed to be an intractable problem. We will continue to showcase the innovation occurring in the sustainability economy and help our clients explain what is possible to build a brighter tomorrow, today.

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