Edelman has announced the launch of Edelman Impact, a new global strategy intended to harness the power of its ESG, Sustainability, Purpose and Climate offerings. Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital, will serve as senior advisor of Edelman Impact, which will provide industry leading counsel to clients seeking to advance their strategies on climate, purpose and ESG. Edelman has also named Robert Casamento its first-ever global head of Climate.
To help guide client engagement around sustainability Edelman has issued a new set of principles, which include working with those committed to accelerating action, putting science at the core of information, advancing best practices for communications, ensuring inclusivity of employees in the decision-making process, focusing on a just transition, and holding itself accountable through regular reporting. The firm is taking immediate actions such as: launching a 60-day assessment of its client portfolio across industries; establishing and publicizing science and values-based criteria for engagement with clients; joining industry peers to formalize clear criteria for climate communications; initiating a taskforce and a series of internal conversations about the climate emergency; establishing a board-level committee that will issue a recurring report on its progress; and submitting its target to the Science Based Target Initiative for independent validation.
“We want to partner with businesses that are committed to change,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “This is the next phase in Edelman’s development, and we will use the net zero emissions target by 2050 as a guide for all of our work. Communications has a critical role in addressing the climate emergency. Adding Martin and Robert to our existing team of Purpose and Sustainability leaders is a most serious commitment on the part of the firm to lead.”
Whittaker is the founding CEO of JUST Capital, the non-profit organization that evaluates and ranks corporations on their performance on public priorities, including sustainability, human capital and diversity, equity and inclusion. He sits on the G7 Impact Task Force for Impact Measurement and Integrity, and Harvard Business School’s Impact Weighted Accounts Initiative advisory council.
“Trust is now the defining element of corporate purpose and ESG performance,” said Whittaker. “It gives Edelman a unique opportunity to support business leaders on their journey towards real impact.”
ROBERT CASAMENTO NAMED FIRST-EVER GLOBAL HEAD OF CLIMATE
As global head of Climate, Casamento will be responsible for leading the firm’s climate-related offerings and programs. He will help the firm advise clients as well as articulate next steps and actions that build on Edelman’s Board-level commitment to a science-based emissions reduction target for its operations.
Casamento brings extensive experience to this newly established role, with over 25 years of leadership in the global climate, ESG, corporate strategy, and ESG-related technology marketplaces. He was the founding director of the World Economic Forum’s Global Climate Change Initiatives, a member of the leadership teams that established Deloitte and EY’s Global Climate Change and Sustainability practices, and on the leadership teams at three ESG related AI start-ups.
Over the past two decades he has played a role in the establishment of many of today’s global decarbonization initiatives, including climate change risk management and reporting, climate financing, carbon markets, renewable energy, and sustainable supply chains.
“The global response to climate change has been too few, too little, and too late,” said Casamento. “Edelman has the platform, influence, and people who can, and want, to make a difference. We aim to become a leader in climate, helping clients take steps toward setting, implementing, and delivering meaningful climate ambitions.”
Whittaker and Casamento will work closely with Deanna Tallon in the newly created role of managing director, Sustainability. Tallon, who will oversee the firm’s sustainability strategy, recently returned to Edelman after serving as the chief communications officer for SYSTEMIQ, a firm focused on changing economic systems to accelerate the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
These hires will bolster Edelman’s already strong global team of Purpose and ESG leaders, including John Edelman, managing director, Global Engagement Corporate Responsibility, who oversees the firm’s efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint through smaller office spaces, reduced air travel and a hybrid workplace among other initiatives, Helga Ying, global chair of Purpose and Heidi DuBois, global head of ESG.