The Palau Pledge topped the WARC Creative 100 and the team behind it believes it can point the way forward to a more sustainable future for everyone. Laura Clarke, co-founder of the Palau Legacy Project, elaborates.

Creativity is the genesis of all positive change. It sounds trite to say that ideas can change the world, but they truly can! And Palau Pledge is an example of this.

When it comes to behaviour change, that’s the bread and butter of what our industry does, so we knew we could apply the same principles, but this time by motivating action toward conservation.

The Palau Legacy Project was initially formed by Nicolle Fagan, Jennifer Koskelin Gibbons, Nanae Singeo and myself in response to the degradation of Palau’s fragile environment and ancient culture by unsustainable tourism. Our specialist backgrounds in corporate advertising, PR and marketing communications, gave us all the tools and skills we needed to be able to execute the project. We then partnered with Host/Havas Australia to find the best solution to the problem and set about bringing it to reality.

Creativity found a brand-new communications channel: the official passport stamp of Palau that provided an innovative solution to the difficult problem of reaching every visitor in a meaningful way.

This solution – requiring visitors to sign a Pledge in an official document – allowed us to convey the importance of the message in a brand-new medium. It also added the necessary gravitas to make people really stop and think before they act – thus changing behaviour.

What we learnt in the process of putting the Palau Pledge together was how desperately the world needs these kinds of creative solutions to help address the huge problems we face as a planet. It also showed us how powerful our industry can be when it harnesses its significant creative and economic resources to find such solutions.

That’s why awards such as the UN SDG Lions are so vital, because they encourage, incentivise and reward our industry for using creativity for good: a hugely untapped resource that our world desperately needs.

We know that Palau Pledge is changing people’s behaviour in Palau and it’s changing people’s behaviour around the world by making them consider their actions toward the planet for the sake of the next generation.

We hope that by working with other countries, governments and global corporate companies, we can greatly amplify the important messaging at the core of the campaign and encourage others to use creativity in a similar way.

Most significant is the idea of personal responsibility and using creativity to produce practical tools that everyone can use to help bring about change.

Most people admit to feeling completely overwhelmed when they contemplate a huge global issue like climate change. They think that they are powerless to make a difference or that it’s the government or private sector’s responsibility to do something. They believe that their individual effort won’t have any impact. But by harnessing the power of creativity, we can create tools and solutions that individuals can use that DO make a difference. And by using the powerful channels available to us as marketeers, we can communicate how they can use these new tools to best effect.

Our industry, more than any other, can empower people to take action in their own way toward preserving our planet. Cumulatively these actions add up to significant change and by communicating this change back to the audience in real and tangible ways, more people will be inspired to take action. That’s how real change happens.

We hope that the Palau Pledge is the start of a movement – one that sees our industry’s huge creativity power put to good use in finding solutions to the worlds’ most pressing problems.

Download the WARC Creative 100 summary report here.