Apple’s Mother Nature Video: Humor in Sustainability can play important role

People’s reaction has been mixed, but humor can still play an important role in sustainability communications and training, according to sustainability training expert, Antoine Poincaré, Vice President of The Climate School.

Antoine Poincaré, sai “It’s fair to say that Apple’s Mother Nature video has divided opinion. But whether you find it funny or cringe, humor has a role in sustainability training and communication, especially in video content. There are few things more serious than the climate crisis. But people can feel overwhelmed by it all, so humor can cut through the doom-mongering.”

“Most people have sat through dry sustainability training videos at work, and they don’t land with everyone. Humor can help engage employees around sustainability in a different way, specifically those who are harder to reach. People are so used to video content now, and not everyone has the patience to sit through a longer video. So providing video in short, sharp episodes is a powerful way to engage.”

“As the Apple video has shown, humor isn’t universal and can easily polarize people. But that doesn’t make it a bad idea. TikTok works so well in part because humor and parody are central to all of us. It is of the highest importance to have useful business information about human-induced climate change, so I think the risk of some people finding Mother Nature unfunny was worth it for Apple if it raised engagement and awareness. Humor – and the star power of Octavia Spencer – has made the video go viral so it does work and people talk about it.”

“It’s important to state though, that one of the reasons why a CSR report is seen as boring is that it is precise with numbers, footnotes, percentages, and more – however, it needs to be. Stakeholders need to see what progress has been made against targets, otherwise the numbers lack context and are meaningless.”

“Finally, for a long time Apple has been perceived as a laggard in terms of how reparable its products are. It ‘forces’ people to switch iPhones since they either cannot be fixed or it’s too expensive. Acting on that would be a major step forward.”