Author Archives: Michael Hoevel

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The Challenge: CISL had a groundbreaking report on its hands that outlined a practical pathway to building effective insurance schemes for those vulnerable to climate risk. The authors wanted to ensure it had a tangible policy impact – specifically at the Third Financing for Development Conference (FFD3) in Addis Ababa in July 2015.

Our Approach: We supported CISL in writing a policy brief that summarised the report’s key findings, which we recommended releasing at the International Insurance Summit in New York, which industry leaders and key UN decision makers would attend. We released the policy brief to journalists under an embargo that lifted during the report author’s presentation at the IIS.

Outcomes: Media coverage that hit during the week of the policy brief launch was read and commented on by influential leaders in the insurance industry, and an in-depth BBC article was read and praised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Following media attention, Dr Ana Gonzalez Pelaez, co-author of report, was invited onto a high level panel at the FFD3 conference, to present her findings and recommendations. The full report went live in conjunction with her panel session and to date the report has been covered by The Guardian, Reuters, Inter Press Service, SciDev and Devex, in addition to the BBC.

Sustainable Investment Management

The Challenge: The leaders of Sustainable Investment Management asked Marchmont to promote the launch of an innovative green bonds scheme to finance sustainable soy production in Brazil across the full spectrum of target audiences from green finance to trade, environment and agriculture. The initiative involved national and multilateral partners including the UK government, UN Environment and Climate Policy Lab.

Our Approach: Marchmont developed media materials ahead of the launch event while also engaging with a top tier journalist over moderating a panel discussion at the session. Marchmont then leveraged the news context and agenda to pitch widely and successfully across target media.

Outcomes: The launch of the Responsible Commodities Facility was covered by the Financial Times and Xinhua news agency as well as specialist trade media such as Business Green and FeedNavigator. Marchmont also secured an FTfm reporter, Jennifer Thompson, to moderate the in-person panel.


The Challenge: For every $1 invested in agricultural research, it is estimated that $9 worth of food is produced in the developing countries where it is needed most. CGIAR is the largest publicly funded agricultural research network in the world, and Marchmont has been conducting media outreach on their behalf since 2013, through press offices, media retainers, opinion articles and targeted media campaigns.

Our Approach: To make CGIAR’s work as attractive to the media as possible, it has been essential first to align it to the external news agenda – from climate change and migration to, more recently, Covid-19. We then work to accurately and sensitively translate relevant scientific topics into more media-facing pitches and commentary. Marchmont has supported CGIAR around key events including Climate Week, the UN climate talks and the World Food Prize, as well as key launches of CGIAR initiatives such as their Crops to End Hunger initiative and their Covid-19 Hub.

Outcomes: Marchmont has placed CGIAR’s work in a range of top tier and specialist media outlets such as the Guardian, Telegraph, IndependentBBCLa Tribune, National Geographic, NPR, Reuters, ABC, Financial Times, Euractiv, Euronews, World Economic Forum, Eco-Business, Inter Press Service, Diplomatic Courier, The Conversation and AllAfrica. Marchmont also produced an introductory video of CGIAR’s work:

Farming First

The Challenge: Many of the solutions for global agriculture are well known and simply need to reach policy makers, donors and especially farmers. Other big questions require consensus to be built and evidence gathered. How can a science-based, farmer-centric approach to farming take root, providing trusted information and views in an engaging and shareable way?

Our Approach: Established in 2009, Farming First is a global agricultural coalition with around 200 supporter organisations. Marchmont provides the day-to-day support for the coalition, managing communications and outreach (including website, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube) as well as producing regular campaigns around key policy themes. These have covered sustainable agriculture and climate change, food systems, women in agriculture, the sector’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and the role of science and innovation.

Some examples of ongoing communications and outreach activities include: interactive illustrated infographics, animated GIFs, Expert Views articles, newsletters, policy toolkits, motion graphic and reportage-style videos, brochures and flyers as well as regular media outreach to top-tier global media.

Outcomes: Farming First has become a leading voice in advocating agriculture’s role in sustainable development. Farming First has brokered partnerships with the United Nations, Chatham House, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Economist, the World Food Prize and the Chicago Council among others, also acting as media partner at global food and agriculture events including the Borlaug Dialogue. Its campaigns and content have received multiple awards including from the Gates Foundation and Digital Communication Awards.

The Malabo Montpellier Panel

The Challenge: The Malabo Montpellier Panel seeks to influence European and African donors on effective ways to support poverty reduction through investment in sustainable African agriculture. Its bi-annual reports provide evidence and analysis of key topics such as soil management, climate change, energy, innovation and livestock. Their aim is to reach senior policy makers and key stakeholders, beyond just the scientific community, and demonstrate how and why they may provide agricultural support.

Our Approach: The Marchmont team has worked with the Malabo Montpellier Panel (and its predecessor) since 2011 to elevate their visibility and influence. Ahead of each report, Marchmont prepares a detailed outreach plan, including media materials, story angles, case studies and external news hooks. We then conduct embargoed media outreach ahead of each launch date and positioning panel members via the drafting of opinion editorials.

Outcomes: The Panel’s report launches have been covered extensively over the years by top-tier global outlets and a wide range of African and specialist outlets as well. A sampling of this coverage has included the Guardian, BBC, Reuters, Financial Times, Deutsche Welle, Xinhua, CNBC Africa, Christian Science Monitor, Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Conversation, Forbes Africa, Quartz Africa, Euractiv, Voice of America, El Pais, CGTN, SciDev, Inter Press Service, AllAfrica, Jeune Afrique, Business Daily Africa, The Africa Report, Devex and Food Tank along with multiple interviews with the BBC and CNBC Africa.

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)

GIZ infographic

The Challenge: For policymakers, supporting agricultural development can be daunting task– both in terms of what agriculture is expected to achieve for development and also the conditions under which it takes place.

Our Approach: The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) tasked our team to help shape the content of a comprehensive guide for policymakers that they had written in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute. The report aimed to capture the policy areas where consensus exists as well as where debates and uncertainties still remain lies in which interventions work.

Outcomes: We worked with the report authors to craft new messages for the report; restructured and edited it; and then translated and designed it (view the full report here). We also produced an infographic (English and French versions) to help with the report’s later outreach both online and in workshops throughout Africa.

Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

The challenge: As an EU-funded institution supporting smallholder farmers in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), CTA wanted ongoing support to communicate its achievements and, more recently, support throughout its closure — by raising awareness, celebrating CTA’s lasting legacy and raising the profile of its partners and beneficiaries on the ground.

Our Approach: Marchmont delivered ongoing media outreach support, carrying out an assessment of CTA’s initiatives, case studies and success stories before developing year-long plans to showcase its work in its key regions. This involved a combination of monthly opinion pieces, regular media outreach campaigns and on-site media field visits in Africa and the Caribbean. For its legacy campaign, Marchmont mapped out an eight-month media plan, including monthly editorials, media bursts around set dates and creative communications support for its social media channels.

Outcomes: Within the first six months, Marchmont had secured around 150 pieces of coverage. Top-tier coverage includes Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Xinhua, France24, Mongabay, CNBC Africa, BBC, Yahoo News, Daily Mail, Economist Intelligence Unit, Forbes Africa, Euronews, World Economic Forum, SciDev, Devex, The Conversation, AllAfrica, African Business Magazine, The Diplomat, Radio New Zealand, Inter Press Service, Eco-Business and FoodTank among others.

Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

The challenge: As a network of progressive business leaders, convened at the University of Cambridge, the Corporate Leaders Group represents a diverse range of industries with a common goal: to advocate for a clear and unequivocal target for net zero emissions across Europe.

Our Approach: Marchmont provided a bespoke service that combined long-term strategy and communications such as the coordination of an open letter, with the agility of responding to opportunities that emerged organically from the news cycle. This included generating media opportunities on-site at the Global Climate Action Summit, and engaging with journalists around timely topics such as the phase-out of halogen lightbulbs in Europe.

Outcomes: Over the course of a year, the Corporate Leaders Group engaged with the Financial Times, the Guardian, Reuters, China Daily and Voice of America along with specialist media including Euractiv, Business Green, and Climate Home News.

Gillian Hadfield

The Challenge: To promote her book, Rules for a Flat World, Professor Gillian Hadfield approached Marchmont for support including a revision of her website, messaging, media outreach and social media management – all of which would showcase the range of legal and economic issues for which she is known.

Our Approach: Marchmont established a consistent and engaging brand identity, including a revision of Prof. Hadfield’s website and Twitter account, and also developing a policy brief based on her book’s main themes. Alongside this, Marchmont developed monthly thought leadership pieces, published in diverse top tier publications as well as arranging interviews to raise the client’s profile.

Outcomes: Within the first three months, Prof. Hadfield was published by Reuters, LA Times, The Hill, Quartz, and TechCrunch, as well as trade publications Evolve Law/Above the Law, and ABA Journal. Prof. Hadfield’s Twitter following increased by 50 per cent with a 15-fold increase in impressions from 9,300 to almost 145,000. Prof. Hadfield received several invitations to write articles or essays, and give interviews.

Livestock Global Alliance

The Challenge: The livestock sector plays an essential but often overlooked role in global development. The meat, milk and eggs that livestock provide can contribute to people’s nutrition and health, and the sector is an engine of inclusive economic growth. So how can livestock be managed more sustainably, safely and productively to achieve these goals, while using precious land and water resources more efficiently and keeping the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum?

Our Approach: The Livestock Global Alliance was formed to encourage and inform livestock-related policy dialogue, investments and analytical work and is a joint initiative of the World Bank, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the three United Nations agricultural agencies based in Rome. Ahead of their global launch, they approached Marchmont to help them develop a suite of communications materials which would position themselves as thought leaders and advocates. Our main insight for the work was that livestock storytelling is actually about humans as much as it’s about animals. This led to our tagline “Sustainable Livestock, Sustainable Lives”. We then developed a set of key messages and supporting evidence, an animated video, GIFs, an infographic, a PowerPoint template and a corporate video featuring the main LGA spokespeople.

Outcomes: To bring these materials to life, Marchmont developed custom illustrations which were used throughout the materials we developed – adding visual energy and consistency. We successfully managed a geographically dispersed group of clients and delivered all of the materials under a tight deadline.