How social media influencers are helping push the climate change agenda

2nd February 2017 Jonathan Andrews

How social media influencers are helping push the climate change agenda

By Andrea Learned, a climate action-focused writer and strategic communications consultant helping business and nonprofit influencers develop authentic, high impact, leadership platforms*

The momentum for climate action has recently shifted to a more local level. That’s why the team at Onalytica and I chose to zero in on the power and potential of Twitter influencer engagement around the #Cities4Climate tag. It is no surprise that C40Cities  has lead the charge and built upon the broader conversation.  And, just past the reality check of November’s US election, that organistion’s December 2016 conference generated a flurry of Twitter activity.

Now that it seems likely the US government will not follow through on their piece of the Paris Agreement, many of our cities’ mayors, chief sustainability officers and chief resilience officers are heeding the call. Both in the US and globally I’d argue, Twitter has the potential to be seen as a key tool. As we witnessed during COP21, tweets from key individuals (@Cfigueres@PaulPolman) and key brands (@UNFCCC@CDP ) raised a digital roar that influenced real-life connections and sparked conversations for the greater good.

The potential for the #Cities4Climate hashtag to have a similar congregating, supporting and amplifying effect could be exponential. Let’s take a look at who is already involved and where the opportunities lie.

Mapping the community

In order to identify the social influencers and brands we started by extracting over 25,000 tweets tweets from 1 November to 1 December 2016 mentioning the key words: #Cities4Climate and #C40Cities. We then added these tweets and accounts into our database, categorised and curated a top 100 list of influencers and brands ranked on a combination of the four r’s (resonance, relevance, reach and reference). These accounts were then added into Onalytica’s Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM).

This network map shows the number one influencer Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris at the centre, and all the #Cities4Climate and #C40Cities conversations to the influencers in her field. It’s interesting to note the thicker line between Anne Hidalgo and C40Cities showing a stronger relationship and more communication between these two accounts:

A network map created with IRM shows the number one brand, C40Cities, at the centre:


Cities Today is a top ten brand influencer


Building momentum

Great information and new city influencers are not only for climate action during conferences like @C40cities or @compactofmayors events. Big events help #climate4cities influencers discover one another and ‘start’ conversations, but then the energy seems to be lost. Climate action can no longer allow for that fade in interest.

The influential organisations in the climate action space are fairly obvious, and so easy to find and follow (which is a great thing). However, the power from here may be in the individual authentic engagement of key #cities4climate leaders. People like Matt Petersen, the Chief Sustainability Officer of Los Angeles, Stephanie Stuckey , the Chief Resilience Officer of Atlanta and Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s Chief Resilience Officer are already leveraging their influence for positive, climate impact.

The more a thriving Twitter ecosystem of organisations and individuals exists to ‘love up’ and support one another’s progress in this cause, the better. Now more than ever–and again with perhaps a bit of extra emphasis on the US–amplifying the entire conversation reflects the strength of the climate action cause. Building solidarity between real-time climate action events or marches will help keep us energised.

Top 10 brands:

Rank Twitter Handle Name Influencer Score
1 @c40cities C40 Cities 100
2 @CompactofMayors Compact of Mayors 75.27
3 @ICLEI ICLEI 70.15
4 @UNFCCC UN Climate Action 58.97
5 @WorldBank World Bank 57.78
6 @NYClimate NYClimate 55.77
7 @100ResCities 100 Resilient Cities 50.16
8 @BloombergDotOrg 46.19
9 @Citi Citi 43.65
10 @Cities_Today Cities Today 43.35


This is an edited version of the article that originally appeared on Onalytica‘s website. To read the full article and report, see: Further details on the author can be viewed at


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