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Chris Innes: Helping To Build A Sustainable Future For The People And The Planet

Chris Innes: Helping To Build A Sustainable Future For The People And The Planet


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurial leaders making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Chris Innes, director, global development centre at WWF International. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Welcome Chris. Let’s jump right in. Can you tell me what challenge WWF International is addressing?

Chris: Thanks for having me, Spiffy. We are helping to build a more sustainable future for the people and the planet by conserving species and ecosystems and reducing the carbon footprint of people. My team and I work in communications and marketing to help tell the most important stories of the challenges the planet is facing in order to survive and thrive and help people understand what we can all do about it. There is so much complex and worrying information out there that we are trying to help people understand what is really happening and what we can dowhether by supporting with our protests, with our donations, or with our personal actions and choices. The work we support, the petitions and protests we make, and the way we live our lives can make a massive difference.

Spiffy: That is amazing! What motivates you to do it?

Chris: Since I was very young, I have always loved and been fascinated by nature. I am happiest when I am out walking with friends and my dog, when I can breathe the air, and just enjoy being. Since that time in my life, we have seen a massive reduction in species and a massive reduction in our green spaces and places. 69% of wildlife populations have been lost since 1970! Climate change and the loss of species now present the biggest threat we have seen to our future. But we can change that if we act nowtogether. There is no more important cause than fighting for a sustainable future for nature and for people. I know there is only so much I can do, but it gives me real energy and hope to be doing that with many others as passionate as I am.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Chris: My work is to help WWF around the world to be a better communicator and be better at asking for and getting financial support. My work is directly related to WWF storytellers, communicators, and fundraisers, but indirectly it helps to communicate more powerfully and more simply the work and goals of WWF, in order to win the support of people around the world. People do care about nature, our communities, and our future and are looking for ways to act on that.

Spiffy: Very inspiring! Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make?

Chris: Earlier this year, WWF, working with other organizations and supported by people around the world, helped pass a new oceans treaty. That can sound like a lot of talking (and it was for almost 10 years!) and a bit abstract, but it can lead to a real change as the nations of the world have agreed to protect 30% of the world's oceans. This will make a massive difference to the plants and creatures that live in our seas and to the communities that live on our coastlines. But beyond that, there are so many things to celebrate around the world as people come together to find solutions, both big and small, to protect our wildlife and the ecosystems in which they liveoften in much shorter timescales!

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Chris: There is so much bad news we hear about the climate and about nature, that it can be quite depressing at times. We are the first generation that has faced such an enormous challenge but also the best equipped to do something about it. It can seem that as individuals we can do little about it, but in reality, each of us can make a big difference ourselves and with our friends, families, and communities. It's really quite simpledo you want to be part of the solution to defending nature, our communities, and our future, or do you want to be part of the problem? Every choice we make about how we live, what we eat, and what we wear gives us an opportunity to do the right thing.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Chris—it’s been an honor!

Chris Innes is passionate about communicating and winning support for causes that make the world a better place. He has worked as a fundraising and marketing director for organizations like Greenpeace and Oxfam as well as a leader of global marketing teams at UNHCR and now WWF International. Chris married his Italian teacher with whom he lives in Florence, Italy with their aging German Pointer dog, Brady. (First published on the Ladderworks website on September 12, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.