PJ’s Green Challenge features the Liverpool Echo’s It’s Our World campaign which is inspiring readers and the wider Merseyside community to work together for the good of the environment. Mark Hargreaves reports
TRINITY Mirror’s Liverpool Echo is leading the way in promoting environmental issues to its readership through a powerful campaign called It’s Our World.
The paper launched the campaign more than two years ago in a drive to increase environmental awareness and to make Merseyside a better place for those who live there.
“Today I can safely say that It’s Our World is by far and away the biggest environmental campaign in the Echo’s history,” says executive editor Andrew Campbell.
“We have had a phenomenal reaction from readers, local businesses and schools – many of whom have actively participated in the campaign.”
When It’s Our World was first launched in June 2009, the Echo’s management put together a project team drawn from all areas of the company – including editorial, advertising and marketing – which were tasked to bring the campaign to life.
The campaign is not just featured in the pages of the Liverpool Echo, it also runs across many other Trinity Mirror titles including the Liverpool Daily Post, Wirral News, Southport Visiter, Formby Times and the Crosby Herald, together with all of the newspapers’ companion websites.
In addition, the newspapers run a twice yearly supplement. In total eight supplements have been printed, each having a 300,000 print run.
One of the primary drivers of It’s Our World has been environment editor Jade Wright who writes all the regular weekly pages and the supplements.
“It’s our World is our bid to make our area a better place to live in,” she says “Everyone wants to do their bit for the environment but sometimes we need that little bit of extra help and encouragement to do it. All of our editorials and supplements are packed with environmental news, tips on how you can make a difference, and details of the initiatives our partners are involved in to help the cause.”
The Echo last year launched the It’s Our World Environment Awards to further boost the impact of the campaign. The awards, supported by main sponsor Groundwork, the largest environmental charity in the Liverpool City region, have been developed to recognise and celebrate the work of community groups and public and private sector organisations.
In addition, many local businesses sponsored individual awards. Says Campbell: “The awards give entrants the opportunity to put their best foot forward to show how they are contributing towards the sustainable development of Merseyside and to demonstrate how their environmental successes have achieved positive social and economic impact.”
Split into two categories – private and public sector – the awards ceremony took place in Liverpool’s historic St George’s Hall. It was hosted by BBC North West weather presenter Diane Oxberry. Nearly 200 entries were received with 250 people attending the event – comprising shortlisted nominees, their guests and sponsors all from business and local community backgrounds. Among the winners was Ben Donelly, from the Elixir group, who picked up the personal achievement award for creating a business which has saved more than 2,000 tonnes of uPVC from going to landfill.
“Since we launched the It’s Our World campaign we have been overwhelmed by readers’ fantastic green ideas, their ingenious tips and the many inspirational things they’ve doing to make Merseyside and indeed the wider world a better place,” says Campbell.“People have really engaged with the platform as demonstrated by the level of entries to our inaugural awards.
“The real proof of its popularity was at this year’s awards which saw some incredibly diverse and imaginative environmental projects ranging from green conscious big business to two remarkable Merseyside ladies who turned their alleyway into a garden oasis which attracted national media attention on the back of the awards.
“We firmly believe that It’s Our World is playing a big part in making Merseyside a better place.”
Integral to the success of It’s Our World has been the involvement of local industry, businesses and schools. Says Campbell: “Every sector plays its part. Industry and businesses have welcomed the platform and regularly advertise with us as a result. Schools, and the wider community have embraced it too with dozens of letters and emails every week about the positive projects they are undertaking.”
Liverpool Echo editor Alastair Machray sums up: “The community is vital to every part of the Echo and, indeed, all of our titles. Research has shown that readers consider the Echo to be ‘at the heart of the community’. Our readers are at the core of everything we do and nowhere is this more the case than in It’s Our World. The response has been fantastic.”