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Stephan Loerke

Stephan Loerke

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TRENDSETTERS: WFA's Stephan Loerke Provides a New Framework to Help Marketers Lead on Climate Change Issues

The Internationalist Trendsetters is written by Deborah Malone, founder of The Internationalist.

Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), believes that marketers should be leading the charge in sustainability by communicating consumer demands for action internally, while also demonstrating to customers how an organization can help them make more sustainable choices. As a result, the WFA has announced "The Planet Pledge" – an initiative designed to put marketers in a position where they can help lead brands' responses to climate change, encourage efforts across the wider marketing industry, and help consumers act more sustainably when using their products and services. 

The pledge was launched at Global Marketer Week in late April to coincide with new WFA research – Marketing and Sustainability: Closing the Gaps – which identifies that while marketers believe that they can be a force for change, marketing, as a function, often lags other functions within the business.  Just 10% of marketers claim to be well advanced in this area, compared to 29% who said that their company was making progress on the sustainability journey.

The Planet Pledge has been developed alongside CMOs from major companies and brand owners including Bayer, Danone, Diageo, Dole Packaged Foods, Mastercard, Ørsted, Reckitt, Telefónica, Tesco and Unilever.

According to Stephan Loerke, "This is a major initiative to ensure that marketing teams have a clear framework, identifying where they can make a difference and help drive corporate change." 

It highlights four key areas where marketers need to act:

  1. Commit to championing the global Race to Zero campaign within their organizations, while encouraging their marketing supply chain to do the same.
  2. Scale the capability of marketing organizations to lead for climate action by providing tools and guidance for marketing teams and agencies.
  3. Harness the power of marketing communications to drive more sustainable consumer behaviors.
  4. Reinforce a trustworthy marketing environment, where sustainability claims can be easily substantiated so consumers can trust marketing messages as they seek to align their own consumption with their values.

To hear more from Stephan, tune in to our Trendsetters podcast as he discusses how "The Planet Pledge" can ensure that marketing teams have a clear framework, identify where they can make a difference, and use the power of communications and the scale of corporations to drive more sustainable behavior.  CLICK HERE

In our conversation, we discuss the following:

  • What are origins and goals of The Planet Pledge? 
  • Why do marketers lag in terms of corporate progress on sustainability, how can the WFA help them move ahead?
  • Is there a gap between consumers' expectations of brands and what consumers perceive brands are doing with respect to the environment and sustainability?
  • Are there regional differences in terms of how people and organizations define sustainability?
  • You've been quoted as saying that "Sustainability will be as transformational as digital"… can you elaborate?

To view the WFA Planet Pledge video, CLICK HERE:

Stephan Loerke manages the WFA secretariat, oversees all work carried out on behalf of its members, and is the WFA's main spokesperson. He sits on all WFA public affairs and marketing committees, as well as on the WFA Executive Committee.

Prior to joining WFA, Stephan worked at the United Nations in New York and later in both marketing and management roles at L'Oréal. Combining French and German nationalities, Stephan speaks French, German, English, Dutch and Spanish.

The World Federation of Advertisers makes marketing better by championing more effective and sustainable marketing communications. It is the voice of marketers worldwide, representing 90% of global marketing communications spend – roughly US$900 billion per annum. WFA connects the world's biggest brand owners and national advertiser associations in more than 60 markets, bringing together tens of thousands of brands at local level. Together, they create a global network which offers a unique source of leadership, expertise, and inspiration.