Commission for Environmental Cooperation – Strategic Communications Planning Case

Three countries working together to communicate the importance of collective environmental protection


When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was established by Canada, Mexico, and the United States in 1994, an organization called the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was formed to address the environmental challenges presented by continent-wide free trade. The CEC’s mission is to facilitate cooperation and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment for the benefit of present and future generations, in the context of increasing economic, free trade and social links among Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Situation Overview:

With NAFTA’s restructuring to become the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the CEC called on Yulu to support the trilateral cooperation with its communications efforts through its transition. Yulu established communications objectives to ensure the public, government, and key environmental stakeholders would not only appreciate, but also fully understand the CEC’s value proposition and impact within a continent-wide free trade and environmental context. The CEC also wanted to explore strategic approaches to amplify its reputation and awareness among a younger demographic of climate enthusiasts. With the advent of the USMCA, the CEC recognized this transition as an opportunity to reinvigorate its relevance in the global fight for environmental justice, devising a comprehensive communications strategy was a key step in achieving this.

The Strategy:

In order to capture a diverse range of ideas, insights and perspectives from the start of planning, Yulu began its strategic process by conducting one-on-one stakeholder interviews with a dozen internal and external CEC stakeholders across Canada, the United States and Mexico. Interviews were then placed into a Stakeholder Insights Report, which influenced Yulu’s planning as well as strategic communications recommendations for ways in which the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) could more effectively educate and engage its stakeholders. In preparation for the JPAC’s annual meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, Yulu supported in the program development for a two-day forum focused on enhancing the CEC’s communications outreach efforts. The event would include roundtable discussions during which key stakeholders in the three countries would discuss and explore opportunities to ensure the CEC remains relevant, engaging and as impactful as possible in its next era of environmental responsibility. Taking into consideration the learnings from its stakeholder interviews and forum findings, Yulu produced a Strategic Communications Recommendations Report to support the CEC in successfully navigating its upcoming transition.

Results & Impact:

Yulu developed and conducted a presentation of findings and strategic recommendations during the JPAC’s annual meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico. During the two-day forum on enhancing the CEC’s communications and outreach efforts, Yulu’s chief strategist facilitated roundtable sessions with key constituents to discuss, brainstorm and explore key opportunities and solutions for development. The sessions proved to be an effective way to get attendees talking about a number of key issues, including environmental justice and Indigenous affairs. This tactic also allowed representatives from each of the three countries to voice their concerns and explore ways to preserve legacy initiatives such as its Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Conservation project, while also considering opportunities to increase its digital presence. Following the advisory meeting, Yulu finalized and shared a comprehensive Strategic Communications Recommendations report, providing recommendations to enhance the CEC’s communications and outreach efforts in North America and beyond. This included proposed ideas, tactics and solutions to make the organization more relevant to modern day climate activism and ensure the CEC maximizes and amplifies its communications efforts across all of its markets.