Companies are under fire for climate change. PR firm APCO Worldwide just partnered with a data startup to help them control the reputation risk.

Companies are under fire for climate change. PR firm APCO Worldwide just partnered with a data startup to help them control the reputation risk.

02/01/2021
  • APCO Worldwide is partnering with Vector Center, a water and environment intelligence firm, to grow its sustainability business.
  • APCO’s clients include corporations and organizations that face reputational risk related to climate change.
  • Vector gathers satellite and climate data that APCO can use to predict crises that could impact its clients.
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PR firm APCO Worldwide is partnering with a startup that specializes in climate and water intelligence to help clients facing scrutiny over their role in climate change.

The deal with Vector Center is part of an effort by APCO to grow in areas like management consulting and compete with the likes of Accenture and McKinsey. To that end, APCO has already acquired consulting firms Global Philanthropy Group and TWC Associates, and hired high-profile execs like Oracle vet Bob Winslow to lead a new tech unit with investment from Erie Street.

APCO is also trying to keep up with the PR industry’s move to be more data-driven. For example, ad holding company Omnicom recently launched its own platform to provide more precise measurements for its PR campaigns and IPG-owned Weber Shandwick launched a data analytics division in January 2020. 

Read more: PR firm APCO Worldwide just nabbed a top Oracle vet to help technology firms facing regulatory backlash

APCO’s clients, which include corporations, cities, and multinational corporations, increasingly face reputational risk related to their role in climate change. APCO also advises utility companies on their role in addressing climate change.

APCO also wants to advise governments, nonprofits, and multinational groups on climate change, a need that will become more important as the US and other governments prioritize the subject, said APCO senior director Judit Arenas.

Vector is backed by investors including Data Collective, Scott Minerd from Guggenheim Partners, Tassaka AB, and Courtney Reum from M13. It gathers satellite and climate data from sources like NASA and social media that APCO will use to predict crises that could hurt its clients’ reputations, said Vector founder J. Carl Ganter. 

APCO and Vector hope the deal will lead to more business wins for both companies as they have complementary services and a similar client base — for example, they share Microsoft as a client. Vector monitors water levels for Microsoft that is used to cool its data centers and has received a grant from Microsoft’s $50 million AI for Earth initiative. APCO has helped Microsoft on a range of sustainability issues.

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