How one small island is changing the dynamic for visitors


The Palau Pledge is a physical stamp which all visitors to Palau must read and sign on entry. Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch was invited to join a panel during AdWeek to discuss the importance of creative campaigns to promote environmental engagement and impact. He joined:

Debbie Remengesau
First Lady of Palau

Maria Devaney
Founder of The Blue S.O.S.

Seth Rogin
President & CEO of Nucleus Marketing Solutions

Tulik Beck
Ambassador for Oceans and Seas

Seamus Higgins
Executive Creative Director of Host/Havas Australia

The conversation was focused around the Palau Pledge, a mandatory agreement where all arriving visitors sign a pledge to be good environmental stewards. Making Palau the first country to incorporate environmental practices into its immigration policy, the law came into place on December 2017 officiating the use of the Palau Pledge entry visa stamp that everyone must sign in front of an official upon entry.

The Pledge unifies environmental action on various levels. For visitors, it models a responsible way to travel, and for the country, it provides an incentive to reinvent its tourism industry around eco-conscious principles. Debbie Remengesau, The First Lady, referred to it as, “a modern interpretation of our (Palauan) culture.” Every sentence of it was written by, and is dedicated to the children of Palau.

The award-winning ad campaign was designed by Host/Havas Australia. It won seven awards at the Cannes Lions, including the top honor in the Titanium and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Lions, as well as a Grand Prix nod in the Direct category, and a Gold Lion in Brand Experience & Activation.

Participants of the panel spoke about the importance of legends to remember the past, but also about the importance of stories for creating a better future. Creatives know about the power of narrative and imagery. Using this knowledge as a way to influence positive social and ecological impact is now essential. Not only because the next generation expects it, but because it is the key to our continued survival on this planet.


“It is not about charity or about giving back. It is about new technology and business models. It is about industries changing and showing that the impossible can be done. The brands that do not make an environmental commitment will cease to exist.”

– Cyrill Gutsch, Founder of Parley for the Oceans