The news and world around us increasingly features climate change and many businesses are in the throes of adapting to these challenges. As we start 2020, some experts say we now have just 10 years to avoid irreversible environmental meltdown .
For communication practitioners this presents both challenges and opportunities. Let alone for us as human beings and people operating businesses.
Environmental issues are undoubtedly higher up the agenda for everyone. If you are a CEO, director, supplier, customer or friend – this matters to all human beings in one way or another.
One thing’s for sure, it is absolutely critical that businesses do the right thing and communicate with clarity, honesty and consistency around their environmental obligations as they experience more scrutiny than ever.
Here are my thoughts on doing the right thing:
1. Research as much as possible…about the whole topic of climate change. My Associate Bron recently helped organise a Climate Emergency event for the CIPR Midlands and Dr Hamid Pouran from the University of Wolverhampton gave some fascinating insights.
Here are some of his top line thoughts on sustainable development goals we can all work towards:
• Aim to use clean energy
• Good health and well-being
• Responsible consumption and production.
Our associate Bron also recommends these three books on the topic:
• David Wallace-Wells – Uninhabitable Earth
• Kate Raworth – Doughnut Economics
• Greta Thunberg – No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference.
2. Think about your audiences…and understand their viewpoint by talking to representatives from each group – including professional bodies, peer groups, customers, suppliers as well as your team, of course.
- What considerations do you need to have on your radar?
- What are your priorities?
- What is achievable?
- Who is going to make it happen?
- Who is going to monitor it?
3. Build a strategy around action first with PR second…so by all means, promote what you are doing – but never ever make environmental claims for PR purposes. You would hope that green-washing was a thing of the past, but there are still some making seemingly bold claims, only to be battered by the media.
4. Do your bit…whether you’re a supporter of Greta Thunberg, or not, she is absolutely right when she says: “no one is too small to make a difference”. Whether that is choosing to rethink the use of plastics or simply using your car less and walking more.
Here at FCM, we love how our client Willshee’s Waste & Recycling is helping businesses like Holland & Barrett and Hobbycraft achieve zero waste to landfill. Willshee’s can help their customers save money on refuse disposal while helping the environment too – with waste extensively being recycled and reused.
For example, food waste can be turned into energy rather than creating methane gas – along with a whole load of other products from medical dressings to clothing – read more here.
Depending on your organisation, let alone your personal standpoint, your perspective will vary hugely, of course. But what is crucial is that you do not ignore environmental issues. Customers will care. Consumers will care. Employees will care. Your peers will care. And your approach will impact your own personal and professional reputation.
As long as your strategy has clarity, honesty and consistency – you will be able to look yourself in the mirror and your kids/grandkids in the eye.
Some organisations may feel they can’t afford to invest in more environmental ways of working. They can’t afford not to.
I would love to talk to you about what your organisation is doing from an environmental perspective and how you could communicate this in the right way. Feel free to email me, message via Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.