If you’ve been tasked with ‘Environment’, the chances are communication won’t be your top skill. Whether you gained the role as an add-on to Health and Safety, or it’s your qualification or because it’s your personal interest, communicating the environmental message is a vital part of the job.
Communication is a Process
In order to provide effective communication, first of all you need to understand that it requires a process. Just as converting prospects into clients, procurement, or accounting procedures need a process, so does the communication function.
The start point is to integrate your Environmental Communication Policy into the rest of your company’s communication strategy. This way you gain commitment because communicating the environmental message is not viewed as a bolt on.
A Mini Case Study
Take for example a company I was working with recently. They changed all their paper to recycled paper. Unfortunately, what was supplied was slightly yellow – more so than the samples they had been send. Complaints rolled in from the 8000 strong workforce, who thought their new paper supply was a cost cutting exercise. They felt that it created a poor image of the company to their clients.
Faced with disgruntled clients across the company, the group were aware that some explanation was needed to reframe everyone’s perception.
We worked on a plan to explain that the choice to move to recycled paper was for environmental reasons (and they hadn’t expected it to be quite as yellow). By sharing the true picture, people would begin to understand how the decision could be used to add value. This would replace the negative image created initially. Colleagues could have conversations with clients which would enhance the brand image and demonstrate an application of the company’s vision and value.
The delegates were pleased with the outcome of this planning session. However, it’s a shame that communications hadn’t been built into the process upfront. The problem could have been avoided if it was an integral part of rolling out the change in paper provision. Had the message been shared from the start, the negatives which ensured in the interim could have been avoided.
Create Opportunities and Add Value
Having a plan in place for communicating the environmental message creates opportunities, for both your colleagues and their contacts.
Ask about Coral Mountain’s FOUR ‘A’ SERVICE, which provides the ideal framework for integrating your environmental message with the rest of your communications.
The service is versatile, process driven and adapted from the ISO14063 Environmental Communications Guide Standard. This provides a structure for both communications and engagement.
You don’t need to have an Environmental Management System in place to tell people about the good things you are doing. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me for an informal chat and we will see where the conversation takes us.