Speaking the same language for better environmental protection
In Poland alone, a dozen million people have an employer. According to the Central Statistical Office, close to 80% of the professionally active population work in companies. Those numbers come as no surprise. Taking a different perspective, they represent an audience of millions addressees of content distributed by employers. Imagine that every company instructs its people how to be environmentally friendly. That paints quite an interesting picture.
We live in an era of information noise. Unable to process all the news, we get frustrated with endless orders and prohibitions. When we speak about the environment, one mustn’t wield a stick. Grassroots education is key. Look at two examples and consider which message is more effective:
1. send an email telling the recipients how to sort trash
2. open a competition where participants suggest ideas for environmental solutions in the company and win attractive prizes
In this sense, environmental protection is not unlike the arts or sports. A child forced to play the piano may end up hating the instrument for the rest of his or her life. It may sound good to report “distributing a thousand environmental emails, which means that we are being proactive”. However, such measures are hardly effective.
Why don’t we talk about the environment in a friendly way? It is so easy to find compelling arguments: nature itself provides the most convincing pictures. If companies become committed to educating their people, awareness rising will snowball even during a snowless winter… We can see that happen at ERGO Hestia.
Employees are good recipients for such communications but not the only ones. Other addressees include clients, affiliates, business partners, suppliers, shareholders, local communities and other stakeholders. They also need to know what the company is doing for the environment, what its environmental impact can be, and how it takes care of the environment (for instance, by reducing the environmental footprint). The PR effect is just a sideline, not the objective. Broad educational efforts can reach a huge audience and produce a spillover effect. It may still be insufficient but it is real.
Mario Zamarripa ERGO Hestia’s Chief Sustainability Officer
Last Updated on January 22, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska