P ri nz conference - michael field (2)


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A key-note address I gave for the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRiNZ) conference on the important role PR and communications professionals have in the sustainability area.

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  • Remember to click slide to get name up Intro myself – anything that isn’t covered already by the person introducing me.
  • Human extinction probability
  • So that’s the context, let’s get into what it all means…
  • Nothing like a definition that’s more confusing than the word it’s defining! Precautionary principle – if we don’t know, for sure, what the impact will be of doing something, we shouldn’t do it. The precautionary principle is based on…
  • And understanding this is the core philosophy of sustainable business I want to paint a picture of some of the issues that my industry faces, almost all of which can be solved by your industry…
  • Everyone gets caught up in the science
  • Resources that we use per person Example of Water Humans currently use the resources of 1.25 Earths So assuming we don’t go on a mass cull, we need to reduce the amount of resources we use per person. A much easier way of looking at it is the funnel metaphor…
  • It’s not about chaining yourself to a tree (1923 to 2000) So what are these theories…
  • So that's the internal drivers, but what about the external ones…
  • By comparison – if you are seen to be not doing it, human philology dictates that you will automatically be seen as the pole opposite – silence is just as bad The financial drivers…
  • Minimum requirement – being as bad as the law will allow you to be. So that’s all the reasons why you’d be daft not to; but what about the opportunities…
  • It’s not all negative drivers So when we talk about sustainable thinking, what’s included?...
  • Broad brush of the topics covered under Corporate Sustainability Cover off Sustainable Development – the oxymoron There's a great deal there, so let’s break it down a bit more…
  • So that’s all the theory, but how does it work in practice…
  • There are plenty of New Zealand examples, but this is a global one (talk about my involvement) the real drivers – sound economic sense, Aus$2.5 million saved in waste reduction over two years – why wouldn’t you? Ray Anderson (the face of Interface) President – mentioned in The Corporation – can’t get better positive PR than that and it was free! What was the difference between us (recognised as a global leader in sustainability) and our competitors, who got branded as green washers? – damned good PR and Comm’s people, that’s what and that’s ALL! So what’s driving New Zealand businesses to engage in sustainability today?...
  • Hundreds of org’s in NZ already report So what does this mean for you?...Now we’re getting to the important bit that you’ve all been waiting so patiently for…
  • GRI tells them what to report on – what data to report
  • Even worse, more often than not it’s environmental consultants who have been ‘rebranded’ as sustainability consultants There is a framework that everyone uses though, so lets’ have a look at that…
  • Everyone who’s anyone uses this framework Sets out a series of performance indicators for organisations to report on – it’s basically what everyone is expecting to hear about from a sustainability perspective: Waste to landfill Energy usage CO2 emissions How you treat your staff etc and what you are doing to improve matters So, again, there’s the ‘what’ but not the how. Oh, but don’t worry, that’s covered as well…
  • Yep, that’s all they tell you. Much help? There is also a diagram if you like those instead, which is actually more confusing than the words. It’s not hard to see how most organisations get so caught up in the technical aspects, they forget why they are reporting in the first place, especially when it isn’t legislatively required. Reporting is a communications tool, so why is it that businesses lose sight of the fact that people read it?
  • Currently an enormous gap. Example of stating data without meaning – co2 emissions per year in tonnes – what does that mean? What’s that per person or per m2 – what do other companies produce, what are the plans to reduce etc??? It’s all good in theory, but what the whole movement is about is getting people to change their behaviour, so do we manage that?...
  • (internal & external) But currently those trying to influence people are environmental or sustainability professionals – clearly not the best communicators! Another one of those unhelpful terminologies I mentioned earlier, so what does that actually mean?…
  • The basic psychology The environmental preacher! We always go with the easiest thing to change – our beliefs - Give example of a guy with the V8
  • Don’t tell us what we can’t do all the time – stop doing this, don’t do that – tell us what we can do for a change – then we can act. We are starting to get it though, so I wanted to show you a good example of that (since I’ve done nothing but whinge the whole time – typical Pom)!
  • Try and get high resolution version
  • Remember to click slide to get name up Thank everyone for your attention, and now we’ve got time for questions, so fire away…
  • P ri nz conference - michael field (2)

    1. 2. Sustainability <ul><li>Some food for thought… </li></ul>
    2. 3. Mammal species – 25% threatened
    3. 4. Coral reefs – 50% in danger
    4. 5. Sea fisheries 70% over-fished or collapsed
    5. 6. Farmland – 67% degraded
    6. 7. Wetlands – 50% gone
    7. 8. Freshwater fish populations 50% less
    8. 9. Large rivers 60% dammed or diverted
    9. 10. Bird species – 10% threatened
    10. 11. Mangroves – 50% gone
    11. 12. Original forest – 80% gone
    12. 13. So what are our chance of survival? 50%
    13. 14. Depressed yet?
    14. 15. Sustainability definitions <ul><li>Official definition: Intergenerational Equity </li></ul><ul><li>But what does this mean? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Meeting the needs of today, without inhibiting future generations from meeting their own needs ” </li></ul>
    15. 16. Three areas of knowledge <ul><li>There’s all the things that we know that we know </li></ul><ul><li>There’s all the things that we know that we don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>Then there’s all the things that we don’t know that we don’t know </li></ul>
    16. 17. Translating the talk… <ul><li>Everyone loves technical terms – it makes them sound clever </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Carbon sequestration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive dissonance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or even better – acronyms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GHG, GWP, NZETS, CO2e </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Every single issue we face as humanity boils down to one thing… </li></ul>
    17. 18. Population <ul><li>1950 = 2.56 billion </li></ul><ul><li>Exceeded in ’80s </li></ul><ul><li>2006 = 6.53 billion </li></ul><ul><li>Each year 77 million added </li></ul>
    18. 19. Resource use - The Funnel Metaphor Resources Time Demand Supply ?
    19. 20. Sound business <ul><li>Sustainability thinking is not about a driving need to save the planet </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not even new! </li></ul><ul><li>Frederick Herzberg’s theories of business management </li></ul>
    20. 21. The theories <ul><li>Holistic assessment framework </li></ul><ul><li>Measures overall health, not just financial </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding all impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore all risks, liabilities and opportunities </li></ul>
    21. 22. External drivers <ul><li>Stakeholder pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Government pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation and compliance </li></ul><ul><li>Competitors are doing it…. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The ‘by comparison’ metaphor </li></ul></ul>
    22. 23. The cost of change Sustainability Legislation Minimum requirement Cost of change too high Business fails Gradual investment over time
    23. 24. Opportunities <ul><li>Cost savings through efficiency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy reduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waste to landfill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Materials (doing more with less) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How can you know all of them without sustainable thinking? </li></ul>
    24. 25. What’s included <ul><li>Ecological protection </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Peak oil </li></ul><ul><li>Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Transport </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Reputation management </li></ul><ul><li>Buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Materials efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Waste minimisation </li></ul><ul><li>Species protection </li></ul><ul><li>Impact assessment (holistic) </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable development? </li></ul>
    25. 26. In real terms… <ul><li>Materials minimisation </li></ul><ul><li>Emissions </li></ul><ul><li>Effluents and waste </li></ul><ul><li>Green procurement </li></ul><ul><li>Energy efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Biodiversity </li></ul>
    26. 27. <ul><li>Economic performance </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability policies </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability training and education </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental / Sustainability Management System </li></ul>
    27. 28. The story behind Interface <ul><li>You’ll have seen Interface used as ‘the’ example before many times </li></ul><ul><li>Presenters love to use it </li></ul><ul><li>Here’s the story behind it from someone who was there… </li></ul>
    28. 29. Reporting – the urgent driver <ul><li>Sustainability reporting is fast becoming expected by stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Government requires it under its ‘6 Pack’ initiative </li></ul><ul><li>So, simple fact, almost everyone will be reporting very soon </li></ul>
    29. 30. Your role <ul><li>Sustainability reports are obviously in the public arena </li></ul><ul><li>They are almost always available online – this puts them in the global arena </li></ul><ul><li>Who tells them what to write, how to write it and what the risks are associated with it? </li></ul>
    30. 31. Who tells them how? <ul><li>Unfortunately for you, people like me or rebranded ‘environmental consultants’ </li></ul><ul><li>Completely untrained and inexperienced in communications and PR </li></ul><ul><li>Very unlikely to understand the risks involved or how to get the message through </li></ul>
    31. 32. Global Reporting Initiative <ul><li>GRI - globally recognised </li></ul><ul><li>Performance indicators for organisations to report on </li></ul><ul><li>So they know what they need to tell people </li></ul>
    32. 33. The GRI ‘how to’ <ul><li>Sustainability reports must have: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Completeness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inclusivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Material correctness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relevancy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neutrality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul></ul>
    33. 34. Communicating meaningfully <ul><li>How does an organisation make it relevant now? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually they don’t </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And who are they communicating with? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They usually don’t know </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What about the risks? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not even on the radar </li></ul></ul>
    34. 35. Changing behaviour <ul><li>It’s wasted effort if people don’t </li></ul><ul><li>Left to environmental and sustainability professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Leads to Cognitive Dissonance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What? </li></ul></ul>
    35. 36. Cognitive Dissonance <ul><li>Values must equal behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>If values and behaviours don’t match this leads to stress </li></ul><ul><li>Something needs to change to stop that </li></ul><ul><li>Historically assumed people would change behaviour if it was pointed out </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, much easier to change our beliefs than our behaviour </li></ul>
    36. 37. Why preaching doesn’t work <ul><li>People are bored with the same old messages </li></ul><ul><li>And lets face it, the messages are boring so who can blame them? </li></ul><ul><li>It needs to be meaningful and easy </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me what to do not what not to do </li></ul><ul><li>Guilt doesn’t work </li></ul>
    37. 38. Doing it better…