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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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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…

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