Category Archives: Communications

Five ways to tell if a company has gone fluffy on sustainability

painting a wall in lime greenThis is a guest post by Ramon Arratia, sustainability director of carpet maker Interface EMEAI. 

There’s been a huge amount of activity in the corporate sustainability field over the past decade. But although the overall the impression is that we have achieved a lot, few have actually reduced their environmental impacts where it really counts. That’s because they’re wasting too much time and effort on what is effectively just fluff.

And companies (as well as consultants and membership-reliant think tanks) have been tremendously innovative in coming up with new forms of fluff – changes that are easy and quick to implement or make for nice marketing soundbites, but won’t make any real difference because they focus on the wrong things. It’s time we began to identify and expose this fluff for what it really is so companies can cut the fluff and refocus their energy on what sustainability is fundamentally about: reducing impacts on the environment. Read more

How making a game of climate change could help save the planet

ecoa action S and LThis guest post is by energy and climate change consultant Paula Owen. It first appeared on GreenBiz.com

Behaviour change interventions have so far had surprisingly limited success in motivating wider society into taking positive environmental action. Despite constant bombardment of messages regarding ice caps melting, sea levels rising, polar bears drowning, exceptional droughts, and 100-year storm occurrences becoming more frequent, a majority of the population still do nothing more than put the recycling out once a week and buy fair trade bananas from their local supermarket. Read more

What’s the link between the rising tide of populist politics and climate denial?

flooded warning signsThis post is by Matthew Lockwood, senior research fellow at the University of Exeter.

Last week I blogged on how UKIP’s rise has been mirrored by a rise in the proportion of people saying that they do not think the world is warming. There may or may not be a causal link between the two, but my hypothesis is that you would expect populism to drive climate denial, not just here but also in the US, in the form of the Tea Party movement.  Let’s assume that my hypothesis is correct. In the long term populism tends to self-destruct but, unfortunately, it can do a lot of damage before that happens. So what should those who are concerned with the effects on climate policy do about it?

Read more

Reasons to be cheerful

virunga national parkUnlike most people working on environmental issues, I spend most of my time finding and telling good news stories. When not editing the Green Alliance blog, I work on earthrise, an environmental TV show on Al Jazeera English that features promising solutions to environmental problems.

While I think we need to be realistic about the scale of the challenge, evidence suggests that there’s no quicker way to turn off your audience (whether they’re sitting on a sofa or in parliament) than being a full time purveyor of bad news.

So to lighten up your Friday afternoon, I thought I’d give you three reasons to be cheerful, gleaned from my experiences on earthrise. Read more

Are fuel prices the nation’s greatest concern?

fuel rightThis post by Federica Cocco first appeared on Full Fact on March 4th 2013.

In today’s politics roundup, the Sun reports that three quarters of the British public are concerned about one big national issue. If you think it’s the economy or crime, think again. It’s fuel prices.

The source is a poll conducted by an organisation which campaigns to – you guessed it – cut fuel costs. Ahead of the March 20th Budget, Fair Fuel UK ran an internet survey on their website in a move to “send a clear message to the Chancellor” that fuel duty should be cut “for the sake of the UK economy”.  Read more

Sceptics, climate change and the media

newspapers detailThis is a guest post by James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

It’s nearly Christmas, so it must be the end of another round of UN climate talks.  One of the less reported aspects of this annual meet-up is that the 190-odd delegations often come from quite different backgrounds when it comes to popular views about climate change in their home countries.

For example, surveys show significant differences between countries as to how much people believe that mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions are the main driver of climate change.

At first this might seem odd. After all, reports from the IPCC and others are pretty good at laying out where there are core certainties and residual uncertainties.  And these reports get widespread coverage in most countries of the world. Read more

How creating pop-up cafes and homework clubs can encourage people to save energy

OCP_TwitterThis post is by Green Alliance policy assistant Jonny Hazell, who worked on Waste Watch’s Our Common Place project, which has recently published a report on its first year.

Waste Watch’s Our Common Place programme emerged from the simple idea that just because an organisation is interested in an environmental issue – and is being funded to act on it – doesn’t mean other people will be interested. Read more

Three things we can learn from video games

This is a guest post by Olly Lawder of sustainability communications agency Futerra.

Nothing is more engaging, distracting, entertaining or compulsive than video games. Don’t believe me? Then you either haven’t played them or you simply haven’t found the right one yet. And, if you’re one of those people who thinks that video games (and the people that play them) are stupid, then this post might change your mind, because video games could hold the answer to engaging millions in sustainability issues. Read more

Four top communications campaigns that DECC could learn from

Tucked away at the back of Green Alliance’s recent report Neither sermons nor silence are some great examples of how government communication can be done well.

The report argues that to get quick, widespread take up of consumer-facing energy policies such as the Green Deal, government needs to tell people about them. Otherwise its ambitious target for one UK home to upgrade its energy efficiency every minute for the next 40 years seems, well, a bit hopeful. This doesn’t mean preaching, but it does mean developing some strong messages and partnerships.

Here are four examples of how government-backed communications campaigns have played a vital role in encouraging the public to change their behaviour, from installing smoke alarms to binning fewer leftovers. DECC, take note. Read more

Why a low carbon transition can’t be brought about by stealth

This post is by Green Alliance’s director, Matthew Spencer. A version of this article first appeared in the ENDS report.

When Clement Atlee was asked how Churchill won the war he said ‘talking about it’. He imbued confidence in a nation by laying out a narrative and making it stick through repetition and reinforcement. In contrast the Coalition government is attempting to deliver the biggest transformation of our energy system since the Victorian age by talking about it as little as possible. Read more

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