Published in FM World
I’m just back from Portugal where I had a great time – thank you. As is my want I took loads of photos over there and I’m really pleased with how they came out. In some I’m pleased with the composition in others how I’ve caught the light. But when I show them to the family and to friends hardly anyone stops at the landscapes or the castles at dawn. No. They stop at the family shots on the beach. “What were you doing?” they ask or “You’re wearing that shirt again!” they say.
Well, so it is with being more persuasive with your environmental strategy. Not many people care too much about the facts of the case. The fact that this bulb is more efficient than that one or that you plan to increase recycling from x% to y% is not especially interesting. What they care about is people (and sometimes animals!)
So to be more persuasive you need to ask how this strategy affects people – real people. If you ask that question you’ll get some very interesting answers.
Many environmental purchases have a really positive human side – not just in terms of reducing the environmental risk to people but really positive, life-changing impacts. For instance, you can buy energy from communities that actually own wind farms. The money they raise directly goes to improving their area.
The same applies to waste. For some items, old furniture or computers or even food waste, you can find contractors who visibly train disadvantaged people to handle them and who pass them on to others who can really benefit. There are social enterprises which compost food waste and then use the compost on local estate gardens and train local people. There are computer and furniture removal charities that repair and clean anything that can be reused. Lots of people both here and in developing countries can benefit from the repaired items. It is human scale recycling which your staff can relate to.
An environmental programme with people in need at its core will not simply run better it will engage your staff. With staff engaged in your programme you’ll find word spreads fast and people take a more active part in it.
So when you’re focusing on your environmental strategy don’t forget to put people in the foreground. You will be much more persuasive.