Prof. Wim J.L. Elving,
Hanze University of Applied Sciences
Groningen, The Netherlands
It is a fact that the communication branch has been involved in a big variety of unethical practices. Greenwashing exists because we in communications and our colleagues (mainly our colleagues of course J) made text and communication materials to let the green intentions of a company shine, by not including all the facts. Fortunately for the world we have NGO’s that did starting to check companies CSR efforts and intentions and CSR communication became more serious and based on facts and not only on intentions.
Lobbyists and public affairs, of course adopted by us as being part of the communication profession, helped in enlarging the economic space for organizations without giving attention to the ecological limits. And our extensive knowledge and cooperation with the marketing profession made that we forced (persuaded) consumers to buy stuff that they actually didn’t need.
The climate crisis is real and leaves us little or no time to actually make a difference. As communication scholars and professionals, we can and should have a positive impact, and we, in my humble opinion, should cooperate more to make the world more sustainable. So, what are the good examples you experienced in your work, but also what are the worst cases and the lessons you as a professional learned that you want to share with your colleagues. For instance, we are working a lot with raising awareness, and designing testing and applying communicative interventions to raise awareness. If individuals receive feedback on how much energy their fridge and other devices are using, you are able to make decisions to buy more energy efficient devices. But there must be more and other ways of raising awareness and other examples.
There are several ways for us as profession in how to make a difference. We have been able to present the nicest communication materials, text, video and other products that really made a difference on a wide variety of subjects. Why don’t we use our joint force to create even better ones to tackle the climate crisis? Do we have any other option?
The European Union declared the climate crisis as a big emergency, action is needed. As communication professionals we are not only able to create and design fabulous communication products, but we also gained insights in how we can build bridges between various standpoints and proofed that we can make a difference. So, let’s join forces, let’s share good practices, ideas, cases etcetera, so we all can learn and we all can contribute in overcoming the current climate emergency.
We haven’t been able to create a platform already, please email me your examples, and I will persuade EUPRERA and other organizations to post these on their websites as soon as possible. We do not have to limit ourselves on English language examples, we will find ways to learn from other languages examples as well and maybe we can find ways in including national associations as well. Please email me your examples and email me if you want to be part of this very emergent and urgent call (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let’s start the movement soon.