Taking action to reduce our environmental impact is the main objective of EMAS. Communicating them is essential for greater outreach and getting more stakeholders and organizations inspired by the positive changes they can make. Key learnings from the EMAS Communication Toolkit Webinar:
On October 25, 2022, the EMAS Helpdesk hosted a webinar, presenting the new EMAS Communication Toolkit and sharing the experience of four companies from different Member States, as well as talking about EMAS campaigns in social media. The objective was to highlight the importance of effectively communicating EMAS and show, how even organizations with little experience in communication, can easily improve their strategies.
How to communicate EMAS in a smart and attractive way?
The webinar started with a short talk from Arctik, a digital design company, which forms part of the EMAS Helpdesk, on “How to communicate our environmental management achievements in a smart and attractive way”. The respective PowerPoint presentation can be found here.
To talk about EMAS we first need to be clear on the “Why?”. So why is it good to adopt EMAS? Apart from the fact that a nowadays much needed sustainable transformation is facilitated, there are also economic profits for organizations. In the talk, for example, it is mentioned that the annual savings of energy through EMAS exceed the costs of the certificate.
The next question to consider is, who are we communicating with? It is advised to build your strategy around internal (e.g. suppliers, employees) and external (e.g. customers, the general public) stakeholders.The objective behind the internal communication is to raise awareness on EMAS and get the people around your organization involved. With the external outreach, we ultimately want to get other companies on board to build a community.
The last questions that should be thought of for a smart communication strategy are the “What?”, “When?” and “How?”. To keep it simple, identifying your existing strategies and what is already working well, is an important step. Maybe there is a channel that has a particularly better outreach than others or certain topics or events that get a lot of people on board. Try to focus on these.Furthermore, being clear on when to communicate with what materials is essential. There should be a difference between daily communication, one-off information, and an information campaign.
EMAS registered companies sharing their experience
Four organizations were invited to the webinar to talk about their own experience. Respectively the LWL-Kliniken Lengerich/- Münster from Germany, the Institut Català de la Salut from Spain, the Energy Community Secretariat from Austria, and the Trentino Trasporti S.p.A. from Italy presented their current communication methods. With different Member States and sectors joining as well as the implementation time of EMAS ranging from 23 years for the LWL-Kliniken and just one year for the Energy Community Secretariat, a diverse view could be given.
All four organizations communicate EMAS on their website. The Energy Community Secretariat even created an EMAS page on their public site. The others publish recent reports on their actions or have their environmental statements and other brochures on EMAS available to download.
To make the information on EMAS as accessible and comprehensive as possible it is agreed to use simple and plain language. The LWL-Kliniken, therefore, created a booklet summarizing their environmental goals in a brief and comprehensive way, as well as visually attractive for the reader. The Institut Català de la Salut translates abstract data into tangible examples, e.g. by comparing the weight of certain waste with the equivalent number of elephants, to give the population a better idea of what is talked about.
Another tool the organizations found to be effective is creating an information video on EMAS. This was either shared on their website, their social media channels, or the Trentino Trasporti S.p.A. makes use of their public spaces and shows it on trains and the PMVs of bus stations.
The Trentino Trasporti S.p.A. also promotes environmental projects on their vehicles. For example, they have a biomethane project running, where the organic waste of the city of Trento is transformed into biomethane and used as fuel for the buses, and these buses show a biomethane sticker on their roof.
Another way the LWL-Kliniken use to get the message of EMAS out there is to be featured in publications in the local newspapers as well as professional journals and even in reports on German television.
#EMAS Campaigns in social networks
The following section of the webinar was presented by the German EMAS Advisory Board (UGA) on EMAS Campaigns in social networks. It started with the question of why we should start putting more attention to our social media communication.
Social media became more and more essential in the last few years and it is a well-working source to spread messages and get more people informed. An example of event registrations of one of the latest webinars from UGA was shown here more than 25% of the people participating, registered because of social media.
In the last years, the UGA started an EMAS social media campaign every year, where under a certain hashtag EMAS registered organizations could post their own experiences. In 2021 the hashtag was #WeforEMAS. Many organizations, mostly German, participated sharing why they implemented EMAS and what their benefits are. The most popular posts were short videos created humorously.This year the campaign was #EMAS4CLIMATE and the goal was to cooperate with more organizations and bring it Europe-wide.
Lastly, some tips on social media strategy were given. The procedure can be adapted to the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle of the environmental management process. From defining a goal (Plan) to launching your campaign (Do) to measuring and evaluating (Check), and adapting improvement processes (Act).
Furthermore, it was advised to rather focus on quality than quantity and to be aware that communication, especially on social media, always means interaction. Therefore, a good balance between posting your own content and interacting with other companies is needed. Also finding partners within your company or other companies with similar ideas will help you to be more successful.
The PowerPoint presentation from UGA can be found here.
The EMAS Communication Toolkit
In the last section, the EMAS Communication Toolkit was presented. It has been designed to provide organizations with material to support their social media campaigns, events, and more. It features Social Media Banners, Posters, E-Mail signatures, etc.
You can find the toolkit here.