Monday, June 16, 2008

Mind your Ps, Qs, and now Cs

NESTA will launch its latest research report ‘The 7Cs, Why we need positive messages to sell low carbon living.’


And selling via positives is a definite step in the right direction.

But just wondering what the 7Cs might be? I guess they are part of 'low carbon living', but couldn't seem to find any more.

Shame I can't make it all that way, but I hope the report will be shared online.

Plus that it will recognise actual realities and practicalities, rather than idealistic or self-fulfilling notions, especially at official level.

I'm still getting research that tells me that 98% of people, when asked, think doing our best to save the planet is worth considering (making me wonder about the mindset of the 2% not in favour) as some kind of awareness box tick. Yet often it is associated with poor actual deliverables. No point asking a question in a way that gives a desired answer.

Often these things, and the results they derive, are works of beauty only report writers and niche industry insiders could love.

If this really tries to get under the skin of what the public/consumer audience thinks and how it responds to various campaigns it will indeed be worth reading. And acting upon. Too many messages, and waaay too much in comms budgets, is blown on ticking a box and making a committee headed by a Minister happy than actually reaching out and effecting change.

Process has often supplanted result.

It also helps if the consumer has mechanisms put in place that they can easily respond to once motivated. I have followed today's news reports on new co-mingled collections getting in the tonnages but not delivering useful recyclate with interest.

Addendum - Thanks to a fellow poster on another forum, I now have a link to the report. At first glance it looks like a bit of a trawl will be required to suss out much of use (maybe I will get to find out what the 7 C's are at last. Hope it's worth it. Fingers crossed there may have been some real communicators involved and not just a bunch of academics, researchers and civ. servs., otherwise it's valeu will be rather suspect), whilst agreeing with the basic premise, as I did when first I got wind of it.

Plus I am concerned at a trend I notice that is epitomised by their featuring a device in their study 'The Disrupters'. Whilst this is a worthy and stylish piece (there are many, more basic and cheaper versions for those who may feel energy monitoring to be a useful aspect of reducing their footprints - I have to say I stopped checking mine ages ago as it really told me little I felt I could do much about), it is also well beyond the budgets of most normal folk outside a Gaurdianesque lifestyle bubble.

Communication on matters environmental does need to be many things, and especially positive and proactive, but it should not be driven by the interests and ambitions of an affluent elite and/or paid/interested niche sector, or it will at best stay remote from the general public and hence remain practically irrelevant, but at worst risks creating an 'it's alright for them' kickback from those less able to indulge in such trendy aspects of carbon mitigation. Frankly not a major issue by the media buying trends I have noticed in complement to most creative executions so far. Colour ads in quality Sunday supps and 90' high budget (and 'brow' concept) TV indulgences placed in low rating (and hence niche) shows designed more for the awards ceremony than communication to any audience other than the advertiser's mates at the wine bar. We need to reach and motivate Fiesta family... not just amuse and get nods of approval from Prius person.

Nods all round

(well, except for the obit on my theoretical day job)

Advertising is Dead, Long Live Packaging

Works for me!
May I suggest a slight addition?
It's in light of the perceived negatives of packaging environmentally. There is now a fair old desire, if not demand, by consumers for brands to up their game in this regard, pushed by media and legislative bodies as well.
Hence... think reuse! Trust me, be it 'accidental' but most certainly when designed in ( is getting more and more great examples daily), there are opportunities aplenty for fun and profit all round. Plus the planet doesn't do too badly either:) Win, win... win...

Glass act

Just watched a BBC News item on recycling.

Very interesting. Basically the trend is now away from collecting via skips (and, one presumes, kerbsides, which I know is the case in my area*) and on to what they call 'co-mingled waste', which is basically all in one and let a central station sort it all out.

Trouble is, this system means that while lost of stuff is collected, most of the resultant recyclate is useless, especially when it comes to such as glass.

And as a sign off, the reporter says that when it comes to recycling, 'we' are no longer any good.

Now I know some aspects of these collection systems will encourage greater numbers, but what use if the stuff you collect is of less value.

I have written..

You're talking at and pointing to the wrong folk with the 'we' when referring to how this is not very good environmentally.

Consumers are much less to blame than incoherent, uncoordinated national policy, and an obsession with meeting targets that rewards process more than sensible result.

*Addendum: I have written to my local paper:

The issue of waste collection and, with luck, sensible recycling as a consequence is a hugely worthwhile, but still very complex one.

There are EU fines looming, consequent national pressures and of course regional and local variations 'in the mix'.

There can be no doubt of course that Ross' RE-Box scheme has been ahead of its time, and shining example across the board, not just as a recycling initiative, but also as a social enterprise and, perhaps more than anything, as a catalyst for individual and community cooperation and participation in the cause of environmental good practice.

But there are other issues at play, and these need to be understood and appreciated in assessing what is proposed for the future as part of bigger pictures.

With this in mind, I have noted a very interesting story on the national news this week. Mirroring our local experience the trend is apparently now away from collecting via skips, bottle/can banks (and, evidently, kerbsides) and on to what they call 'co-mingled waste' collections, which is basically all in one bag from our bins, and then on to let a central station sort it all out.

Trouble is, it seems that while this system means that perhaps more 'stuff' is collected, most of the resultant recyclate is of much less use than before, especially when it comes to such as glass.

Now I can see the advantages of these collection systems working with perhaps 'less co-operative' human nature (but certainly not around here, evidenced by the RE-Box success) will encourage greater numbers, but what use is this to the 'bigger picture' of carbon footprints/CO2 release if the stuff you collect is of less or no value?

RE-Box has shown that when engaged with in a sensible way, consumers are much less to blame than incoherent, uncoordinated national policy, and I just hope what we are not seeing is more an obsession with meeting targets that rewards process more than sensible result.

Oh, and just saw an amplified BBC report. Seems it stays as 'we' who are no longer as green as we shoudl be.