Environmental communication

The environment

It is a theme, the environmental one, present for several years in community programs and increasingly dealt with in the media. Sweden is among the first countries to become interested in the environment, with the United Nations Declaration on the Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, while the rest of Europe arrived much later.

At the international level, the fundamental reference document is the 1998 Aarhus Convention, where for the first time we speak of the right to environmental information, but above all it extends this right to participation, decision-making processes and access to justice in this matter environmental. Italy has ratified the Aarhus Convention with Law 108/2001 and the so-called "Environmental Code" with Legislative Decree No. 152 of 2006.

The issue of participation, access to information and environmental communication to ensure good governance is an increasingly present reference in the EU, international and national regulatory and programmatic framework on sustainable development. The involvement and participation of citizens and the various actors of society is fundamental for improving the quality of public policies

By institutional environmental communication we mean a series of information actions on environmental issues, directed to the community and issued by public bodies such as Regions, Provinces, Municipalities, but also by research bodies, public companies, environmental agencies, universities and schools, necessary to satisfy knowledge needs on problems such as pollution, waste, greenhouse effect, etc. and aimed at achieving greater awareness of the population in order to orientate towards lifestyles and consumption that are more suited to the real availability of resources and environmental protection.

The task of institutional environmental communication is, therefore, to constantly inform citizens about the state of the environment, the impacts that works and infrastructures produce, with research, reports, data and information, and at the same time to promote behaviors with less impact in able to protect the environment. In addition, informing and communicating on environmental issues contributes to stimulating the participation and involvement of citizens who are thus able to evaluate the performance of administrations and enter decision-making processes.

In the document below, the definition of environmental communication developed by the Association of Public Communication with the Manifesto of Public Communication in the environmental field, which defines environmental communication in its various meanings.

How to communicate the environment

Considering the strategic and dynamic role that environmental matters are assuming, they become crucial for the Offices that deal with environmental communication, the tools that are used to make communication effective and one of the elements to which to pay more attention in this field, is surely the language.

In fact, treating the environment means dealing with a scientific topic and when it comes to data, research, environmental reports etc. in order to be truly effective, the language to be used must be simple, clear, understandable and easily usable as well as shared among the information operators. In this sense, the implementation of reporting activities, in its various thematic typologies - environmental reports, information dossiers etc., - becomes a concrete way of reporting to citizens on the results of the policies pursued and enabling them to evaluate the performance of administrations . For this reason it is necessary to use written communication techniques that give efficacy to the message you want to convey.

That said, the tools and means of communication that can be used to communicate the environment are manifold:

Information and advice desks dedicated to the environment

At these counters, citizens can request information and / or advice. Temporary or permanent branches can be organized based on the need for information to be communicated and can be located at the Town Hall, decentralized in different areas of the city or itinerant. It is essential that operators have excellent training, inherent in the same topics on which they are called to disseminate information.

Events or moments of direct meeting with citizens

Organization of seminars, round tables, events, municipal assemblies open to the public, conferences, lessons, etc.

Information and communication campaigns

The communication or information campaign aims to promote a specific service or product. A communication campaign can also have awareness purposes: in this sense it tries to promote a specific behavior or attitude.

Brochures

The brochure is used to communicate in a simple and clear way with users, with the following objectives: to make new services known, to give information of public utility, to investigate current issues, to give advice on a specific topic or service, to make a sort available simple mini-guide on a specific topic.

Telematic tools

Thanks to the help of new technologies, it is possible to inform and communicate with citizens, adopting a multi-channel logic. Multi-channel allows you to use different communication channels to get information on the state of the environment and any crisis situations in real time.

Environmental communication plan

Finally, the environmental communication plan, a fundamental but still little used tool, which allows the Body to plan and manage environmental communication actions, to achieve specific strategic objectives and to communicate to citizens the environmental actions promoted and implemented by the Administration.

Last updated: 09/02/2019

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