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It’s about the economics, stupid

Two pieces of news sat together rather nicely last week to demonstrate the challenges that face the recycling industry – and sustainability as a whole.

The LGA showed what a difference could be made to our economy if household recycling improved 20%: more jobs and a significant contribution to the economy. Yet at the same time UKIP leader Nigel Farage accused the ‘environmental’ sector of ‘bullying’ lily-livered politicians into following nonsensical policies.

“Successful communication and perception change is often about aligning your thoughts and arguments with the very people you are trying to persuade”

It shows that there is still some way to go in showing some parts of society that being ‘green’ is not about hand-knitted jumpers, sandals and peace, man: it’s about operating in a manner which we can sustain environmentally socially and economically in a world where 7 billion people will rapidly be 8, 9 and 10 billion.

Successful communication and perception change is often about aligning your thoughts and arguments with the very people you are trying to persuade. Often (I’m thinking of your average chief exec and finance director, not just Nigel Farage), that is about focussing on the economics first.

We know the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra makes sense for all the right reasons and the LGA has framed the argument well for household waste. Let’s learn a little from it for other areas, and in changing the mindsets of the Nigel Farages of this world by advancing sound economic arguments to win over the sceptics.

Michael Bennett, managing director, sustainability communications consultancy Pelican PR

 

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