Want to change behaviour and get buy-in on sustainable strategies? Start by engaging community, organization and government stakeholders, and inviting them to take ownership and help create practical solutions.
- Public engagement campaigns
- Open houses and information sessions
- Community liaison and resources
- Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM)
- Displays, infographics and communication materials
- Measurement of program success
In years of consulting on sustainable strategies, S-Cubed has found that a positive, knowledgeable and highly collaborative approach works best in engaging and winning over stakeholders. We reach out to all members of a community or organization to educate, gather feedback and develop waste diversion strategies tailored to each situation.
Community members are busy, and it can be difficult to engage them in creating solutions.
If your community won’t come to you, go to your community! We host information sessions in community centres, shopping malls, sports arenas and seniors’ homes in an effort to engage with as many stakeholders as possible.
Why engage stakeholders?
Giving reasons for change and gathering feedback on how to make it happen is key to leading effective change. S-Cubed uses waste audit and industry data, and explains best practices in waste diversion and management as part of our consultation process. Once community members understand why certain recommendations are being made, they often suggest ways to improve on the strategy and may even become champions of the program.
S-Cubed Environmental partners with Beyond Attitude to engage audiences using behavioral change and Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) principles that allow community, organization and government stakeholders to voice opinions on and create solutions for issues of concern.
Consulting with community
INVOLVEVermilion Public Engagement Campaign
The Town of Vermilion was rolling out a new approach to waste management, and it was time to involve the community.
The success of Vermilion’s new curbside program depended on whether community members would buy into the change. How could the town interest and educate residents, encouraging them to take part?
The answer – public engagement.
Many materials sent to the landfill have value. We needed to explain the financial and environmental costs of throwing away material that could be used again. We also wanted to inspire residents to change their habits and take full advantage of the blue bag and black cart service. Understanding benefits and costs related to the service, as well as what materials were included, would further encourage participation. For this project, S-Cubed brought together a strong multi-disciplinary team with experience in:
- Waste management planning and program implementation
- Community engagement, social marketing and education
- Communication and design.
This full public engagement campaign involved a number of elements.
Element 1 – Visual Identity
S-Cubed has found people are more willing to accept change when information is presented in a light-hearted way. Incorporating a friendly feel was an important part of the public engagement campaign.
S-Cubed worked with Tilt & Tweak Creative Strategies to develop an icon and tagline to help community members to recognize Vermilion’s waste management services.
The design of the icon incorporated colours and concepts reflecting different waste streams and a healthy environment, which also complemented Vermilion’s existing town branding.
The design process involved meeting with Vermilion representatives in person. This also gave the S-Cubed team a chance to engage with the community before the public engagement began, enabling us to better understand systems already in place and establishing a network of stakeholders who would support the change.
Element 2 – Engagement Events
Working hand-in-hand with Vermilion staff, S-Cubed identified multiple locations and events where our Green Team could pop up to meet community members. Our travelling display helped us to discuss waste management and explain the new system in detail.
Element 3 – Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM)
Effective public engagement does not assume that people will adopt a behaviour simply because they understand it or think that it is a good idea. Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) uses techniques based on behavioural psychology to foster change. This strategy was integrated into all public engagement activities, as it is key to the success of a program launch. Our team included Beyond Attitude, a Canadian expert in this strategy.
Element 4 – Educational Materials
Campaign materials featuring the Waste Matters colours and branding included display posters, ads on social media and in direct mailings, maps and brochures, and even temporary tattoos.
With permission from Metro Vancouver, we bounced off their Hey Food Isn’t Garbage concept to create our ‘dreamers’ – recycled or organic materials that imagine returning in a new form.
Along with brochures and how-to guides, support materials included a dedicated website page and a resource guide which linked to curriculum content which could be used in classrooms.
Element 5 – A Two-Way Conversation
A key goal was to establish two-way communication with residents, and we did so in a number of ways. During Green Team pop-up sessions, we involved community members in conversations about their opinions on and experiences with the recycling program to find out how it was working for them. Once we discussed how to remove barriers, the Green Team Member would ask the resident to start recycling, and most agreed. Later in the engagement program, the Green Team began to inform residents about upcoming changes to the garbage program. Residents were encouraged to subscribe to the Waste Matters e-newsletter, and often did so as we spoke with them.
Green Team members also asked community members to complete a survey, which gave us more information about engagement results and next steps.
At the end of the engagement, S-Cubed Environmental supplied a technical memo about strategies and outcomes, as well as recommendations on which communication tools are most effective and how to implement future public consultations. We learned which events and situations were most effective in engaging residents, and reasons why people were hesitant to make changes. The most common reason for not recycling was a lack of information, either in how to do it or when. Few people were opposed.
What can S-Cubed do for you?
Learn more about past sustainability strategies, waste audits and reporting, environmental education and public engagement projects.
Stacey was a pleasure to work with. She was flexible and found innovative ways to work with us and make the project a custom fit for our municipality. The audit was done diligently, quickly, thoroughly and professionally. Stacey and her team were well prepared and gave me the ease of mind that the project was in good hands and would be done well.
CONSULTLangdon Curbside Collection Launch | Phase 2
Compostable material made up almost half of what was in Langdon’s black carts. The community needed to consider sustainable solutions.
Although a blue cart program was already in place in Langdon, community residents needed to decide how they wanted to manage organics. Whether they chose to use a green cart program or put organics in the garbage, the cost of handling compostable materials was going to rise as landfills began to charge more for compostable material.
S-Cubed Environmental gathered data and began the process of engaging and educating community members about organics.
Step 1 – Measure
Once again, S-Cubed audited the materials in residential black carts. This second audit showed that following implementation of a blue cart program, only nine percent of garbage consisted of contaminated recyclables. However, food and yard waste made up 45 percent of material going to landfill.
Step 2 – Engage and Survey
Next, audit results were shared with Langdon’s residents, and a survey gathered information on what they would prefer to do with compostable materials. More than 50 percent of residents said they would prefer to use green carts to handle organics. S-Cubed researched and developed options for a green cart program.
Step 3 – Consult
Team members used pop-up displays in stores and other locations where people gathered. Engaging community residents helped them to understand the economic and environmental benefits of returning organic materials to nature. They were asked to give feedback on what they would prefer to see in a green cart program..
Step 4 – Educate
As the proposed program began to take shape, displays were set up during open ho