Public Engagement

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.

Challenge

Community members are busy, and it can be difficult to engage them in creating solutions.

Solution

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

Involving community

INVOLVE

Vermilion 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.

Outcome

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.

S-Cubed Environmental’s team develops behaviour change strategies and effective educational tools to help effectively engage and involve stakeholders.

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.

Andy Tchir

Environment and Sustainability Coordinator, Town of Devon

Considering compost

CONSULT

Langdon 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.

Phase 2

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 house sessions to explain exactly what belonged in green carts. and what should go elsewhere. Residents continued to ask questions and provide more feedback.

Outcome

Involving community members through a public engagement process allows them to understand the reasons behind a change, and empowers them to make an educated decision about available options. In the best case scenario, community members take ownership of the program and become ambassadors in helping the initiative to succeed.

S-Cubed Environmental’s team develops behaviour change strategies and effective educational tools to help effectively engage and involve stakeholders.

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.

Andy Tchir

Environment and Sustainability Coordinator, Town of Devon

Introducing curbside collection

ENGAGE

Langdon Curbside Collection Launch | Phase 1

Involving community members helped in developing a curbside collection program that suited their needs.

Rising landfill costs and bans on certain materials meant that the Town of Langdon needed to engage with community members on how to cut costs and develop better waste diversion solutions. The cost of sending waste to the landfill was rising, and certain materials were banned.

Phase 1

Although Langdon now has a fully functioning waste management and diversion program that includes recycling and organics, it didn’t happen overnight. The process always begins with an audit of existing waste.

Step 1 – Measure

Waste audits revealed that adding a curbside recycling program would divert paper and cardboard from entering the landfill.

Step 2 – Consult and Engage

The S-Cubed Environmental team researched the possibilities, consulted with local authorities on cost, and developed strategies before engaging with residents to consider possible solutions. Open houses and pop-up displays at popular local venues gave us access to the community.

Step 3 – Implement

All residents initially received a 120-litre garbage cart. After three months, residents self-evaluated the amount of waste they were generating and decided whether they were willing to pay more for increased garbage capacity.

Outcome

Detailed audit information, public engagement sessions and self-evaluation allowed residents to understand the reasons behind changes to waste collection. S-Cubed was on hand to provide audit data, as well as scientific and legislative information. A trial period and user-pay model gave residents the opportunity to judge for themselves whether they preferred to reduce the amount of garbage they produced or pay more for a larger cart. Curbside recycling collection diverted more materials from being sent to landfill.

What can S-Cubed do for you?

Learn more about past sustainability strategies, waste audits and reporting, environmental education and public engagement projects.

We liked working with S-Cubed because of the personalized attention Stacey brings to community engagement. By the end of our projects it seemed like Stacey knew our residents by name. This made her work credible as she could be a true voice for the community’s wants and needs.

Derek Young

Town of Vermilion

Feedback Frames

measure

Feedback Frames

S-Cubed Environmental uses feedback frames to quickly assess group opinions on issues that matter.

Feedback frames are a great way to quickly engage with a group, gather opinion and assess results.

This tool allows participants to share their views on multiple statements, while moving around the room and interacting with fellow participants. Feedback Frames are suited as an engagement tool for groups of any size. The results capture consensus on important topics and issues.

To use the frame, participants read a statement and use one token per frame to rank their opinions. During this time, other participant responses are hidden to avoid group bias. Participants are able to provide additional comments and then sign the sheet as part of the audit process. The process repeats for each statement.

Once everyone has given their opinions, the results can be revealed in real time at the engagement event.

 At a national consultation, S-Cubed invited 157 stakeholders to evaluate 29 action items using the feedback frames. The Feedback Frames provided a summary of priorities in real time at the event, which were then used for further discussion during the rest of the engagement.

As seven sectors were represented, participants were given a token specific to their sector. Later, the distinct allowed further analysis of the opinions of each sector.

ABOVE: Stacey Schaub-Szabo and Tammy Schwass led the feedback frame activity.

Feedback frames were created by Jason Diceman, a professional facilitator.More information and videos on the frames are available on his website.

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.

Andy Tchir

Environment and Sustainability Coordinator, Town of Devon

What can S-Cubed Environmental do for you?

Get in touch.

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