Amapola has specific expertise in environmental communication and relationship management in situations of local conflict and opposition, usually referred to as the NIMBY syndrome, “not in my back yard”, a blanket term indicating local opposition to any project, infrastructure or plant with an environmental impact.
In our experience, this phenomenon comprises many different situations, which cannot all be classified with the same label or resolved with a standard formula. Having an “ear to the ground” means analysing the community’s characteristics and interpreting its requirements, starting from the simple consideration that a local community comprises different and often contrasting interests.
The operating methodology we use for projects involving new infrastructures and plants is designed to anticipate the response from the community and activate a communication and relationship system to prevent the usual short-circuit of warring factions.
Specifically, we help businesses abandon the “silence” shortcut, which – leaving aside cases where non-transparency is a deliberate decision – often stems from the difficulty corporate organisations have in interpreting their interlocutors’ communication methods and adapting to changing circumstances: a situation that calls to mind great armies wrong-footed by guerrilla action. A policy of silence on environmental issues can have particularly damaging consequences: it fuels a climate of often unjustified suspicion, prevents companies with their storehouse of experience, knowhow and technical and human skills from being recognised as key interlocutors for local sustainable development, and polarises public debate.
The solution lies in greater communication, discussion and interaction to give people the elements they need to make a reasoned judgement. These are the main rules we follow on our projects:
- convey messages that are truthful, clear and complete;
- avoid use of abbreviations, technical jargon and industry codes;
- optimise good practices and environmental benefits, clearly and without exaggeration, avoiding greenwashing or shortcuts purely for image purposes;
- demonstrate consistency between environmental awareness-raising messages and daily practice;
- communicate and interact with interlocutors to understand and satisfy their needs, and at the same time engage them on issues of common interest;
- be positive and motivating, to encourage support and virtuous behaviour;
- attribute a specific weight to local community relations;
- use the opportunities offered by digital communication and the social media to shorten distances and establish an active, constantly monitored listening and communication channel.
Below are some of the operating tools we activate, depending on project requirements:
Stakeholder mapping and monitoring gives the organisation a window on the dynamics determining the importance, influence and positioning of its stakeholders:
- territorial mapping of local interests, lobby groups and stakeholders;
- media, web and social network monitoring;
- positioning reports and position papers.
Our innovative education and consultancy offer, delivered by an interdisciplinary team of specialists, comprises:
- an integrated community relations program, including structured listening, facilitated participation, social orientation and conflict management projects, stakeholder engagement and internal communication;
- organisation and management of training and coaching events, planning and management of workshops and seminars on community development and communication techniques;
- theAmapolaB® format.
Amapola provides assistance on analysis processes to help the client identify the most appropriate environmental communication tool for their needs, which is then integrated with their corporate communication operations and channels:
- context analysis (using LocalMonitor)
- stakeholder engagement strategies
- institutional relations, community relations and media relations
- management and green writing training
- crisis management
- outcome monitoring and analysis
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