We’re all human

I recently relaunched a new website for Elstat, who design energy saving solutions for commercial refrigeration systems. Their energy savings are massive, absolutely massive; since 2004 they’ve saved nearly 15bn kWh, prevented the release of over 8 million tonnes of CO2 and saved store and building owners over $2bn. Huge numbers, but therein lies the problem. They are so big, they are nigh on impossible to comprehend and put a human perspective upon them.

If we take winning the jackpot on the national lottery, the odds are 14m:1. Odds clearly not in your favour, but I can never knowingly experience 14m anything. My friend, a maths graduate, put it in to perspective for me; he said winning the lottery is like selecting the correct minute out of 26.5 years! I can’t experience 14m unknown things, but I can experience 26.5 years (I’m 25 years old by the way).

And now I don’t play the lottery.

The default setting for environmental communications, is to either promote the doom and gloom (please see my first ever post on A Work in Progress) or to baffle you with large numbers which are then transformed into other large numbers you don’t understand or ones that don’t even make sense; i.e. saves 100,000 trees.

The messages I instead created are human-centered, focussed on actions present in our everyday lives.

Take for example the Global Impact page. The numbers are massive, but at the bottom of the page I inserted one tagline to put some perspective on it: Last year we saved enough power to charge every iPhone, ever sold, every day for 4 years. In fact it’s probably double this, but this is the minimal level.

Does this work? Tell me what you think.

Global Impact

This takes the biscuit

I wrote a while back about meaningless corporate speak (bullshit) but I never thought I’d find a whole passage that wasn’t a joke, where no meaning could be derived.

In response to a 2degrees forum question: “How do you use GHG emissions ratios to ‘communicate’ with stakeholders?”, this is what a consultant responded with.

“I think the best way may be to determine your internal materiality value. Once you have that value then you can better benchmark your ratio with other companies. As I think without that it will be a pointless exercise. Furthermore, I think engaging and preparing reporting depends on what your material aspect is for your stakeholders, this can actually be done with some of empirical research exercise with a sample of stakeholders, both internal and external stakeholders. Roughly you may do this by surveys or focus groups or such similar research activities. Once this has been established then you can actually present the information in ratio format. I think one more interesting thing can be to present your ratio performance with the benchmarked value or by several deviation representation.”

A complete failure in communication; the person who asked the question is not in expert in GHG emissions, sustainability carbon management nor corporate bullshit; but more importantly he hasn’t even answered the question.

Quit the platitudes kids.