The importance of language used in communications

The importance of language used in communications

A few years ago, a Sudanese friend of mine (who lives in Sudan), told me that they consider ‘meat’ to be what we would call ‘beef’. So, when vegetarians say that they don’t eat meat, they are likely to get chicken in their meal.

More recently, I read about someone who didn’t think that they produced any food waste in their house. On further investigation, it turned out that they thought that ‘food waste’ was just waste scraped from the plate.

How do you make sure that your internal communications are not misunderstood in a similar way? Are any of your issues that are proving hard to resolve associated with the way in which you are communicating?

How will China’s changing stance on importing waste impact on your business?

The Chinese government has recently announced that it will ban the import of all scrap plastics and unsorted paper by the end of the year. Does this pose a threat to your business – are your waste disposal costs going to increase? Might it impact on your ability to send waste for recycling rather than landfill?

Now could be a good time to look for ways to reduce the amount of plastic and paper waste produced. Where do these materials come into your business? Is there a re-use option, eg re-usable pallet jackets instead of shrink wrap? What process gives rise to the waste? Is there an alternative?

If you think it’s worth a closer look, I can help – call me on 07904 389889.

Does every word of your environmental management system add value?

As an auditor of environmental management systems, I often see manuals and procedures that effectively just repeat the requirements of the standard they are written for.

Eg, XXXX Ltd will determine the environmental aspects of its activities, products and services that it can control, etc.

If your organization has done this, does it create value for you, or just add to the bulk of the system?

If you need a hand to slim down your management system to something that is simply adding value and helping you to achieve your environmental performance objectives, please give me a shout.

Environmental management – black and white, or shades of grey?

As you may be aware, I’ve been thinking about ‘plastic soup’ a lot recently. I’ve been thinking about my clients, but also my personal environmental impact in relation to the clothes that I wear.

Inevitably, they are not all made from natural fibres, and we now know that the fibres from clothing break off when we are wearing the clothes as well as when we wash them, causing significant pollution issues when those fibres are made from plastic.

It’s an easy conclusion to reach that I should wash those clothes less (within the bounds of social acceptability!), and possibly even wear those clothes less. But should I replace them with clothes made from natural fibres? And if I did, what should I do with the old clothes?

My usual reaction to questions like this is to think that it’s better to use something that’s already made because of the environmental impacts associated with buying replacements.

But is that the case here? Do the environmental impacts of continuing to use man-made fibres outweigh the environmental impacts of replacement?

As is so often the case with environmental issues, that’s not an easy question to answer. It reminded me of how, in environmental management, we rarely deal with black and white issues. We have to get used to working in shades of grey and making judgements according to our priorities, based on an imperfect amount of information.

What are the environmental issues that you’re wrestling with at the moment?

Improve your employees’ safety and environmental performance

Last weekend, I did a one day IAM Roadsmart training day on driving safely. We were taught to look ahead, anticipate, accelerate gently and slow down by reducing pressure on the accelerator (you don’t always need to brake). We were reminded of the importance of ensuring that our cars are well maintained, and told about how the motorways are the safest place to drive. All of these things combine to make our driving safer. They also make our driving more fuel efficient.

Is it worth considering some IAM Roadsmart training for your employees who drive a lot? It could improve their safety, improve your environmental performance (and fuel bills), and even reduce your insurance premiums if they become Advanced Drivers.