Construction and infrastructure projects are some of our favorite things to communicate. However, all these projects, we put our energy in, have one thing is common: They advance future-oriented, sustainable development. This applies to the expansion of the power grid just as much as it does to company and production buildings of regionally rooted companies, rail transport or drinking water supply facilities.
As communicators we have a major responsibility here: To raise people's awareness of the fact that any reconstruction impacts the environment to a certain degree. This also applies to those construction projects that serve a sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Only the fundamental understanding that sustainability is not available for free enables climate-neutral growth of infrastructure projects.
Shaping the discours
That is why we see our task as discourse shapers. We do not only want to generate acceptance with our work. We want to help citizens and companies to learn from each other through long-term dialog and understand their motives and needs. Every reconstruction always has an impact on something that already exists. In cities, for example, there are conflicts of use between space for public transport, living space and green areas. Companies that want to expand their production sites in their traditional region often consume land that was reserved for agriculture or local recreation. In our view, the poor alternative here is to relocate site expansions to Eastern Europe or Asia.
As communicators, we highlight solutions and perspectives for such construction projects through discourse that is rooted in broad social approval. Three factors are the cornerstones of our communication here:
- No greenwashing! Good things must be emphasized in communication, but they must not be exaggerated. The downsides of a construction project should not be denied or concealed. Regarding credibility, sincerity pays off in the long-term. Therefore, factual, transparent communication must be the top priority.
- Climate and environment should be reflected on the stakeholder list and in the editorial plan! Today, the environmental and climate impacts of a project must always be considered from the outset - and on top be taken up in communication. Citizens expect companies to transparently reflect on their actions regarding environmental issues. Our advice to project sponsors: actively put the project’s sustainability on the agenda! Otherwise, others will do it.
- Maintain constant dialog and professional discourse! Planning processes and approval procedures for infrastructure projects is complex. Only if citizens have a chance to understand the technical processes and participate in the technical discourse, they will approve the projects. Communication must therefore make the complicated technical details accessible. It also helps to create space for debate and offers citizens the opportunity to discuss planning considerations. This enables understanding and, in the best case, it promotes the integration of citizens into the process.