Title: NICOLE Communication on Contaminated Land Booklet 
Resource Type: document --> guidance / decision support 
Country: EU Projects 
Year: 2004 
Availability: NICOLE (2004) Communication on contaminated land. NICOLE Secretariat, TNO, PO Box 342, 7300 AH Apeldoorn, the Netherlands e-mail: m.euser@mep.tno.nl 
Author 1/Producer: NICOLE 
Other Authors/Producers: Schelwald vd Kley 
Author / Producer Type: Professional / trade / industry associations, institutes or networks 
Report / download web link (=direct link): http://www.nicole.org  
Format (e.g. PDF): PDF 
Size: (e.g. 20mb) 998 
EUGRIS Keyword(s): Brownfields
Contaminated land-->Contaminated land overview
Contaminated land-->Risk assessment-->Risk assessment overview
Contaminated land-->Risk management-->Risk management overview
Contaminated land-->Risk management-->Selection of remediation options
Contaminated land-->Wider impacts / sustainability-->Social
Contaminated land-->Wider impacts / sustainability-->Sustainable / green remediation
Short description: NICOLE recognises the need for practical guidance on risk communication in the context of sustainable land management. Experience shows that effective communication can lead to a better quality of solution for all the parties concerned, and its wider acceptance. 
Long description: Many industrial and service providing companies were willing to share their best practices and communication experiences in relation to contaminated land management. Their case stories have just been compiled, along with the key communication messages they illustrate, into a practical booklet.

“It was quite interesting to collect all the case material for this booklet and interview experienced environmental and communication managers”, according to Lida Schelwald, who initiated and drafted the communications booklet. “While doing so, I tried to distil common, basic principles and find the key(s) to successful communication.

“The first thing that struck me was that most companies were quite open about their communication experiences, either good or bad. Being open and honest is also one of the key principles for successful communication. I also discovered that most companies put a lot of effort in their communication process with stakeholders and are usually well equipped to do so. Of course their reputation may be at stake, but the driving force usually lies deeper.

“As the case studies came from all over Europe, from Sweden to Bulgaria, it became apparent that cultural differences need always be taken into account. What works in one place doesn’t necessarily work in another place. Involving and working with local people, who are familiar with the local customs, appears to be a wise strategy.

“In the end it all seems to come down to a few basic communication principles, such as treating people with respect, listening to their concerns, involving them and taking them seriously. Not surprisingly emotions come into play, as soil contamination often affects the main things people care for, like their personal health, the health of their loved ones and the value of their property. So addressing technical issues alone is a strategy that nearly always fails.

“Another basic principle is to do what you promised to do and do it on time. Not obeying this rule greatly jeopardizes an organisation’s trustworthiness. But perhaps one of the main communication lessons that I noted from the cases is that pro-activeness pays off. Pro-activeness means not waiting for problems to surface, having a structured communication system in place and building up trust before it is needed. Maintaining good relationships is based on mutual respect and regularly communicating with stakeholders, such as the local communities.

“Of course there is more to communication, than can be described in this brief introduction (or even in the booklet). Nevertheless the cases, for which I owe my thanks to everyone who contributed, cover an interesting range of issues, and I recommend you all to read the booklet!”

Link to Project(s): NICOLE Network for Industrially Contaminated Land In Europe
Link to Organisation(s): NICOLE Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Europe
Submitted By: Paul Bardos WhoDoesWhat?      Last update: 10/10/2006

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