Monthly Archives: April 2012

Building an environmental culture in mining: Application of CBSM

Building an Environmental Culture

When building an environmental culture, mining companies often place most of their resources into educating their employee’s using a variety of media (e.g. booklets, inductions, posters, newsletters, training, tool box meeting topics). Mining personnel are often inundated with information, which is important but not sufficient alone to drive a change in culture.  Results from broader community based programs have demonstrated that education alone and millions of dollars invested in such programs does not guarantee that they will work.

The CBSM Approach

I recently attended a 3-day workshop held by Dr Doug Mckenzie-Mohr on Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM). Doug is an internationally recognised environmental psychologist, a leader in his field, having published books on CBSM and developed an informative website ( sharing success stories and information.

As the only representative from the mining industry at that particular workshop, I recognised the potential application of Doug’s CBSM methodology to the mining community. The methodology that Doug outlines is as follows:

  1. Select behaviours based on environmental aspects that are material to the business e.g. turning off computer screens have the potential to have a 20% energy saving in a corporate office.
  2. Identify barriers and benefits e.g. based on face to face surveys with a subset of the office community it may be determined that the barrier is not attitude. It may be identified that employees are not in the habit of turning off the screen.
  3. Develop a strategy e.g. using the computer screen example – the strategy may be to send reminders to those that commit to turn off their screen (and are happy to receive reminders) for a period of two weeks to get them into the habitat.
  4. Pilot program – test the strategy on a subset of the population. This wont work if the mining community is small (< 150 employees) and thus for a small mining company this will fall under Step 5, but may serve as a pilot program for the industry more broadly if the outcomes were shared. For a larger company, implementing a pilot program initially (Step 4) will ensure the broader program is cost-effective.
  5. Implement broadly and evaluate.

It is worthwhile reading Doug’s books, Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing
and Social Marketing to Protect the Environment: What Works,
or attending a course if this blog sparks your interest. There is so much more to the methodology than that outlined above.

Stay tuned to future blogs as I explore the use of Doug Mckenzie-Mohr’s CBSM approach to fostering sustainable behaviour within the mining industry.