Nieuws - 12 juni 2008

Communication on sustainability

Communication within the organisation seems to be one of the difficulties of this Executive Board. This point is well illustrated by the troubles the board has in communicating about the measures they are taking to improve sustainability within Wageningen UR.
Last year, PSF and WSO organised a big action, The Inconvenient Truth about WUR, to raise awareness about the lack of effort WUR is making to implement sustainability in its own organisation. The action hit a bull’s eye and many students and staff members supported the action. Over 1,000 signatures were collected and the Wageningen Environmental Platform (WEP) was founded.
On 22 March, 2007, right after the action, Resource reported: ‘Breukink [member of the Executive Board, Ed.] does not agree that internal management ignores sustainability. ‘There’s a lot being done, but not everyone knows about it.’ …the problem, according to Breukink, is the lack of awareness of the measures. For this reason a communication plan is being prepared.’ Thus, according to Tijs Breukink, the whole action was not necessary, because all the Board had to do was communicate more about what they are already doing.
Another quote from Resource: ‘According to Joris Fortuin, head of Forum, Wageningen is getting better, but many people don’t know exactly what the organisation is doing: ‘Maybe everyone needs to communicate better about the initiatives that are being taken’.’ Interestingly enough, Joris Fortuin uses the same words as Breukink, the only difference being that he did so in Resource of 15 May, 2008.
These two quotes illustrate the alarming difference between what is being said and what is being done. More than one year has passed since the action and there is still no communication whatsoever from the Executive Board about their efforts to improve the sustainability of the organisation.
Maybe Simon Vink is right in his reaction during the recent follow-up action of WEP at Forum: ‘For students, it is maybe not going fast enough’ (Gelderlander, 14 April, 2008). Indeed, if it takes more than a year to start communicating about what you are already doing, things are not going fast enough. Hereby, WEP offers its services to help make a plan to communicate better about the progress of the communication plan!