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Building bridges to economy : the impact of environmental communication programs in German business

By Wolfgang Meyer


In Germany, several efforts to build "bridges" over the frequently discussed "gap" between ecology and economy had been made both from governmental as well as from non-governmental actors. For more than ten years, the Federal Environmental Ministry (BMU), the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) and the German Environmental Foundation (DBU) financed a huge number of projects to improve environmental communication infrastructures within federal associations and organisations for offering applicable environmental information and consultation to a great variety of target groups. Some of these projects aim at small and medium-sized enterprises and have been realised in co-operation with federal business associations (e.g. the chambers of commerce). This paper is concerned with the impact of two comprehensive programs in the 90s. The first program of BMU/UBA supported about one hundred communication projects run by different federal associations. The second program of DBU was an immediate measure to build up an environmental consulting infrastructure for communes, enterprises, and employers in the former GDR after unification. These programs have been ex-post evaluated by Saarland University. As a guideline for evaluation, a generalised communication model was developed and will be used in this paper to specify the communication problems between the implementing organisations and their target groups. One task of both evaluation studies was to identify the sustainable impact of these public support programs on communication processes in business and an overview of our findings on this subject will be given here. During the 90s, the international discussion on sustainable development strongly influenced German environmental policy. By comparing those projects with clear-cut targets on sustainable development with the other ones, some indications for the impact of this discussion on environmental communication in business organisations could be found. Additionally this results will be briefly summarised and discussed in this paper. With respect of the new demands addressed to environmental communication by the sustainability debate, some recommendations will be offered to answer the question, what should be done to develop appropriate measures for improving communication performances of federal business organisations in Germany

Topics: Umweltschutz / Kommunikation, Umweltkommunikation, Verbände, Wirtschaft, Evaluation, environmental communication, business, evaluation, no entry
Publisher: Fakultät 5 - Philosophische Fakultät III. Fachrichtung 5.2 - Soziologie
Year: 2002
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