Communications Workshop

The aim of the workshop was to examine the ways in which staff engagement and wider communications can help in greening the UN. Too often communication is thought of as something that happens at the end of a process or project. The workshop examined ways in which communications can be used as a vehicle for achieving change, and can help to make the UN more sustainable.

Day One of the workshop focused on external communications and how reporting and other types of communication can be used as a driver for change.

Day Two focused on internal communications and how we can better engage staff and develop more sustainable behaviours.

Participants heard from representatives of other UN agencies, experts in the field of communications, and leaders in reporting and sustainability management systems. They also had the opportunity to go deeper into particular issues in break-out sessions, whilst enjoying time for informal networking.


Key Conclusions

  1. Whenever you're communicating about sustainability, be very clear in your objectives.
  2. Know your audience. Approach the issue from their perspective, not yours.
  3. Keep your messages positive and solutions-oriented. Avoid fear, doom, gloom and guilt.
  4. Get your leaders involved and motivated.
  5. Recognise and reward success.
  6. Tell the SUN team how we can help.



The workshop has already been reported on the iSeek website and will be visible to those of you with access to iSeek.
Further details of the outputs from the workshop are below:

  1. Full workshop report
  2. Agenda
  3. Participant contact details
  4. Greening the blue' Google Group
  5. PowerPoint presentations for each session:

Day One

  • Welcome and introductions - Satinder Bindra
  • Welcome video - Achim Steiner
  • The Sustainable United Nations project - Niclas Svenningsen (pdf)
  • External Communications: the theory - Solitaire Townsend
  • The Global Reporting Initiative and the UN - Maaike Fleur (pdf)
  • Sustainability in Geneva - Alexandre Epalle and Zoe Cimatti (pdf)
  • Panel discussion
  • Feedback from breakout groups

Day Two

  • Welcome and summary of day one - Julie MacKenzie
  • Achieving behavior change through engagement - James Alexander
  • Internal communications as a change agent - Imogen Martineau (pdf)
  • UN House Brussels - Martine Foerter (pdf)
  • UNDP, Beijing - Jian Ruan (pdf)
  • UNON, Nairobi - Step by Step (pdf)
  • Feedback from breakout groups

Next steps

  • SUN to circulate outputs from workshop
  • SUN to set up a Google Group for participants and circulate contact details
  • SUN to establish a newsletter for participants at the workshop
  • SUN to develop a communications strategy for 'Greening the Blue'
  • SUN to create on-line platform for anyone interested in 'Greening the Blue'

Useful Links


Do the Green Thing
Environment Management Group
Geneva Agenda 21
Global Reporting Initiative
Seal the Deal!