Regional Highlights Pacific Northwest
Pollution Prevention Roundtable
February 26, 2002 in Seattle, Washington; Roundtable Report Digest

The following information is summarized from the February 2002 Northwest Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable meeting. A full meeting report is also available.

 

dot WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Cathy Buller from the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC) opened the roundtable by setting the context for the meeting and describing measurement and marketing frameworks for presentations and discussions. PPRC also developed an environmental measurement topic hub that is posted on its web site at http://www.pprc.org/hubs.

 

dot OUTCOME-BASED EVALUATION

Speaker:
  Michael Jacobson
    Clegg & Associates and The Evaluation Forum
    206-448-0878,
mjacobson@cleggassociates.com

Outcome-based planning and evaluation is a systematic way to examine the extent to which a pollution prevention (P2) program has achieved its environmental quality improvement goals. The Evaluation Forum model shows what's changed for people and the environment as a result of program intervention. Outcome-based measurement models are used to hold programs accountable, assess their quality, improve resource allocation, market program benefits, and develop strategic plans. Measured outcomes must be related to a program's core business and be something a program can realistically influence. Indicators, used to track program progress, must be observable and specific. Programs must track short-term and intermediate outcomes, as well as long-term outcomes. Programs must not take too much credit for environmental outcomes over which they have only partial influence, and must be wary of collecting too much or inconsequential data.

Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot MEASUREMENT MODELS - A RANGE OF EXAMPLES

Speakers:
  Michelle Gaither
    PPRC
    206-352-2050,
mgaither@pprc.org

  Cathy Buller
    PPRC
    206-352-2050, cbuller@pprc.org

  Dave Galvin & Sandy Kilroy
    King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks
    206-263-3085, dave.galvin@metrokc.gov
    206-296-8047, sandy.kilroy@metrokc.gov

  Curtis Cude
    Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (Oregon DEQ)
    503-229-5983, cude.curtis@deq.state.or.us

Many models, environmental information management systems, on-line calculators, and software products are available. Models range from global to local. Media-specific measurement models include the Toxics Reporting Initiative (http://www.epa.gov/tri). Indicators, risk indices, and quality performance assessments also are available. PPRC will post a measurement topical hub with lists and links for much of this information on its web site (http://www.pprc.org) in June 2002.

PPRC is helping EPA Region 10 develop a P2 results measurement project. Three types of data will be gathered: reductions in process inputs and process outputs, and use of renewable/recycled materials and resources. Associated costs and savings will also be tracked. An important goal is describing the significance of the data in the context of "big pictures" issues such as salmon recovery and climate change.

King County's Department of Natural Resources and Parks is developing a performance measurement system to track overall outcomes, with flexibility to account for the uniqueness of each of the department's four divisions. Long-term, intermediate, and short-term goals have been identified. Lessons learned include making sure a measurement system is management- and operationally-driven, the importance of getting scoping issues right, and the need to avoid letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The department's Land and Water Resources Division has developed 11 measures to track progress toward desired outcomes covering water quality, health of salmon runs, flood safety, and other goals. Useful metrics convey information in a simple, easily understood way. A good example is the "sneaker index" used in Chesapeake Bay.

Oregon's Water Quality Index (http://www.deq.state.or.us/lab/WQM/WQI/wqimain.htm) tracks results of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) measurements in rivers and other water bodies around the state. Chemical, temperature, and biological factors are tracked. Water quality is rated on a five-point scale, from "excellent" to "very poor." Benchmarks show change in water quality over time.

Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot THINKING MORE BROADLY ABOUT MEASURING HOW WE'RE DOING

Speakers:
  Bob Goldberg
    Washington Department of Ecology
    360-407-6350,
bgol461@ecy.wa.gov

  Ray Victurine
    Sustainable Seattle and Cascadia Consulting
    206-343-9759, ray@cascadiaconsulting.com

  Clark Williams-Derry
    Northwest Environment Watch
    206-447-1880, clark@northwestwatch.org

Quality programs can be adapted to measure environmental performance. An example of a quality program that seeks continuous improvement is New Mexico's Green Zia program (http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/Green%20Zia/gr_zia_main.htm). Indicators were used by Sustainable Seattle (http://www.scn.org/sustainable/susthome.html) to track the city's environmental, social and economic health. Three reports have been released, and a 10th anniversary report is scheduled to be released in 2003. Northwest Environment Watch's (http://www.northwestwatch.org) latest book describes carefully chosen indicators for assessing the region's quality of life. Economic indicators alone often don't give an accurate picture of overall environmental, social and economic health.

Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot MEASUREMENT PITFALLS, CAVEATS AND SAGE ADVICE

Speakers:
  Mike Ruby
    Envirometrics
    206-633-4456,
mruby@envirometrics.com

  Heidi Siegelbaum
    Washington Department of Ecology
    360-407-6988, hsie461@ecy.wa.gov
(Ms. Siegelbaum was unable to attend. A summary of her planned presentation is provided below.)

Data presented from measurement projects must be relevant to target audiences, timely, meaningful, scalable, comparable, credible, and cost-effective to produce. Documentation of measurement must be transparent. A mix of indicators should be used and data presented to tell meaningful "before" and "after" stories.

Management support for developing and maintaining measurement programs is essential. It's important to identify and articulate measurable objectives, corresponding targets, and to ensure that measures relate to the objectives. Define terminology precisely to avoid confusion and misinterpretations. Communication is critical. Make sure staff is involved in developing measures. Talk to business clients about what's important to them. It's important to remember that information alone does not change behavior. Report information collected from measurement programs in a compelling manner that tells good stories. Use graphics.

Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT MARKETING THE ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE

Speakers:
  Liz Banse
    Environmental Media Services
    206-374-7795,
lbanse@emswest.org

  Jim DiPeso
    REP America (Republicans for Environmental Protection)
    253-740-2066, dipeso@repamerica.org

  Gail Savina
    Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County
    206-263-3062, gail.savina@metrokc.gov

To obtain media coverage of environmental issues and program activities, programs must frame the topics in terms that are immediately relevant to the concerns of media readers, listeners, and viewers. Polls can discover what's on people's minds, but scientifically valid polls are expensive. Controversy sells. Reporters frame stories in terms of conflicts. An issue has to be framed as a story, with conflicts, heroes, villains, memorable facts, and a way shown to a happier ending.

While it may seem surprising today to hear Republicans talking about environmental protection, much of the nation's environmental and conservation progress was accomplished by Republican leaders. Choosing the right language is critical to reaching out to "non-traditional" audiences, such as political conservatives. Environmental protection is consistent with traditional conservative values, if framed with the right language.

There is often a disconnect between what people say and what they do. Community-based social marketing tries to change behavior by identifying barriers to change, strategies for overcoming barriers, trying out projects, and evaluating results. Small results can lead to bigger results. Incentives and credible change agents can bring about behavior change.

Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot MARKETING ENVIRONMENTAL SUCCESS TO BUSINESSES VS. MARKETING ENVIRONMENTAL SUCCESS TO MANAGERS AND THE "PURSE STRINGS"

Speakers:
  Carolyn Gangmark
    EPA Region 10
    206-553-4072,
gangmark.carolyn@epa.gov

To market P2 programs successfully to businesses, messengers must be credible, solutions must be easy and cost-effective, solutions must be consistent with business values, and businesses must be able to customize them to fit their situations. Businesses that have benefited from P2 programs can serve as powerful allies to defend and strengthen programs at the legislative level. Measurement must be built into programs at all levels.

Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 


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