In 2013, more than 1,000 Syrian civilians were killed by the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons. The international community was outraged and ordered that the weapons and tons of chemical precursors should be destroyed.
Environmental services company Veolia undertook some of that work on behalf of the UK Government. But it was to be carried out at Ellesmere near Liverpool, within two miles of a primary school and residential neighbourhoods.
Technical considerations aside, Veolia’s challenge was to deliver a reputation management strategy/comms campaign that would convince a wide range of stakeholders that the chemicals could be treated safely and securely in the UK. It ensured that the workforce and unions were kept fully informed, undertook special briefings for the local MP and operated an open-door policy for local people to remove the mystique of the facility and tackle misconceptions.
By undertaking this unique challenge and launching an outreach programme like no other in the history of the facility, Veolia embarked on the biggest reputation management story affecting the UK chemical industry in 2014.
It was an impressive, high-risk approach, highly commendable for being totally open -and it paid off
David Wilson, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (PlayStation)
Samaritans’ Media Guidance – Robin Williams’ Suicide; Samaritans
Communicating the UK; Government’s Response to the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone; DfID
TB Free England; National Farmers’ Union
Where is Your Line?; Red Consultancy for Allergan