Vinyl 2010 puts into action the European PVC industry’s commitment to improve sustainability. Cambre and Zelian developed and implemented creative, non-traditional initiatives such as a branded city tram and a young people’s essay competition to communicate the industry’s support for a sustainable European future, foster relationships with stakeholders, and shape public opinion of the industry and the Vinyl 2010 brand.
Vinyl 2010 was set up in 2000 by European associations representing the entire PVC value chain to implement the European PVC industry’s Voluntary Commitment.
The European PVC industry had been committed to the improvement of its environmental performance for several years and their products could demonstrate sustainability as well as excellent technical performance. But the material and industry were still under fierce attack from environmental NGOs and other opinion shapers who portrayed the industry’s actions as “green wash”. This made product de-selection a growing concern.
Cambre/Zelian used in-depth knowledge of the PVC sector and industrial environmental issues, coupled with creative concepts, to win the pitch for a-long term communications plan focused on creating awareness and repositioning perceptions of Vinyl 2010 and its work on sustainable development.
Goals included increasing brand recognition of Vinyl 2010 as a symbol of innovation and modernisation within the framework of sustainable development, plus raising awareness and understanding of Vinyl 2010 to promote alliances with institutions and associations.
The strategy was to make sustainable development Vinyl 2010’s brand identity, and leverage that into broader, more resilient positioning for the PVC industry, yielding touchpoints for engagement with wider audiences.
The first phase of the programme focused on industry, to create internal awareness and value sharing, and externally on stakeholders, in order to build up and reach out to influencers through networking; the second phase addressed consumers and public opinion alongside other audiences.
A mix of traditional and non-traditional strategic communications activities included:
Sustainable Development Campaign Launch - The Vinyl Foundation was launched by Vinyl 2010 to receive industry funding for sustainable development projects, and needed an outreach campaign with communications tools, stakeholder meetings, and media relations components. Cambre/Zelian first worked on positioning and messages, and then developed a full set of tools ranging from a dedicated website in different languages to a series of posters, brochures and advertisements. The funding mechanism was launched at a stakeholder event and we handled the media relations around the launch. We are continuing to develop media opportunities and to place articles on Vinyl 2010 and its new Foundation.
Vinyl Tram – To raise awareness by Brussels-based opinion-formers of the challenges and commitment to Sustainable Development of the European vinyl industry, we suggested an old-fashioned tool – advertising. With the message “We’re keeping our promises”, we placed advertisements on a city tram which ran for one month over chosen lines, capturing attention and reinforcing other outreach activities in Metro stations, in-front of the European Parliament, at Green Week and via the media.
Vinyl 2010 Essay Competition – Cambre/Zelian developed the concept for, launched and managed a pan-European essay competition to raise the profile of Vinyl 2010 and position its think tanks. We rolled out the first Essay Competition in the autumn of 2007, inviting young people aged 18-30 from across the EU to answer the question “Are sustainable development and economic growth mutually exclusive?” in 1,000 words. Essays - some of which directly challenged conventional wisdom - were received from fourteen different EU countries. Vinyl 2010 communicated messages from the essays in a range of activities in its sustainable development outreach.
Cambre/Zelian fostered relationships and partnerships with high profile institutions and stakeholders (researchers and universities, regulators and international institutions), and promoted Vinyl 2010 participation at main EU level sustainable development events, such as the Brussels ‘Green Week’, Friends of Europe Café Crossfire debates, ACRR /Citizens’ Parliament on Sustainable Consumption, the International Forum on Partnerships for Sustainable Development, ENCOS (European Network Conference on Sustainability), the European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production, SETAC Europe events, and the ISWA (International Solid Waste Association).
In 2004, Vinyl 2010 was accepted as a partnership registered with the Secretariat of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Since May 2006, Vinyl 2010 has been participating in the annual global UN CSD at the UN Headquarters in New York and has been contributing achievements and experiences through the CSD Partnerships Fair.
Also since 2006, Vinyl 2010 has been a VIP member of the Brussels-based Think-Tank for EU policy analysis and debate, Friends of Europe.
Perceptions of Vinyl 2010 and the positioning of the European PVC industry have dramatically improved: Vinyl 2010 papers are regularly presented during “green events” and representatives of consumer associations, as well as Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission, have become members of the Vinyl 2010 Monitoring Committee.
Strong results in European market performance confirm this improvement in perceptions of PVC.