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As a major waste management company Biffa was faced with potential and actual media crises on a regular basis. This included everything from ‘low risk’ issues such as collection and odour complaints to ‘high risk’ issues such as fire and serious injury and even death.


Waste industry/recycling

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Agency: Pelican Communications

The Challenge

Recognising the reputational damage a crisis can cause, Biffa asked Pelican to manage the reputation of the business by handling any potential or actual negative publicity and conducting effective internal communications at a time of crisis.

The Solution

Pelican worked with the director of safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) to identify the most likely potential risks and issues. This included collection issues, collision, fire, serious injury, death, odours, pests, tanker spillage and local pollution.

We then drafted a crisis media and internal communications manual which was integrated with the Biffa operations plan. It included crisis media team contact details, checklists to determine the level of a crisis and the procedures to follow, crisis response templates for likely media issues, key messages and key media.

A crisis media team was also formed, spokesmen trained and draft template responses prepared for a number of different scenarios. Finally we set-up a dedicated phone line specifically for Biffa media enquiries ensuring they could be dealt with effectively and efficiently. This number diverted to a mobile out of office hours to offer a 24 hour media response in a crisis.

The Results

Pelican effectively responded to over 20 separate incidents which had the potential to damage the reputation of the company. In 80% of cases, coverage was balanced and 40% contained key messages.

In addition, the project resulted in Pelican being awarded CIPR PRide Gold Award in Crisis Communications.


For more information on our work in the Waste and Environmental sector, follow this link: