2014 Platinum PR Awards: Green PR

Winner: MSLGROUP - Recycle RenCen: How GM Eliminated an Entire Zip Code's Daily Waste

GM has 111 sites globally that are landfill-free, and while each facility has had its own unique waste streams and challenges to overcome on the path to becoming landfill-free, the most challenging also serves as the most symbolic: the company’s global headquarters, the iconic General Motors Renaissance Center that dominates Detroit’s skyline.

It was no easy task given the scale and complexity of the RenCen, as it is known locally. The complex is 5.5 million-square-feet and has its own ZIP code. It’s GM’s only public facility, which means the company had to engage more than its own employees. With 11 other business tenants, 27 retailers and 20 restaurants drawing 12,000 office workers and 3,000 daily visitors, the effort required communication, collaboration and commitment from all parties.

GM charged MSLGROUP with planning and executing a comprehensive internal and external PR campaign in order to engage employees to improve the recycling rate by 20% during 2012 and 2013 and promote GM’s recycling leadership and the RenCen’s landfill-free achievement through earned print, broadcast and online media coverage.

Tactics for this program included signage and fliers around the RenCen, employee e-blasts, a feature page on GM’s intranet site, internal newsletter articles, blog post, news release, photos, video, and satellite and radio media tours.

Ultimately, the two-year internal employee and business tenant engagement and awareness campaign resulted in a 22% improvement in recycling over 2011 data. Overall the facility nearly doubled the volume during the campaign. In addition, through the campaign, GM was positioned as an industry and community leader in 40 news outlets.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Full Picture - Cotton Incorporated's Blue Jeans Go Green
  • Honda North America, Inc. - Honda Smart Home US
  • Ogilvy Public Relations - Launching Ford’s C-MAX Solar Energi Concept
  • Ogilvy Public Relations - MyEnergi Lifestyle: Connecting the Car and Home to Save  Money and Reduce Environmental Footprint
  • Sprint - Good Works