Propane industry revamps environmental messaging

February 10, 2021 By    

As calls to ban fossil fuels and electrify everything intensify, propane marketers can respond with renewed confidence thanks to a unified environmental messaging campaign and a coordinated outreach campaign spearheaded by the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).

The new environmental messaging campaign positions propane as an ally, not an enemy, in the shared goals of decarbonization and energy equity.

A joint task force of NPGA and PERC officers invited feedback from industry members, environmentalists and consultants to devise the fresh approach, which addresses three concerns: a perception that fossil fuel companies resist progress; moral certitude that conflates facts about environmental science with beliefs about the best path forward; and a sense of urgency regarding the possibility of climate catastrophe. Two messaging pillars emerged from those conversations:

  • “Clean and renewable energy like propane accelerates decarbonization.”
  • “Access to clean, affordable and renewable energy like propane ensures equity on the path to zero.”

Supporting arguments about the drawbacks of all-electrification – such as rising energy costs, the potentially prohibitive cost of renewables like solar panels, and debatable emissions results in countries like Germany – bolster these core messages.

The playbook for coordinated outreach delegates responsibilities among key propane industry groups. NPGA will focus on educating policymakers about propane’s role in a net-zero future, upending the view that electrification is the only path forward.

PERC will target influencers outside of the industry such as professors, journalists and government officials. The PERC team will also focus on a “rapid response” strategy to combat all-electrification misinformation.

“We want people to say positive things about the environmental effects of propane because if we say it, we’re the fossil fuels industry clinging to our past,” explains Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of PERC.

It’s up to propane marketers, however, to convey this message to their customers and communities, says Perkins. These grassroots efforts, he adds, will determine whether the industry will succeed in spreading its message.

The work on the campaign has only just begun, note task force members. Approaches will be tailored for various industry members and geographic regions. Once the campaign rolls out to the public, it will be evaluated on an ongoing basis for reach and efficacy.

Featured image: Cecilie_Arcurs/E+/Getty Images

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