As we begin to wrap up 2021, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) is focused on finalizing a tactical management plan for 2022 issue priorities — and to begin the second year of performance on our five-year strategic plan.
Partnerships will continue to be a focal point, with the goal of increasing the number and role of pesticide stakeholders engaged on issues that are important to all of us. We’re especially focused on building partnerships, grassroots engagement and media awareness in states where issues are newly emerging for our industry in the Southwest. These are places where pest management professionals (PMPs) can play a key role as the voice of the industry.
In September, RISE members and partners met during our annual meeting to start the 2022 planning process, bringing to the discussion perspectives from manufacturer through applicator. Integral to this process is a look back at 2021 policy priorities, emerging issues and the media cycle. Even as the COVID-19 Delta variant affected how we worked, policy pressure on insecticides, active ingredients, certain classes of chemistry and rodenticides continued at both the state and local legislative levels.
PLASTIC PACKAGING: A STATE ISSUE
One emerging area for RISE in 2021 was plastic packaging recycling legislation, with Oregon and Maine passing laws. Other states are poised to pass their own laws in 2022. Currently, such measures are being introduced on a state-by-state basis absent a federal framework.
We are currently working with a consortium to bring consistency and cost-efficiency to proposed “circular economy” product programs, as well as ease of use for the end-user applicator of packaged products.
MEDIA ENGAGEMENT CONTINUES
Starting in January, we will ramp up our already-considerable efforts to share news and information. This “amplified drumbeat” will be supported by a new wave of public opinion research RISE is undertaking this winter. The research findings will help ensure our pesticide messages and conversations resonate with our target audiences.
I’m looking forward to sharing what we are learning from focus groups, and sharing new tested messages with national and state partners, including the National Pest Management Association. We know from more than a decade of opinion research that taking time to understand people’s questions — and to answer their questions in a relatable and factual way — can be very powerful.
We are experiencing new public focus on facts, science and the role of our federal and state regulatory agencies. This perspective is giving us another powerful way to communicate with people, and raise awareness of our robust federal and state regulatory framework.
Telling the story about the scientific, complex and necessary work done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and each state’s regulators is another area of communications focus. It’s a story I urge all PMPs to share with customers and policymakers in their respective states.
While there is little positive about a global pandemic, it has resulted in heightened public awareness about science, regulation and pesticide benefits. It also has given us the ability to join important meetings anywhere in the country. Such conversations and opportunities did not exist 18 months ago. This unprecedented set of circumstances raised awareness about our industry and its importance to protecting homes, businesses, communities and the environment.
We plan to keep the conversation going as one way of ensuring products remain available — and that we are a vibrant, growing industry in 2022 and beyond.