Diving into materials development
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February 9, 2021


The Green Fins initiative – implemented internationally by The Reef-World Foundation and the UN Environment Programme – reduces the negative environmental impacts associated with marine tourism. The initiative protects coral reefs through the only internationally recognised environmental standards for diving and snorkelling and robust assessments to measure compliance.

Green Fins encourages and empowers the diving industry to reduce the pressures on coral reefs by offering practical, low-cost alternatives to harmful practices and providing strategic training, support and resources. By reducing the local pressures tourism puts on coral reefs, it helps make corals healthier and more resilient to other stresses.

The challenge

Reef-World is continually developing new Green Fins materials to help its network improve their sustainable practices and educate both staff and guests about actions that can be taken to protect coral reefs. Previously, the charity had an ad hoc approach to developing materials and needed help being more strategic in meeting the needs of their beneficiaries.

The strategy

  • Ran comprehensive materials and audience audits to determine areas of highest need
  • Created materials inventory for easy tracking of the development status of all materials
  • Led the development of charity-wide materials naming protocols for clarity and consistency
  • Implemented new policies and protocols to streamline team performance for enhanced results in a more time effective manner
  • Developed a long-term materials development plan based on the audit’s findings
  • Ensured the charity’s communications strategy included focused promotion of the Green Fins website and downloads
  • Led the internal team, contractors, interns and volunteers in the development of new materials including translations into new languages
  • Integral to the relaunch of the new Green Fins website where the materials are now hosted (Oct 2020)
  • Led the redesign of the Green Fins logo based on audience feedback
  • Developed branding guidelines to ensure consistency across all materials.

The results

  • Year one (2019-2020)
  • Creation of Green Fins plastic checklists for divers and operators
  • Launch of new sunscreen poster and infographic
  • Development of Reef-World’s 2018-19 annual report
  • 77% year-on-year increase in number of materials downloaded (7,450+ from 4,200+)
  • Exposed 115,000+ tourists to our educational materials (up from 110,000+ the previous year)

  • Year two (2020-2021)
  • Made Green Fins materials available in Arabic
  • Facilitated creation of Green Fins materials into (refreshed) Japanese
  • Made selected Green Fins materials publicly available in French, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese and Turkish
  • Development of Reef-World’s 2019-20 annual report
  • Created new Green Fins guidelines for disinfecting chemical cleaning
  • Created new Green Fins guidelines for environmentally friendly cleanups
  • Created new Green Fins alternatives to anchoring guidelines
  • Created new Green Fins guidelines for Crown-of-Thorns seastar (COTS) cleanups

Melissa was Reef-World’s Communications Manager from March 2019 to February 2021.

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