The SHAPE of Effective Climate Change Communication: Taking a RoundView

  • Joanne TippettEmail author
  • Fraser How
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


The challenges of developing new approaches for climate change adaptation and mitigation cannot be solved unilaterally. We need to work together strategically and communicate more effectively. This requires more than just sharing a simple message—it requires widespread learning and capacity building for change. Decades of action research have led to the development of two frameworks that support this. First, the ‘SHAPE’ framework gives an understanding of the characteristics of learning initiatives for capability building. Second, the ‘RoundView’ gives a systems-based framework for understanding environmental problems. It helps people understand the underlying causes of climate change, and offers a set of positive guidelines to help us actively navigate towards a desired future. Applying the SHAPE framework in climate change communication helps make fundamental environmental ideas accessible to a wide range of people, from primary school children to board room executives. This builds skills amongst participants to both explore and respond to the issues. The aim is to increase not just participants’ capability to act, but also their motivation and enthusiasm for change, together with their ability to communicate effectively with others towards this end. This paper presents the SHAPE framework, providing a guide to key concepts and approaches to consider in the design of climate change communication and learning initiatives. It reviews evidence gathered so far regarding the efficacy of SHAPE and the RoundView in terms of increasing understanding, capacity and motivation for change.


Sustainability education Climate change Capacity building Systems thinking Change management 



Foundational research was funded by the ESRC (PTA-026-27-0068, S42200124048), Mersey Basin Campaign, the Sustainable Consumption Institute and Tesco. Thanks to the research team on the Sustainable Consumption Institute project: Ebenhaezer le Roux, Graeme Sherriff, Pete Mann and Valerie Farnsworth. The Ellen McArthur Foundation, UNLTD, HEFCE, UMI3 and CEEBL have supported development of the RoundView learning tools. The Heritage Lottery Fund funds the Carbon Landscape project. For more information, see and


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Planning and Environmental Management, School of Environment, Education and DevelopmentThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.How Creative, Independent ConsultantManchesterUK

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