As Industry Changes, Environmental Association Recycles Its Name

To help unite various players in the recycling and waste-management industry, the Environmental Industry Associations announced last week that it will merge with two subgroups under a new name.

We see this name [change] as the first of many important steps to build the industry.

If you want to be recognized as a go-to resource in your industry, you need a name people will recognize, which is partly why the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) announced it will change its name to the National Waste and Recycling Association next month.

“We see this name [change] as the first of many important steps to build the industry,” said Sharon Kneiss, president and CEO of the association. “Now we’re going to have one united name and a name that’s very recognizable … to not only promote the industry but also to work effectively with communities and the media and other important stakeholders to develop data that tells you more about the industry.”

The name change comes after EIA merged with its two sub-associations—the National Solid Wastes Management Association and the Waste Equipment Technology Association—to create a more united membership. Both moves are part of a new strategic plan the organization created  a year ago. A third initiative is a commitment to offering strong educational, safety, and technology programs covering all things waste and recycling, Kneiss said.

The group’s name change is the latest in a string of rebranding announcements among associations, all driven by changes in their respective business environments. Just last week the American League of Lobbyists announced it is now the Association of Government Relations Professionals. The new name better encompasses the variety of professionals involved in government relations, lobbying, and public affairs, the group said in statement.

And the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel announced this month that it had changed its name to the United States Fashion Industry Association o to better reflect the changing industry and its expanded mission.

For any association considering a name change, beware the emotions it might stir up.

“Don’t go into it lightly,” Kneiss said. “It’s a very personal issue for members of the association, so you have to work very closely with them.”

Kneiss also advised doing research into how your industry is viewed among key stakeholders, because you may be surprised.

“I’ll tell you, how we thought the industry was viewed was very different from how our stakeholders and the public actually view us,” Kneiss said. “You can really use [the research] as an education tool going forward for your communications efforts as well as for getting a better sense of what you should name yourself.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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