Communicating the state of the environment

Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water

State of the environment reporting is an internationally recognised approach to assessing changes in all aspects of our environment.

Every 5 years, independent experts conduct a national assessment of the state of Australia’s environment, which reports on the current condition and trends of our environment and what this means for the future. It is a key publication that informs decision makers and the public, to shape policy and action. 

Biotext has been a strategic partner throughout the intensive process of developing and producing this important national report. Working with the authors, government department and web development teams, we created a content strategy and worked to plan, shape, write, edit and design clear and engaging content for the 2021, 2016 and 2011 reports.

In recognition of the strength of the content, the 2021 Australia State of the Environment website won the Best in Show for Content at the 2023 Australian Web Awards.

The 2021 State of the Environment report website exemplifies the best-practice presentation of complex content, demonstrating how a website can present scientific content in an engaging way to meet the needs of several audiences.

It also demonstrates the success of a collaborative and agile approach between government, environmental, content and web experts. The team – with the department, authors, Biotext and EY Digital – developed clear content and effective information design to meet government, industry, research and community needs.

From the award nomination

Each report aims to capture clear messaging as well as in-depth analysis across all aspects of the environment: the 2021 report has an overview, plus 12 chapters examining air quality, biodiversity, climate, coasts, extreme events, heritage, Indigenous, inland water, land, marine, urban and Antarctica. The chapters are developed by subject matter experts, working with Indigenous co-authors, and are peer reviewed and developed over many months to present the most accurate picture of our environment and its future.

We have also been involved in jurisdictional state of the environment reporting, including State of the environment South Australia 2013 and ACT state of the environment report 2015.

Our role:

Strategy – we work with the authors, department, user-testing and web teams to develop a content strategy and project plan to ensure that the report has the highest possible impact and to support efficient workflow

Writing – we develop the structure and flow of each report through numerous author revisions and expert reviews, with the aim of presenting clear messages as well as technical detail

Editing – we check scientific accuracy, consistency and clarity of expression through several rounds of editing and proofreading

Information design – we develop concepts for web and print to aid navigation and engagement

Infographics – our editors and designers work with authors to identify key messages and concepts, and develop engaging infographics to highlight and explain the messages

Data visualisation – we ensure that graphs and other figures are accurate and easy to understand, and that data are accessible