Sustainability as a competitive differentiator

Today I have the pleasure to be in the magic city of Medellin, Colombia speaking at the first International Symposium on Events and Conventions. The events industry in Colombia is in serious development at the moment with a growth of 47% during the last year alone. The leaders of this event realize that sustainability and quality are critical components for the development of the MICE industry, and invited me to share some best practices and trends from around the world.

My session was entitled “Sustainability as a Competitive Differentiator”.  In the presentation that you can see below, identified over the years from organizations who have used sustainability to deliver increase value to their stakeholders.

  1. Leaders Lead: They stop watching the game from the stands and they get on the pitch. They take a proactive role to inspire their teams to learn and implement more sustainable actions. They take a dynamic role in their industry and community to champion and advocate for more sustainable practices.
  2. Leaders understand the context: They research and educate themselves and their organisations to understand the social, economic and environmental trends and risks (ie. Climate Change). They understand how these risks will affect their business, and identify the opportunities that are available to create new or improve existing services/products.
  3. Leaders connect and collaborate: They understand the power of using their existing networks and joining new ones to engage with their stakeholders. They listen, they learn, they share, and most important they form partnerships to advance sustainability within their own organisations, industry and community.
  4. Leaders integrate and innovate: From a clear understand of the issues and expectations of their stakeholders, Leaders integrate sustainability into their operations. They don’t add on sustainability as an additional service or product; instead they embed sustainability into the standard operating practices across their business. Leader understand that sustainability is a core component of their “quality management strategy” and uses it to inspire innovation across their business.
  5. Leaders measure performance and its value: They are fanatic about measuring the impacts and results of their sustainability initiatives. They investigate and analyze their impacts, and use data to make decisions and investments that deliver value for their organization and their stakeholders.

ps. Colombia is an amazing destination. I totally recommend that you consider it for your next event, incentive or conference. Amazing service, great people, beautiful country.

Embracing Sustainability: success factors in sustainable events

Last week at IMEX in Frankfurt and at Eventoria in Luxembourg, I was asked to share my views on how best to embrace sustainability. Hence I created a presentation that shares a strategic framework for implementing sustainability strategically  into a single event or meetings department. It uses examples to define 5 key steps:

  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Operational integration
  • Good governance

It refers to our work on the EU Presidency. That you can read about here:

 

Sustainability as a driver for successful associations

I was at the IMEX tradeshow this week in Frankfurt, and had the opportunity to present at the Association Day. This is a yearly event which brings leaders together to discuss trends and issues effecting the successful management of associations and societies.

Together with Lucy Goodchild of the Global Reporting Initiative, we ran a workshop that looked at the how associations can increase member value through sustainability. We looked at how global change is effecting associations, and how they can and should respond to support their members with the increasing demand for new knowledge, skills, tools, advocacy and commitment.  In the ppt you will see case studies from various associations around the world.

Let us know what you think?

Business Case for Sustainable Events

At EIBTM I was interviewed by Paul Salinger, VP of Marketing at Oracle and President of the GMIC.  In this short video both Paul and I share some of our key views on the business case for sustainability: including perception that sustainable meetings are more expensive, reporting, measurement and supplier engagement. We also discuss about the importance of leadership, best practice and community activation.

“What do the leaders do? the ask lots of questions”

Thank you to Maarten Vanneste for the production.

Sustainability – Business Case for Associations

There are over 77000 companies in the world. The UN Global Compact is the worlds largest corporate responsibility initiative. Yet only 8800 organisations have signed up to it. The Global Reporting Initiative is the world´s most widely used sustainability reporting framework – yet its estimated only 4000 companies are using it. In a recent meeting with the CEO of the GRI – Ernst Ligteringen said that sustainability has to scale and fast. To mainstream sustainable practices we have to engage the masses – we need a quantum shift. So how are we going to do that?

For years I have been proposing that part of the solution is greater engagement from the national and international associations around the world. These associations represent the “big guys” in business but more importantly the small to mid size companies. They have millions of members and are the gatekeepers to many industry certifications and regulations. They have relationships with business and government.

Of course there is some great leadership from some associations such as ICMM but in general many associations are falling behind the curve and not providing sufficient services, products and support to their members around sustainability. Its time that association executives reached out and took the leadership on sustainability. There are huge risks for lack of action and big opportunities for those associations who take leadership.

This was my message today at a gathering of over 100 association executives in Seoul Korea. Here is my presentation that present the business case, with some best practice examples and a framework for action. The article I recently wrote for HQ magazine (plus the other articles) also backs up this argument.

The Business of Sustainability

More than half of the world´s population lives in cities. This urban population is responsible for of 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind the future of cities and the future of the meetings industry cannot be imagined without considering sustainability. In this presentation, that I delivered in Singapore I share my views and expert research into the risks and opportunities created by the sustainability revolution and how there is a very solid business case. The presentation provides examples of cities innovating and working together, and then lays out the key elements required to climb mount sustainability.

Let me know what you think?

 

Green Meeting Seminar Estoril – Presentations

Yesterday I was privileged to be in Estoril, Portugal and to be organising a seminar program about sustainable events. The days previous to the event I was participating in a workshop to co-develop the GRI Reporting guidelines for the event sector. My fellow participants are some of the best brains in event sustainability from around the world, so at the seminar we used a lot of this wonderful expertise to power the session. Speakers included Dale Hudson, Megan Jones, Manfred Koblmueller, Pedro de La Rocha, Fiona Pelham, Maiike Fleur etc.

Once again its great to see Pedro and his team at the Congress Center in Estoril lead the way. They are truly a global reference in how transformation can happen. What follows is the keynote presentation, update about standards and then some great case studies. Enjoy!

A New Era of Sustainability: UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study

Released at the UNGC summit today is an excellent survey prepared by Accenture who questioned 766 CEOs and found out:

· In spite of the recent economic downturn, an overwhelming majority of corporate CEOs – 93 percent – say that sustainability will be critical to the future success of their companies.

· Furthermore, CEOs believe that, within a decade, a tipping point could be reached that fully meshes sustainability with core business – its capabilities, processes and systems, and throughout global supply chains and subsidiaries.

According to the survey, A New Era of Sustainability: UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study 2010, the global economic downturn did little to dampen corporate commitment to sustainability. In fact it seems to have done the opposite: 80 percent of the CEOs say the downturn has raised the importance of sustainability. As businesses address the challenges of the financial crisis, sustainability is being recognized as a source of cost efficiencies and revenue growth.

The survey results indicate that businesses are taking sustainability more seriously. In a similar survey conducted in 2007, 50 percent of the CEO respondents said that sustainability issues had become part of their company’s strategy and operations. In the 2010 survey, that number jumped to 81 per cent.

Three corporate attributes – brand, trust and reputation – were by far the primary considerations CEOs cited for acting on sustainability. They were identified by 72 percent of the respondents as one of their biggest motivators, followed in descending order by: the potential for revenue growth and cost reduction (cited by 44 percent), personal motivation (42 percent), consumer and customer demand (39 percent) and employee engagement and retention (31 percent).

You can follow the UNGC Summit on Live Webcast: http://www.un.org/webcast/globalcompact/leaderssummit2010/

Deloitte 2015 Sustainability Report

In the recent whitepaper Hospitality 2015, Deloitte paint an interesting picture of how rising populations, resource shortage, pricing increases and consumer demand will effect the hospitality industry. And how sustainability needs to be embedded rather than added on.

The sustainability section makes for some good reading: You can read it here:

deloite_2015_sustainability.pdf

COP15 Event Sustainability Case Study

I am in New York where we are organising the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit . As a prelude I prepared a case study of how the Danish Government implemented a more sustainable COP15 climate conference.

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