Sustainable Event Management Trends

This week I was presenting at an ICCA conference on sustainability in the meetings industry. In the presentation I approach the following key questions:

Is Sustainability a trend or short term fad? 
Is it more expensive to be sustainable ?
Do clients really want sustainable venues, agencies and providers? 
What are the trends and developments in certification and standards? 

A sustainable network makes us stronger: GMIC

The Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) has been the most effective force for change in the meetings industry movement to find and integrate more responsible practices.  A wellspring of ideas, resources and friendships for the rapidly expanding network of committed business professionals who have discovered it, the GMIC is like no other meetings industry association. 

The GMIC is as much a tribe as it is a driver of business;  the culture is one characterized by palpable excitement and optimism for the potential of the future imbued with a fiery passion for leaving the world a better place.  Jaded enough, perhaps,  to know that idealism alone will not result in needed positive change for industry, members have come together to share best practices, uncover new technologies, and make incandescent the messages for the cause of sustainable, responsible ‘green’ practices for business.  In this way, this is an organization focused on creating business results in a faster, smarter way.

Next month, from 9 through 11 February, 2010 in Denver, Colorado, USA, the GMIC will hold the Sustainable Meetings Conference.

The emerging APEX Green Meeting Standards, itself a direct result of the passionate GMIC network of committed professionals, will serve as a framework for much of the content of the conference.

For any meetings industry professional who understands that we are stronger as a network of unified talents and voices, and who seeks practical resources and ideas to speed improved business performance, they are strongly encouraged to register and attend.  This conference is the most powerful conference and education experience for green meeting planners and suppliers.  Plan to come.

See you in Denver!

CSR in business: practical guide

In starting this blog it was our hope to share practical examples of sustainability in practice in organizations, especially the meetings industry.  While other topics sometimes stir our passions, the intent is still to shine a light on ways to improve your business for triple bottom line benefit

Corporate Social Responsibility is, of course, a very broad term referring to a highly complex array of philosophies and systems.   Often,  these complexities serve as barriers to any meaningful action.

So, in the spirit of providing practical, meaningful example, I offer as a resource a great book just out from JP Bergqvist.  JP, formerly the engine and guide behind Scandic Hotels path to sustainable practices, now leads Sleepwell sustainable business advisors.

Designed for busy professionals, the book is a fast guide rich with clear example.  Written in plain language,  as though from a trusted colleague, it’s an ideal guide for the CEO as well as the leader of the office ‘green team’.

Order the book at JP’s website by contacting him directly.  (Note:  We’re fans and friends of JP but receive no financial compensation for any book sold.  JP shares a portion of the proceeds with his chosen charities, however, so please buy several and let us know what you think! Do you have recommendations for other practical guides you’d like to share?  Please let us know!)

BS8901: not what you think

Unless, that is, you already knew that it’s a package of time honored, business management processes which can apply to almost any business.   There are many things the  standard is not:

  • it’s not a checklist to create a ‘green meeting’
  • it’s not a stamp of approval for your event
  • not just about environmental stewardship (‘green’)
  • it’s not just for event planners
  • it’s not something you ‘phone in’ or enter into half heartedly
  • it’s not perfect

What it is:  BS8901 is all about practical systems for effective business outcomes.  It’s for the owner of the business, not the junior member of the green team.  It’s for committed business professionals who aspiblog2re to realize triple bottom line (economic viability, social justice, environmental stewardship) benefits.  BS8901 is for businesses who want to minimize risk and position for growth over the long term.

The benefit of the standard is not in the marketing value of saying you’re compliant, or in the thinking that it makes you more ‘green’.  The value of integrating a proven business system is what’s on the other side of the challenging process of asking the tough questions about creating a sustainable business model (what is our purpose?  What are our values and why? What is our measure of success?).

This process, both time consuming and difficult for most of us, is not what you thought it was, but it could be the key to your sustainable future.

Check out the updated version of the standard here

Transparency – Engagement – Networks

Adam Werbach

I recently had the opportunity to meet with some of the senior staff at Saatchi and Saatchi S – their sustainability consulting organisation.

Their CEO Adam Werbach has just release a great book called “Strategy for sustainability”.

Here is a short interview on the Harvard Business channel that summarise his three key concepts to Sustainability - Transparency – Engagement - Networks.

Adam makes a clear argument that sustainability is key for driving innovation and value into a business, and as such reducing costs, increasing staff loyalty and developing new markets/products.

Its worth the 10mins to watch this and think about your own businesses sustainability strategy and your own “personal sustainability project”.

Sustainability trends in the meetings industry

Over the last few weeks quiet a few people have asked me what they think will be the key sustainability trends in 2010. So for a keynote presentation today at MICE Travel Fair in Amsterdam, I made my first attempt at summarising some of the key aspects of change that will progressively transform the meetings industry.

I am interested to have your feedback. Let me know if you agree or disagree?

Key 2010 Trends
1. Passing beyond the tipping point
2. From green to integrated sustainability
3. From confused to aware consumers
4. From nice marketing to taxes and legal requirement
5. Standard part of the purchasing decision process
6. From creative label to trusted global certification brands
7. Pressure to measure and report
8. Rise of the eco-zones
9. Stabilization virtual meetings
10. Acceleration in innovation
For more detailed information please watch this slideshow of my presentation in Amsterdam.

Singapore, CSR is calling.. are you there?

The Singapore Compact is calling the community of regional business leaders.  As the national society with an aim to bring the CSR movement forward in Singapore The Singapore Compact for CSR is waiting for an answer.  They are calling business leaders to their most recent educational conference which will bring influential speakers and relevant content to Singapore next week as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility Summit. csr_summit_2009_title

Our company, MCI Group, is providing organizational support.  Part of this will be a an assessment of the sustainable practices associated with the planning and delivery of the event itself.  Although early response from event suppliers has revealed that basic sustainable practices have not yet been adopted by many respected local businesses, it’s clear that the resources available to them are many.  Singapore has an aggressive effort to promote recycling, reduce water use and to invest in community development projects.  Leadership from organizations like the Singapore Compact are important components for the integration of responsible practices within communities.  What’s needed is business participation and, yes,  activation.  The business community stand to benefit most from fully integrated Corporate Social Responsibility plans,.  Here’s hoping they’ll answer the call.

Marketing sustainable destinations

In continuation to last post, in Mexico i gave a second keynote at the National Tourism Congress about Creating and marketing sustainable destinations.

Guy Giving Keynote at Mexico Tourism Congress

Guy Giving Keynote at Mexico Tourism Congress

In the attached presentation I talk about

  • Risk and opportunities presented to Smart destinations around the “sustainability revolutions”
  • Provide some examples of destinations who are leading the market
  • Provide a framework that CVBs can use to help them become a “green leader”

I was previously in LA and met with the city officials who are implementing a very interesting and smart program of greening.

How associations can integrate sustainability to deliver enhanced member value

Business case for sustainability

Through our consulting work with the UN Global Compact and with various trade associations, I have come to realize that there is a massive business opportunities for Associations. Associations can lead the charge towards a low carbon, more sustainable and responsible economy. The following presentation I gave this week at the Association Congress in London  sums up some of my current thoughts. Happy reading and I would love to have your thoughts and comments.

Future employees demand change.

Participating at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in conversations with the CEOs of Pepsico, Unilever, WPP, etc I was stuck by how they clearly recognised the need of having a leadership CSR strategy for their business. One of their key reasons was the need to attract, retain and manage talent.(you can watch this session here )

I realised this today when asked on the blog to provide some more detail about MCIs CSR program from a university student. I thought that this may be interesting to share, as it clearly shows the interest from your people following a companies reputation via their blog. Here is my reply

Continue reading


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