This year I have had the pleasure of working with software giant Symantec, to help them on their journey to organize more responsible and better events. As a recognized leader in corporate responsibility, Symantec decided it was time to look deeper into how they run their Vision users conference, and so kicked of the sustainability initiative at this year’s event in Barcelona. One of the areas where they did a particularly good job was with the Social Responsibility projects. Reflecting on this, I was reminded how simple, yet how powerful the inclusion of a community project can be within an event. Not only can it demonstrate a corporations commitment to sustainability but it can serve to animate a conference plenary, connect delegates with the local community and enhance the entire event experience.
In Barcelona as part of their multilevel sustainable event strategy, Symantec supported the global children’s initiative Plant for the Planet, which aims to raise awareness of and respond to the issue of climate change. Symantec supported the organization of an educational training session held within the Vision conference for 50 children from 3 local schools. The Plant-for-the-Planet Academy is recognized as an official project of the UN-Decade “Education for Sustainable Development”, a concept which conveys sustainable thinking and behaviour to children and adults.
Felix Finkbeiner, the 15 year old founder of Plant for the Planet was the inspirational speaker during the opening keynote session. Afterward this young superstar was joined by Symantec management to plant a symbolic tree in the grounds of the CCIB venue. In response to his plea, Planet for the Planet received 86 pledges to plant 36851 trees: 14 of these were made by Symantec employees, including a significant contribution from one employee who pledge to plant 14,000 trees. Symantec coorporation pledged to plant 10,000 trees, and I pledge to plant 1000.
Felix’s speech is brilliant. The young guy has helped build a movement that has planet over a billion trees. His goal is to plant a TRILLION. Now that’s what I call vision. Here you can watch his dynamic and inspiration performance, which earned the second highest speaker rating of the conference at 89%.
In addition Symantec donated $5,000 and left over conference materials (bags, pens, water bottles) to the Fundación Fatima foster home in Barcelona. This is one of MCI Barcelona`s projects and it was really satisfying to see that we were able to help them another little bit. With the austerity measures in Spain, these organization are increasing relying on donations to get them through these tough times. With the donation the center can now afford to insulate the area where the babies sleep.
In January Symantec will release the event sustainability report which will explain more about their strategy and progress. Watch this space.