Top Sustainability Reports of 2013

Sustainability Reporting in the events industry is gradually picking up and there are staSustainability Reportsrting to be some great reports.

As we start to write MCIs 2013 annual sustainability report I reviewed some of my favourite reports. Excuse my bias for including some of our own:

MCI Produced Reports

Event Sustainability Reports

Agencies

Venue Sustainability Reports

Hotel Sustainability Report

I am sure there many other great reports so please share your favourites as these are a superb opportunity to learn and improve from each other.

Launch 2013 Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability Index Report

This week ICCA Scandinavia in partnership with MCI and VisitAarhus launched the 2013 Scandinavia Destinations Sustainability Index. For the last four years we have been working to bring together the meetings industry of Norway, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Denmark to collaborate and create the world’s first ever sustainable meetings region.

As part of the project, MCI Sustainability Services researched and benchmarked the social and environmental sustainability performance of 22 cities across the five nations. This, the second  Scandinavia Destinations Sustainability Index demonstrates how the Cities, their Tourism Authorities, Convention Bureaux,  and members are sharing best practice and working together to drive change. In the last year the project improved sustainability performance across the region by a superb 11% in the meetings industry category. Strategy improvement has been the key improvement across the region; in just one year Cities with a Sustainable Meeting Strategy increased from 25% to 47%. Over 59% of all venues and hotels across the region are now eco-certified.

We designed this project to foster collaboration, the sharing of best practices and to start to get cities reporting. It does not yet use the GRI Framework, but it uses some indicators and will evolve to use G4 and encourage full reporting across the region.

The project was sponsored by MCI and VisitAarhus. We are expanding the Index to include other regions and cities in 2014. Please contact me should you wish to explore how your destination could be included or wish to sponsor the 2014 research.

You can see and download the Index here

 

Click below to see a summary powerpoint presentation that we delivered at the IMEX tradeshow.

Protecting Biodiversity Through Sustainable Events in India

Last year Hyderabad, India was host to the groundbreaking COP11 -Convention on Biological Diversity hosted by the Ministry of the Environment and Forests. Our industrious team in India managed the logistics of more than 11,500 participants and 900 sessions over 11 long days in hand with leading AV provider Dorier Perfectus.

What’s most impressive is not just the sheer scale and complexity of such an important international event in India but what the team managed to achieve in sustainability including a 91% waste diversion rate. We are  pleased to be able to present the legacy and achievements of that event in the our recently released event report:

Sustainable Event Management Activities

The convention aimed to be a leading sustainable event for India, leaving long term positive social and environmental legacies in Andhra Pradesh and concerns were addressed through all phases of event design and execution, including the following activities:

-       Strategic Planning:  The planning team leaders met to identify a strategy for the sustainable performance of the event and created customized targets.

-       Supplier Engagement: Through a two hour educational event and a series of interviews, 50 suppliers were educated about the objectives of the event; key suppliers were questioned about sustainable practices and offered coaching and recommendations for improved results. In particular, the MCI team worked with the Novotel, waste management company and caterer to improve waste management, catering and sustainability measurement processes.

-       Sustainable Procurement: The event management team made a series of conscious decisions in the purchasing of material and services. This includes congress bags,bamboo stage set and exhibitions stands, exhibition USB sticks, printing, catering, communications as well as the selection of logistics teams that reduced transport requirements.

-       Community Impact: Amongst other great initiatives, a truly innovative engagement project was designed with social enterprises and sustainable businesses at the heart.  In  a unique market place within the perimeter of the Novotel Complex 40 local artisans and community groups were represented at The Biodiversity Haat. Stands featured groups selling organic produce, handmade artefacts and those using responsible materials.. Examples of local producers included the “Bodhana Tiruvalla Social Science Society”  who use bee products to fund and operate a Social Rehabilitation Programme; the Uravu  Indigenous Science & Technology Study Centre, a registered, non-profit trust supporting the livelihood of rural woman through end-to-end programmes in bamboo growth, harvest and product manufacturing. Projects like these within the Biodiversity Haat supported a vast number of Indian social development objectives including training in natural resource management, improving literacy, providing employment and women’s rights through to stimulating organic farming and renewable energy sources.

Enjoy a quick run through of the highlights of the event in our video:

Danish EU Presidency Sustainability Report

Last year Denmark hosted the first ever sustainable European Union presidency, achieving the first ISO20121 certification in the meetings sector. The sustainable actions lead to a €40million saving compared to previous Presidencies. Now we are proud to be able to document and share the legacy and learning  in a new report entitled Driving Change Through Collaboration’.

You can review the report below or please download the  report here. It also provides a good insight in how to achieve ISO20121. We hope you enjoy and do lets us know your questions, comments and feedback.

There were 4 main conclusions to the EU2012 Danish Presidency Sustainability Report

Leadership: Nicknamed the ‘Tap Water Presidency’ by the press, due to the focus on environmental and cost saving actions, the Danish government implemented an ISO compliant sustainability management system for the 100 meetings which hosted 15.000 participants in Copenhagen and the city of Horsens. Local organic food was served – with no additional cost – accompanied by tap water; 100% of all hotel rooms and meetings venues were eco-certified; all suppliers were compliant with the responsible procurement policy; all signage, carpets and branding were made from sustainable materials; and sponsorships were created to install innovative new sustainability technology into the venues and power them through Danish Wind Energy.

Power of Standards: Andreas Clausen-Boor, Head of Logistics for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared “The budget restraints and complexities involved with organizing so many diverse events required a smart, efficient and flexible event management system. Our meeting design strategy and the ISO 20121 standard helped align the political and sustainability goals with practical processes in a sensible and efficient way which saved us over €40million while enhancing the quality for which Danish events are known.”

Legacy: As part of the stakeholder engagement strategy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and leaders from the Danish Meetings Industry initiated and established the private-public partnership ‘Danish Sustainable Events Initiative’ (DSEI). The DSEI leveraged the momentum of the 2012 EU Presidency to showcase and improve sustainability practices not just for the Presidency events but to inspire and educate the national and global meetings industry towards greater collaboration and innovation.

Collaboration: Steen Jakobsen, Convention Director for Wonderful Copenhagen CVB, one of the founding partners of the DSEI commented: “This report captures and shares our experiences implementing ISO 20121. It highlights the power of collaboration, and can significantly help other Presidencies and meeting organisers.”

 

My team at MCI Sustainability Services have worked on this project for the last few years. Once again we have seen the commitment of the Danish government and the Danish meetings industry to innovation, collaboration and sustainability. Their thought leadership helped to advance sustainable event management at a national and a global scale. It also strengthen the positioning of Copenhagen as the ‘Capital of Sustainable Meetings’, and Denmark as a ‘first choice’ sustainable meetings destination. They deserve another high 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results: 2013 ICCA Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability Index

Yesterday at the ICCA Scandinavia Chapter meeting, I had the pleasure to release the 2013 ICCA Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability Indexwinners_2013_index_

MCI conducted this benchmarking study to compare and analyze the sustainability performance of 20 cities across the 5 Nordic countries of Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. This was the second edition of the study, and demonstrates how the ICCA Scandinavia Vision to create a Sustainable Meetings Region is delivering results and improving sustainability across the region. The first Index was launched in June 2012

Winners

First place this year is shared by Uppsala and last year’s winner Gothenburg (see photo).  Turku was recognised as the city with the best improvement with a staggering 85% improvement over last year. Respect should also be given to Reykjavik, Stockholm and in fact all the participants for working on this pioneering project. 2013 index

Key highlights from this year:

  • 7% Overall improvement across region
  • Growth fromn 16 to 20 cities included in the Index
  • A significant 12% improvement in the “software” performance of the region. This means that there is a greater development of sustainability strategy, communication, certification and engagement.
  • 47% of CVBs now have a publicly available sustainability policy
  • 74% of CVBs now have information on their webs about the sustainability of their destination

At the regional meeting yesterday, Anne and I ran a workshop with 50 people to share conclusions, success stories and to brainstorm how Cities can continue to improve.

Going global

This project is unique and we know of no other in the meetings industry. Other destinations, regions and corporations can learn from this initiative that started in 2010. It demonstrates how through the leadership of a few individuals who encourage collaboration, sustainable change can happen.

We will be writing up the findings in a report to be published in April. The 2013 Index project was funded by VisitAarhus. Research and consulting was implemented by my team in MCI Sustainability Services. We intend to improve the Index for 2014 and are looking for input and additional partners so that we can improve. Our dream is to expand the Index to include other countries and regions. So Vancouver, Melbourne, Germany – all you leaders of sustainability; We invite you to come and benchmark against your Scandinavian colleagues.

Discover the Power of Taking Action

Today Symantec released their first event sustainability report. Written by yours truly, this report celebrates the commitment of the software giant to organising more responsible and effective meetings.

For their flagship Vision conference organised in Barcelona, significant steps were taken to engage suppliers and implement better environmental event practices whilst on the social front they worked closely with NGO partners to support two community projects raising awareness about climate change and social issues.

MCI Sustainability Services were hired as an consultant, to review the sustainability processes, assess practices onsite, measure the event footprint and make recommendations for future improvement. As a conclusion to this stage of the journey we prepared this, the first event sustainability report to transparently disclose the sustainability approach, impacts and progress.

Key results achieved at this year’s event include:

  • $40,000 of costs were avoided through sustainability program
  • The venue, all key suppliers and 59% of the hotels provided sustainability measurement data. Carbon emissions were measured at 1,017 tons CO2e
  • 55% of event waste was diverted from landfill
  • 55% of all food served was sourced locally
  • $15,000 donated to community projects
  • Attendee satisfaction of the sustainability initiative was evaluated at 78%

Respect and congratulations go to the sustainability champion at Symantec – Claudia van’ t Hullenaar, from their EMEA events team. Claudia has demonstrated “the Power of Taking Action” , which became the theme for the report. A big salute goes to the CCIB Congress Center for their commitment and significant improvement in sustainable operating practices over the last few years; and also to all the suppliers who helped make this project a reality (WSP Environment & Energy, Events That Matter Ltd, BK Productions, A-Booth B.V., Kopfwerk, MCI Spain and Active Networks.)

In the words of Paul Salinger, VP Marketing Oracle: “Symantec is among a too small group of leaders who are active in pursuit of sustainable event innovation. The size and attendance at these type of events represents a tremendous opportunity to influence change in corporations, destinations and venues around the world. I commend Symantec for their approach.  At Oracle, our focus on sustainable events has helped us to significantly improve our environmental footprint, avoiding over $1 million in costs and driving innovation into the way we organize OpenWorld.” (check out his sustainability initiative and report at Oracle OpenWorld)

2012 Sustainability Reporting Trends

One of the hot trends we stated for 2012 was the growth of sustainability reporting. So were we right in our prediction and did the tide turn?

Well no – not exactly. It may not have gone mainstream but there was definitely a growth in reporting in the event industry and more importantly an improvement in report quality. Hotels have been doing a good job for a few years, but this year saw the launch of the first venue reports. On the event side, we did not see so many event sustainability reports produced. But there were some good ones produced. Here is a list of some of my favourite reports and what I look for in a good report.

What makes a good event sustainability report:

  • Not too long: keep it short and to the pointreport_writing
  • Well designed and creative so that it makes you want to read it and go beyond the front cover. I love the growing integration of video and interactiveness.
  • Honest. Tells the bad things and not just the shiny stories.
  • Focus on material issues. Its so easy to use the GRI framework and start reporting about things that have absolutely no real relevance to your event. Focus on the key points: carbon emissions, waste, procurement policy, community engagement etc
  • Holistic: Sustainability is about people, planet and profit. Good reports should cover these three areas in an integrated fashion and not just the green initiatives.
  • Good graphs and benchmarking. I like to see data and also to see it benchmarked against other similar events, or ideally against the same event.
  • Real stories: I love seeing people’s faces and hearing the stories from the real people implementing sustainability

My top reports realised in 2012 that were not written by us were:

Reports written by us:

We use the GRI EOSS guidelines a lot in our work. They help to provide structure, and while they may at first seem very complicated – you can use as a reference sheet. More info here: However if you really want to know about Sustainability Reporting – why don’t you come to the Global Conference on Sustainability and Reporting that we are helping to organise in May 2013. www.griconference.org

What are your favourite event reports? What are your top tips? Please let us know. It is time more people other than MCI and MeetGreen were producing and publicly sharing event sustainability reports.

CREATING VALUE – MCI LAUNCHES THE 2011 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT

I am very happy to see the launch of our  MCI 2011 sustainability report. Entitled “Creating Value”, the  report tells a story of business transformation and how MCI talent are progressively integrating sustainability into the day to day business of MCI.

Learning from our readers, this year we have attempted to use some of the latest features in PDF to embed video and make it more interactive and readable. We have moved some of the more technical features to a separate document for advanced users.

I am also pleased to say that the report was checked by GRI and received a commendable C-Level Application Check Certificate. It is one of (if not) the first reports by an international events agency to use the new GRI Event Organisers Sector Supplement, which I helped to develop.

 

 

 

 

 

I cant say that writing a sustainability report for such a large global organisation is easy, but it does get easier through practice. This is the 20th report that I have written in the last few years. I see very clearly that reporting drives improved performance of your CSR strategy. It forces you to carefully and thoughtfully write things down do that a greater number of people can understand your vision and intentions. It then forces you to engage these stakeholders and get their input. This consequently can be used to improve results.

Please have a look at the report and I would love to receive any feedback by answering a few questions in our short online survey

More info on our CSR website.

Scandinavians create Destination Sustainability Index

I am very happy to see that today we launched and published the Scandinavian Destination Sustainability Index, analyzing sustainability performance across 16 cities and 5 countries.

The index  which can be downloaded here, uses 16 performance indicators to measure and benchmark the sustainability commitment and performance of the city government and the destination infrastructure (recycling, renewable energy etc), and the sustainability commitment and performance of the local meetings industry. 

The Index is one of the deliverables of a multi-year ICCA Scandinavian Chapter project to create the world´s first sustainable meetings region.  Already over 50 organizations including Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Destination Marketing Organizations, Venues and Agencies have signed the Scandinavia Sustainable Meetings Accord launched in March 2012. The Accord outlines 10 specific actions, which all signatories commit to, in order to advance sustainable development within the meetings and events industry.

The goal of the Index is to provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each destination and further a dialogue about best practices in the area of sustainable meetings. This project is unique in its scale and collaborative nature.  With the competitive nature of the meetings industry, we are already seeing how the Index we help set strategic targets for the region and drive performance.”

To download the report:

http://www.iccaworld.com/dbs/scandinavian_chapter/dyncat.cfm?catid=4214

Read the full release and down load the new sustainability index here

Fashionably sustainable

As recently shared on our Danish Sustainable Events blog, this week Copenhagen is hosting Europe’s second largest Fashion Show. Sustainability has become a very critical element of fashion design and manufacturing with mainstream and haute-couture  designers  such as Vivienne Westwood  champion better more ethical and eco practices. Next June,  Copenhagen will host  the Copenhagen Fashion Summit – the worlds most important meeting about sustainability and the fashion world.

While this is brilliant, if you have ever been to a Fashion Week, then you may have notices how incredibly wasteful and non-green the majority of them are. It seems that on whole the principle of sustainability need to be much better integrated into the organisation of the actual fashion shows.

To debate this question lets look to Asia and see how the Chinese approached sustainability with the Shanghai Fashion Week. For the 2011 Closing Show the organisers decided to take a bold step and work to make the event more sustainable. The attached sustainability report and video that we produced using the GRI Reporting guidelines shares their approach, their achievements and their learnings. It’s an interesting case study showing how organisers can implement sustainability into event even in areas where sustainable infrastructure, knowledge  and services are limited.

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