The awakening giant?

On a scale to most , the number and size of  healthcare meetings and events dwarfs other sectors. While meeting planners and marketers in the  IT and energy sector have undertaken pioneering steps at greening their events, the heathcare sector in general has been left way behind.

It seems ironic that a sector so focused on health in the communities has seemed to place so little focus on health of the planet in their meeting management. Leading economic and scientific gurus clearly state that health is clearly linked to climate change.  But then again that is fairly obvious no?

So when are we going to see change?

In the last month I have seen some very interesting signs from some large pharmaceutical companies and healthcare congresses. My questiondeloite is who will be the first to start a strategic sustainability initiative (i´m not talking about just recycling a few bottles, or printing less). Will we have a Novo Nordisk, Roche or Novartis who will start a campaign that will have an effect like Walmarts sustainability index?

The large pharma companies organise thousands of meetings a year. By translating their CSR principles into sustainable event practices and policies they would significantly accelerate the change happening in the meetings industry around the world.

Perhaps this report by Deloite can share a few clues? Deloite make a fair claim that sustainability is a significant trend that is destined to impact each of the health care industry’s major sectors. It is an imperative that will only grow in importance. Greening concerns more than providing an environmentally safe work environment for employees and promoting responsible business practices among suppliers who contribute to value chains. It is a fundamentally different way to lead and operate an organization.

Come on healthcare – get on the train and sustain your meetings! Less see some action and less conversation please.

1 Comment

  1. Brilliant Guy!
    This disconnect between an organization’s sustainable policy and their meetings’ programs has baffled me for years.
    When I first began attending conferences geared towards sustainability a few years back, I frequently asked those I met whether or not their meeting programs adhered to sustainability standards and never once did I have more than a blank stare coupled with a slowly growing ember of “aha”.
    And note that this was asked of VP’s for Sustainability, Brand Manager/Sustainability Directors, etc. for organizations such as Pepsi and UPS, where departments were created entirely around sustainability/CSR!!

    Where I see the primary challenge is that this disconnect results from a meetings/program department that doesn’t see a direct correlation between their greening efforts and their organization’s policies/practices. They haven’t been shown the VALUE that they can deliver to support sustainability goals, directives or even mandates! At a recent meeting with the leaders of a global fast food chain, I had the thrilling moment of seeing several heads nodding in understanding after I used a simple graphic derived from their own CSR website and adapted it to their meetings’ activity. VERY encouraging, to say the least 🙂

    So, Guy, I am grateful that you and the rest of the MCI people are out there sharing the gospel and continuing the enlightenment of aligning business strategy with sustainable meeting programs.

    Midori Connolly

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