It is a scary world out there, filled with ever-moving targets to prove your organization is sustainable. It is becoming commonplace for key stakeholders such as clients, board members, vendors, investors and employees to ask about the company’s commitment to planet, people and profit—the triple bottom line. Organizations are working diligently to be perceived as good corporate citizens. Today, brand marketing often takes the form of experiential events for those stakeholders and gives brands the opportunity to leverage meetings and events to reflect positively on the organization.
With this opportunity comes the challenges of producing a sustainable event with the eyes of the world upon you (literally, through social media). Enter a variety of systems and frameworks designed to be helpful but reporting on them can be burdensome, time-intensive and complicated. So how do you decide which one to align with?
Here are a few questions to research to get you started:
- Does the organization have a Sustainability Policy, Mission or Mandate? Can your events use the policies to begin directing your efforts? If not, take a look at our template for event sustainability to create one.
- Is the organization currently certified or working towards an ISO, LEED or similar certification recognized outside your industry?
- Does the organization report its efforts using GRI, BCorp, UN Global Compact Communications of Progress, etc. where including data from the event would be helpful?
- Is the organization directing its efforts toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how can the events we produce assist in those efforts? The decisions hosting organizations make while convening constituents usually fit beautifully into one of the 17 SDG’s. For example, SDG #2 Zero Hunger, is aligned with the donation of left-over food to the local community, or #3 Good Health and Well-Being, by the design of the event and selection of fresh, healthy food for meals.
Recent information shows leading organizations are embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for a higher level of success around sustainability. Investors have become focused on how companies will use these goals for more sustainable future for not only profit, but also for the planet and her people. It is still early in the process yet being aware of and aligning with them is vital.
Events and meetings are strategic components of a organization’s vision. Contribute to this vision as a member of the overall sustainability team. By understanding the end game and working together using all the available resources in your organization, you will minimize the fear and confusion often felt when embarking on a new adventure.