Consumers in the 21st century seek authenticity in what they experience and purchase, while brands seek to identify themselves with a story and a purpose that resonates with their communities.
In the events sphere, this shift in mindsets and beliefs provides the opportunity for brands to establish a strong association with altruistic goals that benefit society. This topic was discussed at the recent ICESAP Conference 2016 held at The St Regis Singapore from November 30 to December 2.
Presented by Roger Simons, regional sustainability director, MCI and president, Green Meetings Industry Council, he shared with the attendees on how sustainability programmes can be tailored to each client's requirements and to harness them to drive business results and to create value for employees, customers and their communities.
One of the main misconceptions of sustainability programmes is that it costs more. Organic products is one of them, but there are other cost neutral and cost saving options. "The simple act of replacing bottled water with water dispensers filled with beautiful cut fruit for example can save you as much as $1 per litre. That's $3,600 a day for a 1,000 person event," says Pranav Sethaputra, group sustainability consultant, MCI.
He also shared that MCI saved almost $28,000 (net) for Symantec's Vision Symposium in 2014, $28,260 (net) for Danish Maritime Forum 2015 and $83,760 (net) for SAP's dKom Series in 2016 through similar initiatives.
MCI also helped to incorporate sustainability into Symantec's life-cycle of internal events. Sethaputra shared that cost savings was achieved by rethinking materials and design during the production process, while branding was curated by telling compelling stories of food sustainability and working onsite with NGOs such as Plant-for-the-Planet to promote their commitment to making the world a better place.
These initiatives at Symantec's 2014 Vision Symposium EMEA alone helped increase employee awareness of its CSR programme by 28 percent.
As a forerunner of sustainability programmes, MCI embraces it as a core company DNA, and has to date, organised 742 sustainability and energy events, and managed 120 consulting projects. All of MCI's preferred global suppliers and 33 percent of its supply chain are compliant with the group's responsible procurement policies.