What exactly is social responsibility, how does it become part of who we are as individuals, and how can it become widely embraced in the meetings and events industry? Social responsibility is an ethical/ moral framework which suggests that any individual or organization has an obligation to do something that can benefit society at large. It can be something as simple as preserving the ecosystem we live in to make the future a better place for generations to come. However, from an organizational side this can be a very different experience and one needs to understand an organization’s value and mission. What does the organization believe in? How are its employees engaged? Does the organization practice true socially responsible activities, such as eco-efficiencies, in its day-to-day operations? Does it engage in other ways to ensure fulfillment of its socially responsible mission?

There are many ways to ensure that your events are more socially responsible. Each step in the process can be aligned with a variety of companies that help you continue your CSR mission before and during your event. Partnering with the right vendors along the way can ensure that you are both giving back and paying it forward. Here are some leads and ideas:

» Hotels for Hope is committed to improving the lives of children throughout the world by helping clients find the right hotels for events, and through its RoomFunding model, it donates $2 per actualized room night to help fund nonprofit projects. To date, over $400,000 has been donated to children’s charities.  

» If you use a logistics provider, consider working with a company such as MeetGreen to help design and execute a sustainable event. The company can come in and evaluate your entire organization to help craft a sustainability plan.  

» Working with a DMC or transportation company that uses energy-efficient vehicles to transport attendees makes an impact on the environment, as well, by minimizing carbon footprints.

» If you want to engage your team in a local project to give back to the community, look up Impact 4 Good, a socially conscious corporate team-building company that works with organizations to create programs built around giving back. 

» Use water stations instead of bottled waters on breaks and provide water containers to your attendees that are made from recycled goods. For those water containers or other eco-friendly giveaway items, consider BoundlessNetwork.  

There are endless ways to incorporate social responsibility and sustainability into your meetings and events. The experience your associates will have will have a farreaching effect, as well, as they will share their stories on social media and tell their circles about it.

Here’s to creating a better and more socially responsible event!

Michael Shannon, CMP, is a 30-plus-year veteran of the meetings and events industry. Shannon has spent his career in the hotel, CVB and intermediary sides of the inudstry.

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