Back in April 1970, the first-ever Earth Day was started as a way to protest the negative impacts of industrial development on the environment. Now, nearly 50 years later, Earth Day is a globally recognized event, with an estimated 1 billion people in 192 countries taking part in the world’s largest civic-focused day of action.
Back in the ‘50s, it wasn’t unusual to spot celebrities like John Wayne and Lucille Ball lounging by the pool at Sportsmen’s Lodge. Being located 15 miles from downtown L.A. in nearby Studio City had the same advantages then as it does now — seclusion, lots of greenery, and precious peace and quiet. That’s a big part of why the property draws small corporate meetings (it can accommodate groups of up to 100 comfortably), and its boutique nature lends flexibility that event professionals love.
Sustainability and “green” practices are becoming standard for many corporations, driven by both a belief in corporate responsibility and by customer mindset. A recent Nielsen global online survey shows eighty-one percent of respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment.
We’ve all been to corporate team building events that brought us closer with colleagues and reinvigorated our teams to work toward our common goals. Then we’ve been to others that fall flat, appearing “lame” or a waste of valuable professional or personal time. When corporations develop team building events, it often falls primarily on the event planner to ensure the experience is positive.
Start with the Basics
Karla Singson, CEO of PREP - PR, Events and Promotions, says effective team building events have three basic ingredients.
From black box spaces to renovated castles to cinemas, there are unique and transformative spaces around the globe. This ongoing series of articles highlights a few of the many options available for corporate events.
The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) hosts the largest annual networking conference worldwide for corporate finance professionals. With more than 7,000 attendees and over 250 exhibitors, the 2018 AFP Conference was the biggest AFP event in history.
Events are mirrors of the organizations and industries they serve, reflecting their values and priorities. Therefore, it’s no surprise that green initiatives have flooded the event industry as more and more companies include sustainability goals and practices in their missions. And just as sustainable practices can be good for business, reducing costs and potentially raising customer loyalty, for example; they can be great for events for many of the same reasons.
More than a decade after the launch of the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), now the Events Industry Council Sustainability Initiative, we’re still trying to make our events more environmentally friendly. One area where it’s easy to make a difference is food waste, or the reduction thereof.
“It’s really just having a plan going in about what waste you’re going to generate and trying to minimize that as much as possible,” said sustainable event consultant Julia Spangler.
Less than a month after Vancouver became the first city in the world to adopt a comprehensive zero waste strategic plan and the first city in Canada to ban plastic straws and polystyrene containers, the city played host to Sustainable Brands, the annual global flagship conference of one of the leading corporate sustainability communities of brand innovators and sustainability professionals working to shape the future of commerce worldwide.
The United Nations defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. But there has been some murkiness as to what exactly that means with regard to meetings, and what the definition of sustainability is for the events world.