With our clients and our industryWe are committed to making sustainability a core part of our client value proposition.
We believe brands can be positive forces for change and engines of growth. How? By communicating authentically with customers and stakeholders, improving operational performance and forming collaborations for the new era of sustainability.
“Embrace sustainability. Try, test, fail. Learn. Iterate. Forget the buzzword. Follow your instinct. Question. Turn it inside out. Persevere. Be brave. Walk the talk. Believe. Create your own future. Be ethical. Stand up. Care. Play sustainably. You got this.”
Global Chief Strategy Officer
Creating responsible experiences
We strongly believe that sustainable experiences have a better outcome.
Over the years, we have consistently proven that by embedding sustainability thinking we can improve efficiency, quality, the participants’ experience and accelerate innovation. This holistic approach to sustainable event management can reduce costs, improve environmental impacts, build a stronger brand reputation and leave a powerful social legacy within communities for generations.
Our approach: Integrating sustainability from the start
Using the design-thinking model, we identify and define our clients’ sustainability commitments, business objectives and attendees’ needs and expectations, and see how we can support them in achieving their mission. Next, we ideate and dig a little deeper by considering the location of the event in order to see how the footprint of the particular experience can be reduced and where it might give back to the local community.
How do we do this? By integrating sustainability from the get-go:
- Rethinking the engagement approach: in-person/virtual/hybrid/hubs
- Involving our clients in the design process and understanding their sustainability commitments and ambitions
- Understanding the audience and what their needs may be
- Maximising location-specific opportunities for in-person projects
- Thinking outside the box and beyond the realms of a paper or plastic-free event
- Sourcing suppliers that integrate social and environmental practices across their operations.
Every project is different and there is no “one fits all” approach. Still, we have defined five areas with various actions that we can take to make sustainability a standard part of how our projects are organised. In addition to these five areas we also conduct annual materiality assessments – integrating not only what we think is right, but what is most important to our clients.
Diversity and inclusion
Creating responsible experiences is also about considering diversity and inclusion requirements when planning projects or designing experiences.
Tips and best practices are included in the webinars provided to our operations teams on how to create sustainable, safe and inclusive experiences.
Additionally, we are developing our own DEI project planning guidelines and specific training for our teams.
Sustainability strategy for Associations
Associations are in a unique position. Not only can they have a direct impact on sustainability through their own operations and business practices, they also can amplify that impact by motivating and encouraging their members and member organisations to follow certain guiding principles and codes of conduct.
Associations can have big impacts on sustainable development through their core functions and offerings:
Through core programmes, initiatives, and product development, associations can empower individuals and organisations around the world to contribute to their long-term sustainability strategy.
Innovation and technology
Innovation and technology as drivers of sustainability
An increasing volume of technology is now available to help organisers meet their sustainability objectives. With Dorier, our audiovisual experience designers, we continuously seek new solutions to help our clients engage and activate their audiences, while reducing the carbon and waste footprint during events.
Virtual and hybrid solutions – Immersing users through technology
2020 witnessed a huge rise in digitalisation, with virtual events temporarily becoming the only way to meet with, and deliver a message to, an audience. Designers and technical teams have been intently focused on creatively harnessing new technologies to offer environments conducive to a successful online experience. Along with this, there has been a rapid emergence of digital platforms and audience response systems that enhance the user experience.
While physical events will continue to be the norm, we expect a drastic increase in hybrid events which, by combining the best of both worlds, will offer brands the opportunity to reach a broader audience in a sustainable way.
Multi-site events are the most efficient way to connect multiple cities and make a dispersed audience feel they’re living the same experience simultaneously. By strategically selecting the locations of event hubs, we can offer alternative destinations which drastically reduce carbon emissions and considerably shorten travel time for event participants.
Drop the backdrop
There is a growing demand for the “drop the backdrop” movement, replacing the traditional, still printed backdrop with a dynamic environment. Large LED screens, for example, deliver incredible impact and provide a world of visual possibilities . Mapping projection can also act as a fantastic storyteller, breathing life into any story for a memorable and impactful event experience. Less print, less waste, more opportunities!
If you are looking to wow an audience, Humagrams (speaker holograms) are a great option. Capable of “beaming in” anywhere in the world for two-way interactions with the audience, they can be pre-recorded or filmed live from another location. In addition to offering innovative and engaging opening, closing and educational sessions, they transcend time and geography, decreasing carbon emissions by avoiding long-haul flights and scheduling conflicts.
With close to 1,000 sustainability and energy-related projects managed to date, we are not only a leader within the field of sustainable events but also a mouthpiece and platform for the sustainability industry.
Client satisfaction measurement programme
The sustainability of mci group as a long-term business is contingent on the value we bring to our clients. Our client satisfaction measurement programme helps us in our quest for quality.
The customer satisfaction index is part of the C-level agenda. We regularly analyse performance and make the required organisational and process changes to meet our clients’ needs.
The sustainable solutions we offer our clients are also evaluated in this measurement programme. In 2020, 89% agreed that the sustainability solutions we provided met their objectives.
Engaging with the industry to drive positive change
mci group is a sustainability awareness advocate and is committed to helping our industry to create a lasting legacy. In line with SDG #17 “Partnership for the Goals”, we have taken an active role in encouraging clients, partners, suppliers, competitors and governments to commit to adopting a higher standard of sustainable business practices within the industry. Here are some of our initiatives:
- mci group, with leading event industry organisations IMEX, European Cities Marketing ICCA and ICCA’s Scandinavian chapter, launched the Global Destination Sustainability Movement. This collaborative platform promotes the sustainable growth of international meetings and events destinations, highlighting best practices and responsible business tourism. The GDS Movement brings cities together to benchmark and improve the social and environmental performance of their destination and the business events industry.
- Since 2007, mci group leaders have delivered more than 300 keynote sessions and workshops on sustainability, inspiring change and better business practices and reaching more than 38,200 people in the events industry.
- mci group experts are involved in developing learning resources, standards and/or sustainability initiatives in the events industry, such as the events industry sustainability principles (by the Events Industry Council), of which mci group is a launching signatory.
- We support IAPCO’s Plastics Pledge to get rid of single-use plastic.
- MCI senior leaders are also involved in CVBs’ task forces on sustainability.
Finally, mci group representatives occupy prominent positions within event industry associations, enabling us to share our sustainability vision and knowledge with a broad audience. This creates opportunities to collaborate and contribute to education and initiatives that accelerate best practices across the industry and globe. Key global associations we belong to include:
- The AMC Institute
- ASAE (The Center for Association Leadership)
- ESAE (European Society of Association Executives)
- GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council)
- GMIC (Green Meeting Industry Council)
- IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organisers)
- ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association)
- ISITE (International SITE Foundation)
- SITE (Society of International Travel Executives)
- MPI (Meeting Professionals International)
- PCMA (Professional Conference Management Association)
- SAMA (Strategic Account Management Association)
- FICP (Financial & Insurance Conference Planners)
- JMIC (Joint Meetings Industry Council)
- CRN (Congress Rental Network)
- AV Alliance
- AGES (Association of Global Event Suppliers)
Our performance in 2020
- We are developing our own DEI project planning guidelines and additional training programme for our teams to help them understand the importance of integrating DEI considerations into client projects – providing them with the advice, tips and best practices necessary to do so.
- We will continue to offer and highlight solutions to our clients which have the potential to reduce the footprint of their projects (with a focus on responsible consumption) while communicating ethically. We are developing a set of sustainable principles to be included in all our client work.
- We will continue to take an active role in our industry to accelerate change, especially around diversity and inclusion.