Sustainability isn’t a fad. It’s not a nice-to-have. And we don’t do it to look good. Sustainability is a business imperative. It’s a competitive advantage, an economic opportunity and a driver of innovation. It’s part of a fundamental shift in the way we work and how we do business.
Since 2007 we have been developing and improving an approach to our corporate sustainability based on the principles of the triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. When we started the CSR program we initially believed that to be successful, we needed to deliver financial results that generate profit in balance with our impact on the planet and its people. We now know that to be a really successful organisation we need to go beyond a balanced approach and find ways to CREATE VALUE for the planet and its people. We believe that this approach is essential to being an attractive business partner, to building enduring and meaningful relationships, and necessary for our sustainable growth.
Today’s global business environment is more complex, uncertain, volatile and dynamic than ever. Sustainability is one of the key issues facing the global economy. We believe there are four key ways that a strong Sustainability Programme can help organisations like MCI succeed:
At the heart of any sustainability discussion is the question- how can we use less resources, specifically those of a non renewable and safe nature? Smart businesses understand that with accelerated consumption, globalization, hyper-connectivity, disparate prosperity and the challenges existing from ecological decline and lack of global sustainability governance they need to understand in depth the sustainability of their supply chain.
The best performing Fortune 1000 companies ranked on sustainability outperform their competitors, make more money and attract more investors. We believe that we have an opportunity to become part of the solution and to lead in the transition to a more sustainable global economy. Through a focus on reducing emissions, improving resource usage and energy efficiency, and increasing social benefit we are not only “doing good”, we are saving the bottom line of our business and future proofing our business.
Sustainability used to be the exclusive domain of experts, activists and idealists. Then, it moved into a silo at the outskirts of the corporate landscape. Today, it is seen as an important part of any forward-thinking and well-integrated company. Our clients and partners are developing their sustainability programmes and demanding more responsible, transparent business practices in their procurement processes. In the future we increasingly expect corporations to deselect and select their partners on their sustainability performance.
TO MCI, sustainability is a business imperative, a driver of innovation and a method to engage stakeholders whilst motivating and attracting the best staff – all of which provides MCI with a competitive advantage.
Business growth remains strong in the sustainability arena, from clean-tech to renewable energy, green buildings and sustainable fashion all sectors are focused on making more sustainable products and services. To achieve the market transition to a sustainable economy, people will need to meet, Associations will need to engage members, Governments will need to form collaborations and businesses will need to launch new products and incentivise their staff.
The growth of this green sustainable economy is providing business opportunity for MCI. In 2012, MCI organised over 153 events Group-wide within the sustainability and energy sector, and provided strategic advisory services to many of the leaders of the sustainability movement such as the UN Global Compact and the Global Reporting Initiative. We see business opportunity to help our corporate clients develop global sustainable event strategies and raise awareness about their sustainability issues and programmes.
Businesses are increasingly accountable for their impact and actions. In the digital age corporate behaviour is often debated in public forums and transparency has become a key requirement for companies not only in terms of financial position but in their sustainability commitment. Regulators and governments are looking much closer at the environmental cost of their GDP and increasingly legislating around corporate responsibility, governance, carbon emissions and the protection of the environment. As seen in the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, confidence in business and government is low.
To succeed business must embrace a new mantra: move beyond earning the “License to Operate”, the minimum required standard, toward earning a License to Lead; in which business serves the needs of shareholders and broader stakeholders by being profitable and acting as a positive force in society.
Understanding Sustainability in two minutes
We see several mega forces that will significantly affect our clients, our business and the meeting industry over the next decades:
Influenced by these mega forces, we see several emerging trends that will create interesting opportunities for MCI.
Governments alone cannot address these challenges. Businesses must work with NGOs and Governments to combine efforts and develop solutions that will help to create a more sustainable future. Enhancing processes, creating efficiencies, managing risk, and driving innovation, business will contribute to society and long-term economic growth.
Collaborative consumption describes the shift in consumer values from ownership to access. Together, entire communities and cities around the world are using network technologies to do more with less by renting, lending, swapping, bartering, gifting and sharing products on a scale never before possible. From Airbnb to Zipcar to Taskrabbit, collaborative consumption is transforming business, consumerism and the way we live.
In the quest to improve resource performance and economic efficiency, businesses are on a mission to explore ways to reuse products and components. No longer seen as waste – precious material, energy and labour inputs can be recycled and reused in a circular fashion. A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the ‘end-of-life’ concept with restoration and shifts towards the use of renewable energy. Eliminating the use of toxic chemicals which impair reuse, circular economies aim to eliminate waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models. A recent study commissioned by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation concluded that if a subset of EU manufacturing sectors switched to more circular business models, there would be an annual net material cost saving opportunity of up to $630billion.
There will be a continual shift to meet virtually via network technology. This evolution to include technologies into face to face meetings – the so called “hybrid” meeting is only just beginning. Improvement in technology, network speed and the ability of meeting professionals to organise more integrated and better hybrid events will have a dramatic effect on how we meet. New solutions in the digital age can dramatically lower emissions and increase productivity.
We believe that when people come together magic happens. Our vision is to build a sustainable business with a culture of care and responsibility that facilitates the transformation to a sustainable planet, just society and a growing economy.
We see a world in transition to a sustainable economy. We envision a future where we will meet digitally and face to face to collaborate and create solutions, where renewable sources of energy will power the hotels we use, event waste can be transformed into an asset, workers are fairly treated, event attendee wellbeing is guaranteed and environmental impact is a critical metric of success.
Our Role. Our Promise.
- For clients whose events we organise, we help them embed sustainability into their events increasing efficiency, reducing environmental impact, improving attendee experience and accelerating innovation while reducing costs. We help corporates, Governments and Associations bring alive their sustainability commitments, turning them into tangible, visible and easy to implement actions.
- For the Associations we manage and consult, we have an opportunity to guide strategy, engage stakeholders, facilitate collaborations and create new solutions, services and business models.
- For our Talent, we are building a culture of care and responsibility that encourages growth, empowers development and stimulates wellbeing
- For the communities in which we operate we can use our skills, resources and Talent to influence and advance sustainable development to make a more positive contribution to society.
Our approach to sustainability is driven by our stakeholders. Each year we perform a “Materiality” evaluation to assess the sustainability issues and challenges they they believe we need to address. We integrate this input with our own research to develop s sustainability strategy that align our business goals with their expectations and respond to needs and future opportunities.
For this year’s Materiality assessment, we focused on our key five stakeholder groups (Clients, Talent, Suppliers, Meetings Industry and the Community), engaging them via various formal and informal methods.This included
- Online Sustainability survey of 566 employees, telephone interview of 19 employees, 40 key business partners and 30 of our largest Corporate and Association clients
- Online Talent Satisfaction Survey of +700 employees
- Face to face interaction with clients, suppliers and meetings industry partners in 22 industry sustainability events led or facilitated by MCI management.
- Face to face project related meetings
Sustainability is a dynamic and continuous process at the heart of our strategic vision and business practice. It is about changing the way we work, our attitudes and behaviour. To guide and support this process, we focus on five key areas: operations, culture, client services, industry and communities.
In our 2013 Talent survey, 62% of our staff claimed that they had changed their working and home practices as a result of our Sustainability Programme.
We have six core Group objectives for 2013. Each office develops their own local plan adapted for their market needs and issues. Performance is reported quarterly against objectives and measured via an internal score carding process.
Company-wide, Sustainability Director Guy Bigwood is responsible for developing and overseeing the Group Sustainability Programme. Monthly meetings with the Vice-President of People and Culture and quarterly meetings with the Executive Vice President and/or Chief Executive Officer keep sustainability high on the agenda. The HQ Sustainability Team work with HR, Finance, Procurement, Sales and Operations teams training, coaching, developing initiatives and Sustainability Plans.
In 2012 we strengthened our focus on the Asia-Pacific region by recruiting Roger Simons as the Regional Sustainability Manager.
Our expectations and requirements for compliance with our sustainability principles are specified in our Policy documents. More information.
A global team of forty dedicated and passionate Sustainability Champions bring the Programme to life locally. These champions have the task to build and lead a local sustainability team consisting of talent from Operational (PCO, Events, DMC), Sales and Back Office teams. The Managing Director of each office has overall responsibility and accountability for sustainability on a local basis, as evaluated quarterly via the MCI Sustainability Scorecard.
In 2012 MCI Group invested in the sustainability Program.