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SUSTAINABILITY:governments pass;businesses lead

January 17, 2011

Yesterday I read in the Strib that Sustainability was finally now emerging as a megatrend. The confirmation of this was not necessarily news, as client after client I interact with focuses on sustainability or at least “green” as part of their stated Corporate Social Responsibility program.

What I had given no thought to was WHY this was happening.  I had missed the connection that it has become a rich strategy in a global economy.  It lowers costs and boosts efficiency.  But what caught my eye was that it acts as a driver of innovation; creates new markets; and leads to new profit despite the recent downturn in economy.  In short, it increases corporate competitiveness. The article suggested businesses adapt and innovate or be swept aside, and ended with an interesting thought:  As scientists continue to make progress, companies and citizens are filling the void until government wakes up and catches up.

As I pondered that, it occurred to me that there is a message here for all of us in the events industry-not just for our corporate clients.  Oh yes, we recycle an event’s trash, we are big on bamboo serving utensils, we attempt to go “paperless” and occasionally, we give some effort to developing menus that include local, fresh grown products, or incorporate LED lighting to save energy.

But is it time to move the conversation up a step from a one day seminar we attend once in a while as a “refresher” to those we participated in a few years ago, and really spend some time thinking about how we can be thought-leaders in this arena?  The argument that it is often more costly may be short-sighted if in the long-term we become more competitive, grow our client base, and find new ways in which to stimulate our profitability and grow our businesses.   What do you think?

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