“Over-complicated, under regulated but on the money” are three characteristics of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the meetings and hospitality sector, per initial findings released today by Meeting Professionals International (MPI). The findings, which will debut at IMEX America in Las Vegas, are only the first part of a landmark three-year global study into the impacts, trends and drivers of CSR in the meetings and hospitality industry.
“Some interesting outcomes emerge,” said James Musgrave, senior lecturer at the UK Centre for Events Management at Leeds Metropolitan University. “With more than 300 codes of practice, businesses cannot be blamed for being confused. But there is a strong business case for companies to build CSR into their work. Responsibility makes business sense as well as meeting moral and ethical obligations.”
Musgrave will present an in-depth session to industry leaders during the MPI roster of education on IMEX’s Smart Monday, Oct. 10. At the session, Musgrave will predict his view on how CSR could change, challenging businesses to lead the way, and examine the likelihood of regulation.
Musgrave’s CSR session marks a completion of one critical phase of research which has effectively established the global playing field for CSR. The next phase, according to MPI researchers, will reveal where pioneers in CSR from government and industry intend to lead us in the near and future.
The research initiative is just one element of the CSR Thought Leadership Initiative led by MPI. In addition to working with Leeds University, MPI serves as an advisor to the development of Global Reporting Initiative for the events sector, ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM Standards, with the goal of navigating sustainability standards and delivering tools and knowledge for member use.
White papers, reports, case studies and other content on sustainability and social responsibility can be found through the CSR portal.
Highlights from MPI’s 2011 CSR Report to the United Nations Global Compact
As we move into 2012, the focus on industry corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasing and MPI is at the forefront, bringing value to members through aligning with organizations and bodies such as the United Nations Global Compact. Most recently we submitted our annual report, which frames CSR as an umbrella concept in which we consider the long-terms interests of our actions and take responsibility for the impact of such actions on employees, customers/members, the community and the environment. Below are highlights of the findings:
Leeds Research: Most recently, in July 2011, MPI launched a three-year study into the value of CSR to the industry. The report will be conducted by the UK Centre of Event Management, the International Centre for Responsible Tourism and the Centre for Hospitality & Retailing at Leeds Metropolitan University. Results will analyze global trends through interviews with top executives from major venues, organizations and suppliers, among other audiences.
Sustainable Event Measurement Tool (SEMT): Following a launch in July 2010, and a beta testing period with more than 10,000 users, the SEMT recently upgraded and is free for use by suppliers throughout the industry. The tool features simplified user levels and was recently chosen by the Danish meeting industry as the standard for event measurement as part of its national sustainability project.
MPI Day of Kinship: At its core level, MPI practices sustainable thinking, and brings the point home with employees as well. The internal sustainability team collaborated with the Volunteer Center of North Texas to organize two events. More than 40 employees made a difference with Head Start of Greater Dallas and Operation Kindness, which provide school-age children in skills with knowledge and animals with a no-kill shelter and socialization skills, respectively.
Clean the World: MPI entered the second year of its partnership with Clean the World, an Orlando-based social enterprise that collects, recycles and distributes soap to stop the spread of preventable diseases. Between the work done by volunteers and companies at the 2010 and 2011 World Education Congress, more than 1,000 pounds of soap have been processed.
ECOS Project: The Canadian chapter network of MPI continues to work with the Events for Communities of Sustainability (ECOS) in support for the UN Millennium Development goals to end poverty and hunger and achieve universal education. The projects included work with Kids up Front Foundation, Interfaith Food Bank, Santa’s Anonymous & Edmonton Food Bank and other organizations.
CSR at WEC 2011: During WEC 2011, MPI offered 10 sessions as part of the CSR education track. Delegates interacted with subject matter experts and their peers, examining case studies and the application of sustainability principles. In addition to education, MPI featured seven community projects for attendees, focusing on giving back to the greater Orlando community while learning best practices.
The full report can be found on the CSR portal. Additional white papers, presentations and knowledge are also available.