Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Corporate Social Responsibility....A New Emerging Trend Series

Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR. You’ve heard the acronym before, but do you really understand what it encompasses? This was a hot topic at the most recent IACC-Americas Board of Directors meeting as it may be the next large trend meeting planners and conference centers will face.

Before you start questioning what CSR is, whether it is worth your time, and how you may handle new requirements set by clients, take a step back. Chances are you are already doing many things that fall underneath the large umbrella of CSR.

According to a CSR Trends 2010 report created by Craib Design & Communications and Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, Corporate Social Responsibility is, “A company’s commitment to operating in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable manner, while recognizing the interests of its stakeholders.”

An easier way to think of it is as the triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.

If you implemented reuse/recycling programs at your conference center or requested them in RFPs, you participated in CSR. If you spent a day volunteering at a local community center with your co-workers, you participated in CSR. The challenge coming to the industry is how to expand these practices at conference centers in order to benefit stakeholders, and how to show potential customers that you provide exceptional CSR opportunities they can work into their meeting schedule.

While we have not measured how strong this trend is for our industry, Corporate Social Responsibility does seem to be gaining traction as a global business standard even in these tough economic times. The Craib study found that “addressing issues the once took a back seat to financial results… has become critical to a company’s credibility, transparency and endurance.” Of the 423 companies surveyed, 81% provide information on CSR on their website. 28% of companies utilize social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter to relay their CSR message, and 28% maintain company blogs. This shows that communicating activities about CSR is just as important as being socially responsible.

Due to the complex nature of this topic, the Emerging Trends Committee will spend a month discussing CSR. Committee members will give personal examples of what CSR systems are in action in their workplace, give ideas of how to incorporate new practices in your conference center, and discuss what steps IACC is taking to promote CSR throughout its membership. We will also consider ways to communicate these opportunities to clients and the world. What can we do to improve that triple bottom line? Stay tuned…

For more information on the Craib study: CSR Trends 2010, visit:

Written by:
Kasey Snyder and Meghan Bollenback

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