CSR & Sustainability at Events: Why Aren’t We Doing More?

February 1, 2019

One question asked in the 2019 Meetings Today Trends Survey was “Do you plan to offer a CSR program next year?” 33% of survey respondents said yes and 67% said no.

I reached out to only one person about this because of her noted expertise in this subject.

In the “Webinar” section of the Meetings Today website, you can find numerous webinars Nancy Zavada has presented to further your knowledge. In addition, this is the latest from MeetGreen on your event’s brand and sustainability:

Nancy Zavada, President, MeetGreen,
Years in Hospitality: 30+, Email Contact:

Q1. What do you read into the numbers and comments?

What does your reality tell us—about those whose meetings are held in a way to make them more sustainable and by doing that and holding CSR programs (first part of survey numbers that shows 2/3 are not) providing experiential examples of how people and organizations can contribute more to sustainability?

Nancy Zavada (NZ): While it appears, the needle isn’t moving as quickly as hoped for event planners, there is a movement by organizations to be seen as good corporate citizens.

We are certainly seeing an uptick in corporations who want make change in the world both socially and environmentally and are doing so through experiences at events.

With the radical transparency of social media, they are being held accountable.

Q2. What can we (individually; “we, the industry”) do to reinforce the need for greater knowledge of and practice of sustainability—beyond no handouts or no straws at meetings? How do we help more understand the human side of sustainability?

In what ways does having CSR projects at meetings contribute?

NZ: CSR projects are an important component of sustainability.

All too often, meeting organizers feel that by reducing paper, recycling, or giving up straws, they have accomplished a sustainable meeting. Realistically, it is only the starting point and including social issues in the planning is necessary for a well-rounded program.

As an industry, it is vital that we share our ideas, challenges and successes with each other so that we may all learn.

Q3. Where is your energy around hope for the future of sustainability (human and environmental) for the industry?

NZ: As an industry, we still have a long way to go, but each step brings us closer to a better future. Our opportunity and responsibility as the decision makers with incredible buying power gives us a unique chance to be change agents.

We are bright, powerful professionals and I believe we can make a difference. That is my hope!

[Read This Next: Meetings Trends (We've Only Come This Far?!)]

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About the author
Joan Eisenstodt | Contributing Blogger, Friday With Joan Author and Industry Expert

Joan Eisenstodt, a meetings entrepreneur since 1981, has been honored by multiple hospitality and meetings organizations for her educational work in and for the industry. Her passion for helping bring people together meaningfully, safely and ethically is the focus of her writing and teaching.