Andrew Todd is Vice President of Strategy & Planning, based in New York. He works with a number of GPJ global blue chip clients on integrated marketing strategy and experiential planning, execution and measurement.
As people look for greater meaning in how they work, live and consume, sustainability has hit the mainstream. It’s become an imperative, as values-driven employees and consumers increasingly demand options that don’t harm the planet and its people.
That means it’s becoming essential for organizations to communicate and uphold a coherent vision of their sustainability efforts by rigorously aligning their event marketing with their professed values and intentions. Efforts include encouraging conservation, using resources optimally, minimizing ecological and carbon footprints, and supporting the local communities that are impacted most by the events they host.
Here at GPJ we’re helping our clients navigate what has become a complex sustainability landscape. Together, we work towards developing event marketing programs that communicate and deliver against our clients’ sustainability commitments in compelling and effective ways.
As a starting point, there’s a number of important questions that need to be asked before kicking off any events program, they include:
- What are the sustainability policies and practices of potential event venues? Do they adequately adhere to and reflect commitments your company has made?
- Looking at every component of your event – what opportunities are there to reduce, reuse and recycle? Do you have a renewable energy strategy? What is your waste per attendee target? What is your stance on single-use plastics? How should food and giveaway options be influenced by sustainability practices?
- What local charities and initiatives could you partner with to positively support the communities directly impacted by hosting your event?
- How can you inform and enable attendees to participate in delivering against your sustainability commitments? Where and how do you communicate these commitments appropriately?
- What stories and initiatives would make sense to include within event programming to support your brand positioning and broader marketing efforts? How should those stories and initiatives be experienced by attendees to maximize their impact?
Addressing these questions and more, we’ve built with our client partners event programs that are kinder on the planet, build brand affinity and increase attendee satisfaction.
With one client partner we’ve accomplished the following at just one large event over the course of a few years:
- Sourced 100% compostable meal containers and utensils and partnered with venues and volunteers to sort waste into recycling, composting and landfill receptacles.
- Eliminated 200k pounds of carbon emissions through shuttle services, public transportation partnerships, bicycle valet and pedicabs.
- Saved 8.5 million gallons of water through refillable bottles and beefless lunches.
- An estimated savings of 1,000,000 plastic bottles through FloWater refill stations campus-wide.
- Raised $13 million for multiple non-profit organizations.
Thanks to their unique scale and access to resources, major businesses have an opportunity to play a decisive role in a sustainable future, putting ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ at the heart of their strategies.
It’s not only their responsibility to put these values into practice every day, but to harness their power and reach as communicators to amplify sustainability messages to the world.
That’s not just good for our planet, it’s proving really good for business too.
It all starts with a conversation. Let’s talk about how we can work together for sustainable and positive business impact.