Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A new reporting trend: Events

Just as I was thinking about my next blop (blog post for the uninitiated), up popped a fantastic question from my Twitter friend @Juliengoy. He asks: Do you think its relevant to write a CSR report for an event ?
Now isn't that an interesting concept ? Of course, asking me, a committed reporter (there are some that agree that I  should be committed. Make of that what you will), is quite rhetorical. Of course, it is relevant to write CSR reports for events.

Lets take a look at what's out there with regard to CSR and sustainability for events management:

You have all heard of BS8901,  the British Standard for Sustainable Events, updated in September 2009 which covers financial, environmental and social risks involved with events of all kinds. The London Olympics in 2012 will be a sustainable event according to the guidelines established by London 2012. There are many web resources that assist in the planning of sustainable events, such as EventSustainability.com and the Sustainable Events Planner. The Virgin London Marathon published a Sustainability Report for their event in 2009 and the European Offshore Wind 2009 Conference and Exhibition published a Sustainability Assessment Report of their event. You can even find a brilliant presentation on the subject of sustainable events on Slideshare posted by Michael Luehrs, and if you are quick you can just catch the Third Annual Sustainable Events Summit in London on 19th april 2010.

All of the above should be unrefutable proof that sustainability events are an event, and that reporting of sustainability events is a necessary element of such events. I will even suggest that we are seeing a new reporting trend emerging .  

However, in thinking about this a little further, I realise that I haven't noticed anything out there that represents a standard for CSR reporting of such events. Clearly, the entire GRI Framework is a little top-heavy for a single event and wasn't designed for this purpose. What would the performance indicators for an event look like in CSR language? What would be the material issues? Which metrics ? Which core disclosures? This is quite an interesting subject and if I have time, I might be tempted to hold an event just to to discuss how we would report it. And you can bet that with any event that I organize, a core sustainability metric would be the amount of free Chunky Monkey available to all stakeholders.

Julien, mon ami, does that answer your question ?

elaine cohen is the CEO of Beyond Business, a leading social and environmental consulting and reporting fitm. Visit our website at www.b-yond.biz/en


nfrcsr said...

I think the GRI is developing Events sector supplement: http://www.globalreporting.org/ReportingFramework/SectorSupplements/Events/

Actually, "The third meeting will take place in London, on 14 & 15 April 2010."

Peter Korchnak said...

Interesting - makes sense.

As I'm working on a self-published/print-on-demand book project right now, the post brought up the issue of reporting on a book.

I guess you can have a CSR report for any product.

Julien said...

Elaine, thank you so much, this is great and truly helps!
I have to admit that indeed, my question was in a way rhetorical! I was almost sure that you would say a big "yes", but was curious about your "Here's how to do it". The links you provided us with seems to be interesting.
I'm really looking forward to reading the GRI's sector supplement. In my opinion ,two points are to be reported on carefully: how we deal with the waste we create during the event and; how do people come to our event (by car, public transports, carpooling, etc.).
And what about the social dimension?!

elaine said...

Hi Jernej, thanks for the info and correction. I had missed the GRI Events sector supplement.

Hi Peter, interesting, good luck with the book concept.

Hi Julien, yes, you make good points. My interest in this topic is increasing, so watch out for more coverage in the future :)

Thanks all for reading and commenting! elaine

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