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Mice Net : February 2009
business events australia australia: meet where environment and community matter Tourism AusTrAliA’s National Corporate social responsibility (Csr) Audit provides strong evidence that Australia has embraced sustainability. ncreasingly, corporate meeting and incentive planners from all around the world are seeking out information on venues and services in Australia that can assist businesses in staging more sustainable events. Tourism Australia was one of the first national tourism offices in the world to meet these pressing challenges by conducting a National CSR Audit. Developed with the assistance of industry organisations including Qantas, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Bridgeclimb, Hayman Island, Great Southern E-vents, InterContinental Hotel Group and Encore BT, the audit was designed to identify the CSR credentials of the business events industry in Australia. An impressive 278 organisations completed the online audit questionnaire in late 2008, representing a broad range of operators. The results indicate that larger companies with 100+ employees, international brands and core business events operators are leading the way. However, the audit also uncovered a range of valuable CSR initiatives on the part of smaller businesses. While one third of the industry in Australia is already accredited, levels of accreditation are set to rise significantly over the next year for all industry sectors. Company policy and regulatory obligations are major drivers behind the widespread adoption of CSR policies, although industry trends, reputational issues and client demand are also influential. The audit also reveals a growing portfolio of green products and services available in Australia and the innovative measures the industry is taking to reduce its own environmental impact. Increasingly, business event experiences are being developed to meet accredited standards of eco-best practice. This reflects increased client demand for green product. Especially I 26 mice.net among convention centres and venues, audit responses noted a marked increase in demand for green products and services over the past year. In addition to Australian clients, who are very environmentally conscious, the major drivers of demand for green offerings are the European, UK and US markets. Accredited organisations, larger companies and international chains tend to be more responsive to such green demand, offering a range of low impact options. But worthwhile things are being done right across the industry. A number of accommodation providers, event planners and major venues, including Mercure Hotels, The Meeting Planners and the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre offer client carbon free conferences and seminars. The Sunshine Coast Convention Bureau makes carbon offset plantings instead of giving awards or speaker gifts. The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre produces a Green Guide for event managers offering green power, assistance with waste management and help sourcing local produce for green menu options. Staging company Eventful has created innovative event sustainability software which identifies 23 segments in the event management process and provides clients with best practice options for each step of the process. Qantas is targeting a greater than 25 per cent improvement in emissions intensity by 2020. The Qantas Group has also set key performance indicators in the area of ecologically responsible practices in terms of fuel efficiency and reduced energy, water and waste to land fill consumption. In addition, their current ‘fly carbon neutral’ program offers passengers the option of offsetting the carbon emissions associated with their flight. Event organisers Great Southern E-vents proactively reduce carbon emissions in their event planning and offer