Social Sustainability - Webinar Recap Looking into the Industry


One more week to go!

As we are nearing the end of our webinar series, this week we featured our second Sustainability topic - Social Sustainability.

Our speakers this week were Dr. Kelly Bricker and Ashleigh Poff. They spoke all about what Social Sustainability is, why it matters and how we as event planners can make a difference while we all recover from this global pandemic.

Here is a recap from Dr. Bricker’s session

Social Sustainability Definition

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) provides standards and codes for accreditation and certification social tourism within the four pillars identified under the Sustainable Development Goals. The second pillar focuses on socioeconomic impacts and local community benefits. Its guides are also in keeping with the UNWTO definition of  Sustainable Tourism which is “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”. It entails:

Measuring impact of tourism

  • Economic impact - Direct and indirect impact of tourism to the destination’s economy is monitored and publicly reported
  • Community Impacts - How organization provides basic services to neighboring communities
  • Social Impact - Tourism as a social impact doesn’t socially affect, impact local community no adverse effect

It should be an enhancement in the local community and not an eyesore

Identifying opportunities in Business

  • Infrastructure and social community development
  • Decent work - ensure labor rights are respected
  • Safe and secure working environment
  • At least a living wage, training etc. (living wage -to be able to provide for essential needs)

Support for community

  • open, transparent and engaging system

Access for All  

There should be  a universal design/experience, where practical, for persons with disability or impairments. This goes beyond disabilities and includes persons with any challenges such as senior persons, persons  with  younger kids,  medical conditions and allergies.

Obtaining buy-in from local communities

  • Present the facts. Look at impact of tourism on the community
  • Protect social and cultural aspects
  • Let them know that social sustainability is now tied into the sustainable development goals
  • Look at the current demand, especially with COVID-19, where  more governments are more interested in providing healthy environments for people to live in.  

Obtaining government buy in

  • More governments over past 2 years are engaging in GSTC training courses
  • Utilize opinion leaders
  • Highlight benefits and drawbacks of tourism
  • Utilize results from visitor surveys to show  impact
  • Utilize market reports showing increasing demand globally for sustainable tourism products

Finding and sourcing organizations to partner with to add and accelerate impact in these areas

  • Website such as TripAdvisor, and  Lonely Planet have a sustainability line
  • Some of them have won global awards, planet awards another indicator
  • Check the GSTC website. for certified organizations going through the process
  • Should be a very transparent information source- companies which are certified

Factors/highlights we need to be aware of e.g. greenwashing

  • People are getting called out more
  • Companies Should have reviews on their products
  • Check to see if they are super transparent in what they do. - does it line up with GSTC criteria
  • Transparency - key screening mechanism
  • Some organizations are doing a lot but may not broadcast because they are not 100 % there
  • Sustainability is a journey. Targets are constantly moving
  • Give credit where it’s due where organizations are helping local communities, helping climate, protecting reef systems etc.
  • Look at reviews on social media

One Take Away

  • Every single person can make a difference. it’s the small things day to day things such as understanding, protection of environment which all make a huge impact. Do one small thing each day
  • We all can do it, it is not insurmountable

For our second session this week Ashleigh Poff spoke from the event planning side as a philanthropic planner. Here are the key takeaways from her session:

Corporate Social Impact Definition

How organizations can use their impact for good. leaving their planet a better place than we met it

Vetting non profits

  • It’s important to vet companies to ensure it’s going to a good place
  • Sites such as Charity Navigator and Guidestar can provide information on companies
  • United Way is also a great resource , especially for the smaller nonprofits as they would have already vetted these companies
  • Connect with an organization that serves same population
  • Direct give to persons affected
  • Organizations have different operational costs including staff and overhead so don't look down on non profits for that

How to get buy-in from larger corporations to contribute

  • Make sure keep up to date on policies - digital ticketing etc.
  • Keep passion and your why at the forefront of planning

The why? - Most of us and our clients want to do good so think of a way to make the world a better place.

Effective ways to get buy in from attendees

  • Offer cultural experiences
  • Allow attendees a sneak peek into community lives
  • Share your know before you go
  • Being inclusive with cultural practices
  • Nuances of culture tips
  • Encourage them to spend their money there locally
  • Giveaways for trivia

Identifying ways to  help within a community

  • It’s wrong to go into any community and pretend to know what they need - do your research

Approaching the conversation with the community

  • We have the internet at our fingertips - do your research ahead of time
  • Check for any controversy with nonprofits involving spending
  • Reach out to people individually instead of just contact us on website
  • Reach out via email
  • Offer compensation of some form for them e.g. 10 bucks for a coffee

Advice for persons who want to give back

  • Hire her company, Industry Impact Events - they will do a consultation for you
  • Find out who are your customers, where do they live and what do they need

Social sustainability - is it thought out before or is it an afterthought for companies

It varies. Some companies have it set and others have no idea what to get into

Is bigger always better for projects or events

  • Not always, especially if you’re not well versed in philanthropic projects. Start small, significantly lower costs
  • Be inclusive and intentional with spending

Quick tips on executing these events

  • One forgotten resource is the people in the organization - someone in development or corporate events is looking and wants to find you. Help them to find you
  • Tap into resources of these organizations and clients or your community as well
  • Liaise with Hotels & Vendors

Obtaining information to find clients

  • Process is heavily data driven
  • Understanding of social impact landscape
  • Similar to marketing profiles - look for parallels

On a personal level

  • Take actions to help your own community
  • Have a good attitude and surround yourself with positive energy
  • Spread good energy and will attract good energy
  • Live on the love frequency
  • Try to see the light, the light will find you

Be sure to connect with Dr. Kelly Bricker and Ashleigh Poff as well as our Founder Alexandria Tomayko for more information on social sustainability. Check out the GSTC and get involved with social sustainability. Find out more about Ashleigh at Rich Beyond Wealth or Industry Impact Events

Of course, be sure to check out the replay of our Live Q&A discussion with Dr. Kelly Bricker and Alexandria as they answered all your social sustainability questions.

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