Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is more than just looking out for the environment—it's also about looking out for the economies and people of the local economies we become parts of during our meetings and events worldwide.
The impact meetings and events have on local economies is huge. In last year's Meetings Deliver white paper, for example, it was reported that for every 10 percent of increase in business travel to these events, an increase of 1.5 percent will be seen in positive impact on the economy.
Convention Centers worldwide are doing their due diligence in bringing the best meetings and events to their city, but it's the ones that take the extra mile to work with their clients on giving back to the community that truly make a positive mark on the world and are inspirations to us all.
A great example of what I am talking about came to me in an email earlier today. It was from the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Known for providing an economic boost to the Central Florida community, the OCCC has also become a major source of donations for several of the area's charitable organizations.
In 2010, it's estimated more than US$1.7 million in funds, goods and services were donated to local organizations by visiting conventions and tradeshows and their exhibitors and attendees. More than three dozen visiting shows made donations that included nearly 250,000 pounds of food to local food banks, more than US$175,000 in educational supplies and grants and more than US$100,000 in building supplies.
"We're very proud of all the conventions that choose to make a donation to one of our local charities," said Kathie Canning, the convention center's deputy general manager. "It's great to see our visitors are providing a positive economic impact to our community not only by spending locally, but also giving locally."
As meeting professionals it's important to remember we have two clients every time we plan or host a meeting or event—the client and the city. The positive impact we have as an industry can not only open doorways for economic growth for our clients and the local communities, but can also open the eyes of lawmakers and business leaders to the importance our industry has to the successful growth of business.
Thank you to Orange County Convention Center for leading by example!