november 2009 | Roger Kellerman
Incentives such as CSR
Things are definitely going in a positive direction, although that may be difficult to believe with all the negative events that dominate the media coverage. We were part of an international jury for the EIBTM expo’s event competition and have been jury members for some time. It is easier to see how patterns change with a longer time period to compare to.
Ten years ago the incentive category was often an orgy of gormandising where the winners won a trip to some exotic place, stay at a luxury hotel, drink champagne all night long, eat luxury food and be driven around in a limousine. This still takes place in a few incentive programmes in the EIBTM competition as well, but something else took a hold several years ago and most now offer: The chance to help eradicate world poverty as a thank you for doing a good job back at your company. Surely it is more gratifying to give away something meaningful? Do three lobsters taste any better than one? How much more fun is it to spray champagne on each other than to see children get a water well and an entire village being able to quench their thirst knowing that you helped?
In the incentive competition we are seeing more examples of world-leading companies giving their most successful workers a chance to share their success with others. To build schools, dig wells, lay a football pitch, design a village where hundreds of people get a more tolerable life thanks to your efforts. Or to build a wind generator in a place lacking electrical power. To set up a village school together, equip it with material like pens, paper a computer perhaps and a football to kick instead of tin cans.
We have a fine Swedish example in Bokningsbolaget, who we awarded our unofficial Swedish Meetings Industry’s Honorary Award for the best CSR initiative of 2008. Highest points for style and an applaud to the company which for ten years has donated more than €550, 000 to Amnesty, Save the Children, the Red Cross and WWF. Bokningsbolaget is a torchbearer and a good example to all. Perhaps it is time to create a new CSR award for companies/organisations in the global meetings and events sector in order to put the spotlight on the positive initiatives taking place? Corporate Social Responsibility must not become a green washing model that allows good things to be said while continuing to throw money at those who already have enough gadgets to last a lifetime. Send us some example of CSR projects around the world worth putting in the spotlight. Because they do exist, and in many places.