The “new” corporate incentive

Corporate Social Responsibility has been identified as the most important factor shaping the meeting industry

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Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR” for short and also called corporate conscience, citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business) is already included in just about all business policy commitment and has shown a growing presence in various operations of business strategies. It’s all about making better business, taking responsibility for company’s actions and making a difference for future generations; in other words, it’s another approach to being sustainable. It also offers an enormous diversity in creativity and forms of applications when considering specific targets such as: consumers, potential consumers, stakeholders, employees and others.

In the meeting industry, Corporate Social Responsibility translates into choosing destinations where one can contribute with actions that benefit local environment and society, or promote workshops on health, wellness and other types of education for event attendees. In addition to the obvious benefits to the local community, these programs are advantageous for both organisation and individuals taking part. Investing in such projects can positively affect teams and individuals back in the workplace because they’re encouraged to bond outside the work environment, generating a “feel good” factor created by the sensation of workmanship, sense of achievement, enhancing corporate image, reputation and value to the stakeholders and bring good publicity; all compelling advantages of corporate social responsibility events.

What is interesting to see, is that CSR is not only becoming a best practice during meetings and events in order to fulfill and promote company sustainability policy, but also is being introduced as a “new” corporate incentive, that defies typical corporate incentives used up to date. “In the US, a team-building activity that supports a local charity or communities is becoming increasingly popular as a ‘corporate giving’ element to a meeting,” stated Rob Davidson, during his annual report presentation at EIBTM December 2010.

According to the latest reports in the meeting industry, CSR is considered to be the strongest trend in the business and is being added on to most event programs as a form of incentive for participants to:
– Stay longer during events;
– Mix business with pleasure and personal fulfillment;
– Ensure a positive type of event networking;
– Ensure an activity that promotes overall tourism or nature tourism.

Estoril Congress Center is renown in the meeting industry for “playing ahead of the game”, and one of the services the venue launched in 2009 were CSR programs designed for meetings and events, which can be applied raw (predestined for meetings) or personalised for each event. The objective of providing this service to meeting planners is to supply an updated list of available CSR programs, designed specifically for MI events and the location where the event is hosted, making planning easier for foreigner meeting planners.

Recognising the importance of CSR in a company’s sustainable commitment policy, Estoril Congress Center includes year round CSR actions with local environment projects and social programs with staff participation. Beside the obvious benefits to staff and           company profile, staff participation during these events give the sales team an on-site experience to share with clients seeking and defining CSR programs. ECC states that, by taking a leading step to building a better community through their business and staff, clients will hopefully participate with their own commitment through CSR actions.

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