Gathering With Greater Purpose
In the aftermath of ‘Larry’s letter’—when BlackRock’s powerful chief executive Lawrence Fink demanded a shift in CEOs’ priorities toward more than just profit—as global businesses look for new ways to deepen their social impact, there lies a high-potential solution routinely lost in everyone’s blind spot: making all events, from Monday morning team meetings to weekend barbeques to convenings on the global stage, sustainable.
In advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is an elegant opportunity to make the medium the message. SDG # 17—more partnerships—is often described as the goal that makes all the other goals possible, and the action that makes partnerships possible is meeting—collaborating, connecting, engaging, inspiring, and educating. Basically, it encapsulates the magical potential of what happens when people come together, face to face.
SDG # 17—more partnerships—is often described as the goal that makes all the other goals possible, and the action that makes partnerships possible is meeting.
What if meetings themselves, in the way they are planned, conducted, and followed up, were examples and sources of inspiration for sustainable development? According to data from the association Meeting Professionals International, the event industry is equivalent in size to the agriculture industry in the UK or the automobile manufacturing industry in the United States. This industry can be a powerful catalyst for achieving the SDGs and creating a world that works for everyone. Imagine if every meeting in the world—from work meetings to local community festivals, pop concerts, or family gatherings—was created with consideration for its social, environmental, and economic impacts.