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onvention bureau staff and
others around the world often
talk about the legacies that
conventions can leave a city
and community after that meeting has
concluded but few do more than talk. The
ICC Sydney has taken one step further,
committing to a new Legacy Program
strategy that aims to create greater links
between the Sydney community with events
and their attendees.
As ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy,
explains, the underlying philosophy and
motivation behind this is that ICC Sydney
believe there is now a third wave that applies
to the role and social obligations of
“Convention centres are enormous
consumers of social and community resources
in terms of capital investment and land. The
motivation and first obligation was economic
impact – basically, dollars in tills,” he explains.
“The second wave - and Australia was at
the forefront of this - is the beyond tourism
movement; the understanding of the impact
and connection of business events [to a city or
country] with the delegates that are attending
conferences from around the world, and their
contribution to the knowledge economy.
“We believe, and this is what is
underpinning what we’re doing, is looking
then at the social impact and also the
opportunities to create benefit [of hosting events] on a much wider footprint.”
He says this is a much broader aim and acknowledges that while some conference planners
are already addressing this concept they are often doing so from outside the realm of the local
community. On top of this is the pressure that many event planners are under to firstly ensure
the commercial viability of an event, which often means that any strategy behind corporate
social responsibility (CSR) initiatives at events is often well down the pecking order.
“We’re pulling this together into a well-developed program that we will then be able to present
as a potential opportunity to every event that comes to the ICC Sydney.”
The driver at the ICC Sydney will be working in the marketing communications department at
the ICC Sydney with director of corporate affairs and communication, Samantha Glass. In late
2017, Laura Goddard was appointed the ICC Sydney’s new CSR executive.
Ms Glass said the appointment comes after spending considerable time during 2017 making
connections with a range of groups and individuals outside the ICC Sydney who could potentially
become involved in the Legacy Program. These included knowledge centres, start up and
entrepreneur ecosystems, Aboriginal organisations and community groups, artists, and others.
“W ith our new resources and [local] knowledge we believe that event planners and
organisations can draw on us to gain those connections and develop these into the
programming and planning of the events they are managing,” she said.
“We also see it is a real commercial advantage when bidding for conventions, working in
conjunction with Business Events Sydney.
Ms Glass said the ICC Sydney was already in discussion with the organisers of two major
international meetings being held at the centre in late 2018.
“In meetings we had with them, they shared what their CSR objectives were – and you’ll find
now that many have a very clear mandate on CSR – so we’re now working with them to come up
with how they can meet their objectives by connecting with local communities,” Ms Glass explains.
“They’re around First Nation connections, investing in local art, sustainability, greenhouse gas
emissions, energy use and water use, which we can measure for them, and then there’s the
start-up community, giving opportunities for local entrepreneurs and local ideas to have a global
platform within their own city.
“That could range from a dynamic entrepreneur who may be on the main conference program, or
incubating start-ups in a five-minute pitch within a morning tea break - giving them an opportunity to
network within the social program is something the local community really desires.” m
WAVE OF EVENTS
The ICC Sydney has undertaken a new initiative designed to leave lasting
legacies for the community of events it hosts. Brad Foster spoke with Geoff
Donaghy and Samantha Glass from ICC Sydney on what it means.
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