All posts by Lisa L.

“We will never forget” (unless you need money)…

Class Discussion: How Consumers can influence contemporary economics

Change.org

I went to Change.org and found a petition that I was interested in.  The petition is: Don’t Deny Compensation to 9/11 First Responders.

A fund was set up to help the first responders of the 911 attack on the World Trade Centers in NYC.  Today this fund is running out of money and will be cutting benefits 50% – 70% for these brave survivors.  Thousands of first responders were heavily exposed to airborne toxics at the site and have since experienced respiratory ailments, cancer and other illnesses directly related to 911.  The EPA said that the air was safe as they worked on site for weeks after the buildings collapsed without proper respiratory equipment.

They were promised compensation, and now it is running out.  The irony is that the slogan “We will never forget” came out of this terrible attack, and 17 years later we are forgetting.  These people were heroes, and it’s time to take care of them so they do not have to worry about losing their homes, their lives or for the future of their families.

For further info on Twitter:
John Stewart helps the 911 responders and survivors

#VictimsConpensationFund
#911Fund
#911NeverForget

For further information on the WWW regarding the fund running out of money

911 petition

Video response:

One lesson I took away from watching the video, “Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media” as it relates to the ESABA project, is that social media is powerful. ESABA does not have the staff or financial resources to fund a large campaign to promote the East Side of St. Paul.  The Internet provides a way for them to do this easily and economically.  However, the message needs to speak to the audience to motivate them to take an action.  They also need to commit to it in order to build their audience; they should consider partnerships with other East Side businesses to promote a similar message.  ESABA has come up with some fun and interesting events that that allow people to experience the east side either on their own or at a specific function.  For example, their 50 Favorites campaign allows people to experience the East Side on their own, while offering suggestions on parks, restaurants and other local businesses.

Castells reading:

In reading Catells’ Networks of outrage and hope: Social movements in the Internet age, I can tell you that there is a definite link between power and the Internet.

The Internet had allowed government, media and large corporations to control the ideology of their message which were self-serving and driven by greed and manipulation.  The public began to see the corruption and lies and started to distrust them.

It became apparent that a single person could also have that power to create a message and the internet could provide a platform for a network of mass self-communication to speak out against injustices in hopes to promote change.

The internet allows everyone to have a voice.  It connects real people with real concerns. Allowing individuals to exercise power to influence other people, creating networks and organizational partnerships to come together to provide a meaningful message.  They were able to fight back against the establishment and speak out for their own values and interests, while gaining support for these causes with a mass form of communication to spark social change.

 

Respond to someone’s post:

I recently wrote a blog about Amazon pulling out of building a second headquarters in NYC.  During my research, I discovered that NYC not only had the highest corporate tax rate in the nation (17.21%), but they also have one of the highest personal income tax rates (12.70%) in the country.

This coupled with outrageous property taxes is ridiculous!  The taxes are devastating for individuals with low income and the middle class.  Elected officials need to find ways to reduce spending, or possibly increase the consumption tax or tax tourists instead.  Something is broken here – they need to fix it!

Original post by David L.:

The Internet as a Level Playing Field

One lesson that I took away from Alexis Ohanian’s Ted talk, within the realm of helping ESABA, is to listen to buyers and not be overly controlling with designing content. I recall during this presentation that Alexis detailed how reddit users heavily favored the silly name for a whale in stark contrast to the more proper, meaningful name desired by the actual campaign. Although Greenpeace did not favor this outcome, they ultimately accepted it and thanked those who participated for helping make the campaign as successful as it was. I think there’s a lesson to be learned from this which is that sometimes, you don’t know what’s best and that’s okay. In the case of ESABA, our “buyers” are those who frequent and those who live in the Eastside. We want these folks to shop at businesses and visit parks in the Eastside. The kinds of shopping or parks that we may think they want to visit may not be the ones they actually do. Or to complicate things further, they may like the shops we suggest but they may not like the way we present it to them. Although conducting interviews may not be within the scope or time of this class, we can still create buyer personas (from New Rules of Marketing) of the audience we intend to target. This will help us gain a sense of what people want and what it will take to get people to frequent places on the Eastside. https://www.change.org/p/new-york-city-department-of-finance-lower-nyc-property-taxes
Above is a link to a petition to lower New York City property taxes. Being the libertarian-minded individual that I am, I always look for ways to lower taxes and see where we can get both sides of the aisle to jump in. I think this petition represents just such a juncture. Property taxes seem to be excessive everywhere and knowing that New York City has one of the highest costs of living anywhere, I can’t even begin to imagine what the rates are like there. This petition would help nearly all demographics- low income, middle class and those who worked hard to get to the top bracket. Now who could disagree with something like that? Feel free to sign and/or share.

By “switching power”, I believe that Castells means that the playing field is becoming leveled. Although this is a more generic/vague term, the internet and social networking have helped more folks rise the ladder both economically and socially. Yes, inequality still exists (i.e. racism, poverty, sexism, etc.) however it is slowly changing, and the internet has contributed to this. For example, the internet has helped expose corrupt politicians and business executives which has had an impact both here at home and abroad. Internationally, it has allowed emerging markets to finally participate in trade and allowed more folks to enter the middle class. How this was accomplished was by driving people to vote out politicians who hoarded wealth and vote in politicians that enact legislation that redistributes wealth, which in other countries is essential. Here in the U.S., it has caused companies to be more conscious of their operations and take up more causes in the community. This trend has come to be known as “Corporate Social Responsibility.” Though many critics believe this to be cliché, it’s hard to deny the benefits that local communities see from such programs. Even here at Metro State, we’ve benefitted from philanthropic efforts from 3M and General Mills just to name a few. Without pressure from activists, many companies likely would not care. And the internet provides an enabling platform for more attention to such issues. Personally, I see it as a win-win.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and spring break,

-David

Eating Organic

I subconsciously think that when something is labeled “organic” that it is healthy – not the case!  “Organic” and “healthy” are not the same.  Case in point, if you are eating a bag or organic chips, its still junk food.

eating organic

What does Organic mean?

According to organic.org, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

Labels have become confusing!

Nowadays you see many different packaging marked “natural, fat-free, no preservatives, gluten free”.  When you see the word “organic” it can be a bit deceiving if you do not understand the types of labeling for organic products.

The US Department of Agriculture has established a certification program that requires all organic labeled food to meet the government standards set by USDA. They have identified three categories of labeling organic products:

  1. 100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients
  2. Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients
  3. Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

For products with less than 70% organic ingredients, they may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.

Should you go organic?

Per Stanford University research, there is little evidence of health benefits from organic food or if organic food is more nutritious that non-organic food.  Most people cannot taste the difference between organic and non-organic foods, but eating organic will definitely cost you more.

If you do not buy organic, make sure to:

  • wash your fruits and veggies well
  • read the label carefully – product may still contain high amounts of sugar, salt, fat and calories

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What is Your Family Story?

I am into genealogy.  I am by no means a genealogist, but I am my family’s historian.  As you peel back the layers, you begin to feel like you know the people you are researching and something about the fact that they are not forgotten makes me feel good!

I am of Lebanese descent.  Since my research has begun, I have discovered scandal, heart break, health history and hilarious and interesting stories.  I also can document exactly when and how our sir name changed from Elicha to Leash to Leach, which had to do with immigration officials at Ellis Island and miscommunication between the funeral director and the undertaker.

You come to understand how and why your ancestors found their way to America, which leads into a bit of a history lesson!  In my case, my ancestors came to America in 1912 to escape religious persecution of Christians during the Ottoman Empire and were in search of a new opportunity.

My Lebanese immigrants followed friends and family to the West Side of Saint Paul.   The West Side was home to many Lebanese families, many of whom worked for the Rock Island Railroad or opened up their own businesses.  They worked together to establish a Maronite Catholic Church on the West Side called Holy Family Maronite Catholic Church, which allowed them a sense of community and support.  This Church still exists today and has now moved to Mendota Heights.  The congregation is made up of 90% of the ancestors who immigrated in the early 1900’s.

What is your family story?

If you are interested in researching your own family heritage, here are some of the important records you should seek out and where to find them:

Document Where
Citizenship papers: Declaration of intention, naturalization papers.

Census records

Military records

Ancestry.com

Minnesota History Center

Library of Congress

National Archives

Vital records: Birth, death, marriage certificates.

Divorce records, cemetery records

Local county vital records office
Passenger lists Liberty-Ellis Foundation
Religious records Local church or religious organization for your family

 

Of course there are many different genealogy resources, (other than those that are mentioned above) that you can use to find information and records, but this will give you a good start as to what to look for.

I have found many errors in the records that I have uncovered, such as misspellings of names and conflicting dates, so it’s a good idea to keep a log of your research indicating dates, discoveries and sources of where information was found.

I would suggest starting with Ancestry.com.  Many of your ancestors have likely started a family tree here already, and you can build off of this.  I would also look on The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation website to see if you can find the passenger lists that include your ancestors.

If your descendants resided in Minnesota, I would also go to the Minnesota History Center to see if you can find naturalization papers and also visit the county in which they lived to obtain birth, death and marriage certificates.  From here, you will start finding very interesting tidbits of information which will lead you in many different directions!

Most importantly — talk to the elders in your family!  They have a wealth of information that will be helpful when researching and amazing stories that you can write down to preserve history for future generations.

Researching your family genealogy is fun, free (for the most part) and its rewarding.  I hope this gives you an idea of the information you can find and a point in the right direction to get you started!

 

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Jussie Smollett, Why??

I believe that as a social justice activist, you are a role model for those you are empowering and you have an obligation to conduct yourself ethically and set a good example for those looking up to you.

A few weeks ago, “Empire” actor and musician, Jussie Smollett reported to Chicago police that he was attacked by two white perpetrators who were yelling racial and homophobic slurs while yelling “This is MAGA (Make American Great Again) Country” which was a campaign slogan used by President Donald Trump.  He states that these men beat him, put a noose around his neck and threw bleach on him.

A precursor to this attack was a threatening letter that was sent to the Chicago set of “Empire” just days before.  The letter contained a white powdery substance and depicted a stick figure with a noose around its neck with the words “You will die black fag” on it.  Days later, the attack happened.

According to police reports filed by Smollett, the attack happened on January 29 at approximately 2:00 A.M., as he walked home from a local Subway sandwich shop after grabbing some food.

Jussie Smollett is an African American man who is openly gay and an activist for social justice.  Because of the comments made by the attackers and the content of the letter, this attack was taken very seriously and Jussie Smollett became a victim of a hate crime.

As news of this hate crime broke on main stream media and social media, Jussie immediately had the support of sympathizers, fans, Hollywood celebrities, LBGTQ community & civil rights activists.  Frankly most of the country was outraged – and with good reason!  Before knowing all of the facts, Left-wing politicians shared their disgust for this “modern day lynching” and took the opportunity to make it more political and racial, pointing out that these attackers were white Trump supporters.

As more details of the attack unfolded, conservatives became suspicious of his story and claimed it was made up.  #JussieSmollett became a trending topic of conversation on Twitter and other social media outlets with hatred being spewed back and forth between political parties, races and LGBTQ supporters/non supporters causing deeper divide and outrage.

In the weeks following the attack, it was becoming more and more evident there were holes in Jussie’s story and things were not adding up.  Chicago police uncovered overwhelming evidence that Jussie Smollett planned his attack and paid two “Empire” extras to carry out the hoax.

Subsequently, on February 21,  Chicago police charged Jussie Smollett with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report which could land him 1 – 3 years in prison.

Smollett has been outspoken politically and was a social activist devoted to such causes as:

  • H.I.V./AIDS prevention in the Black community
  • Ending apartheid
  • Black Lives Matter movement & social justice

On January 22, Jussie was inducted in the 5000 Role Models of excellence project which is a mentoring program for boys of color.  He served on the board of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), focused solely on ending the AIDS epidemic.  Jussie Smollett was a great role model and positive example of how to be black, gay, proud and successful.

When I heard the news of a hoax, it was like a punch in the gut.  There are so many levels of wrong here.  Jussie Smollett has single-handedly undermined the important work civil rights activists and LGBTQ communities have been fighting for.

It is an absolute travesty that he used the pain and anger of racism & homophobia to promote his own agenda and career.  This stunt has caused more division and disappointed so many that looked up to him – especially young African American males.  In the midst of black history month, he caused a distraction from the African American struggles that should have been recognized and the triumphs that should have been celebrated.

This was a deliberate and planned event by a well-respected actor and social justice activist that had so much potential to empower today’s youth of color.  Social justice, by it very definition is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society – nothing that Jussie did was fair or just to society.

Why this hoax is so destructive:

  • Creates skepticism of real hate crimes
  • Discourages real victims of racial violence and hate crimes to step forward
  • Introduces possibility for more hoaxes
  • Causes more division
  • Ignites a false sense of legitimacy to racism and homophobia
  • Damages credibility of activists
  • Embarrassment to community and to victims
  • Waste of law enforcement resources

Social activists, who initially were in support of Jussie, spoke out against him saying that he has set their cause back and that he should be held accountable.

Today, a press conference was held regarding the arrest of Jussie Smollett. Eddie T. Johnson, the Chicago Police Superintendent shared his heart-felt and powerful sentiment.  Before even starting the press conference, he stated that he “wished that the families of gun violence got this much attention”.  He talked about being a black man born and raised in Chicago, and seeing a history of racial divide and disparity.  He asked the question, “How can somebody use the symbolism of a noose (with the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol) and see an opportunity to make false accusations to further his own public profile?”  The comments by Eddie Johnson were exactly what this country needed to hear.  No matter your political affiliation, or what race or gender you are, his sentiment spoke to everyone.

Now is the time for Jussie to speak up and face accountability for his actions.  It may not undo the damage that was done by “crying wolf”, but it may help those who felt duped to heal and move forward.

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New York Looks a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Recently Amazon announced that they would not move forward with their plans to build a second headquarters (HQ2) in Queens, New York, stating that they require a positive and collaborative partner in making this work.  Although Amazon polls showed that over 70% of New Yorkers supported the deal, there was much opposition from unions, state legislators and state representatives.

Labor groups demanded that every job be unionized, environmentalists wanted green policies put in place, state legislators wanted more transit put in place and housing groups wanted more affordable housing.

Those opposed to this deal also believed that the positions created by the new HQ2 would not be filled by local residents, instead outsiders would move to the area and fill these roles and the cost of living would increase, raising the rents so high that it would no longer be affordable for low-income residents.

Along with these issues, there was also a major sticking point regarding a $3 billion tax incentive, citing that this was way too much in subsites for the $800 billion dollar company.

Many NY politicians, even from the same party had contrasting opinions on Amazon’s presence in Queens.  I for one, feel this was a missed opportunity for the economic growth of New York and for the revitalization of Queens.  I don’t see how this would be a loss for New York.  It’s like looking a gift horse in the mouth – are no jobs are better that jobs?

Amazon was set to build a $2.5 billion dollar campus, putting over 1300 construction laborers to work almost immediately, and an estimated 107,000 direct and indirect jobs spilling over into the local community in the coming years.

Additionally, having a tech company in New York would help them expand their business portfolio from mainly financial institutions and put the East Coast on the map as a “tech” state, driving other big tech companies to New York.

New York has the highest corporate income tax rate (17.21%) and the worst economic outlook of all 50 states according to the 2018 American Legislative Exchange Council report, Rich States, Poor States.  It also has one of the highest personal income tax rates (12.70%).

New York has been trying to lure new businesses to their state, and Amazon would have generated $27.5 billion in city and state revenue over 25 years!

With New York being the most unionized state in the country, the pressure was on to unionize the Amazon warehouse in Queens.  Amazon currently has no unions in any of their warehouses across the United States and feel that they can best address their employees concerns or issues.  I feel Amazon (or any corporation) has the right to decide this on their own, which they did and were faced with backlash from union organizers.  According to Glassdoor, Amazon employees give the company an overall rating of 3.8 out of 4.  Amazon also increased its minimum wage to $15.00/hour, higher than the federal minimum wage.  Based on this, I feel like Amazon has a good working relationship with its employees and pays fair wages.  Unionizing can create higher annual labor costs for corporations and union workers are subject to high union dues which can have a negative effect on low-income residents in this community.

There is no doubt that New York needs to improve and expand its infrastructure – with or without Amazon.  Amazon is committed to $600 – $650 million towards infrastructure improvements and will also provide money for low income programs, but it is also the responsibility of the state to have low income housing already in place if they were so concerned about this.

New York will be missing out on:

JOBS:

  • 25,000 jobs, with an average salary of $150k
  • Tens of thousands of additional indirect jobs
  • $5 million towards workforce development
  • A non-profit training center on campus to mentor and recruit locals
  • $10 million expansion of the JobsPlus program near the largest public housing complex in the country, Queensbridge Houses
  • A $3 – $5 million commitment from the state geared towards training residents for careers in IT, cybersecurity and web development

INFRASTRUCTURE:

  • Fund streets, sidewalks public open spaces, parks and transit infrastructure utilizing payment in lieu of taxes
  • $60 million towards a 600 seat school & Long Island Rail Road stop
  • $46 million towards sewer and water main upgrades
  • $180 million in new spending for overall improvements

 

ECONOMIC IMPACTS:

  • Over $25 billion in tax revenues over the next twenty years.

It appears that one of the downfalls in getting support was not going through correct channels to get this deal approved.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio did not involve the local community and other lawmakers, but instead tried to fast-track the deal to override local regulations.  This also led to incorrect facts about the $3 billion in tax subsidies.

Some stated that NY could use the $3 billion to build up communities on their own – not understanding that without Amazon the $3 billion does not exist!

New York does not have $3B that they were pulling from one “pot” to put into another “pot”, this was money that would have materialized if Amazon kept its promises on job creation and economic development.

The estimated $3B in tax breaks offered to Amazon would have resulted in $27 billion in tax revenue over the next 25 years for the state of New York.

At the end of the day, I don’t understand why the state of New York even submitted a bid to be considered by Amazon if they did not have their ducks in a row to make it work.  Corporate tax incentives are necessary because New York has the highest income tax in the country, and they need to be more competitive to entice large companies to move or expand in their state.

There are rumors that the deal may not be entirely off the table and that it may be re-negotiated.  I truly hope that this is the case, and that lawmakers can come to an understanding and show their support for a company that will help spur the economic growth of the state.

 

–Follow me on Instagram

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Teens & Social Media: Is it a Good Thing?

Social media refers to websites and applications that enable users to create and share content quickly, efficiently and in real-time.

As we continue to evolve with new technologies, our teens are influencing the popularity of social media platforms such as with Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram.

Most teens believe social media has had mostly positive effects on them.  They feel that it helps them connect more with family members, interact with people their own age, and make new friends.

Social media has gotten a bad reputation in recent years, but there are many positive effects of social media on teenagers.

Users are able to quickly share opinions about people, places or things; buy/sell/review products and services; upload photographs; post events, find jobs, meet new friends and much more!  The use of social media allows teens to:

  • Quickly communicate & collaborate with others
  • Be entertained
  • Learn how to do just about anything, including play a guitar, cooking or anything else you can think of
  • Meet new friends
  • Find the best deals on consumer goods & services
  • Get reviews of products, services or even a restaurant near your present location!
  • Find employment
  • Increase awareness of social, economic and environmental issues
  • Emotionally or monetarily give back to those in need
  • Use new technologies to increase skill set
  • Express ourselves creatively

Teens see the value of social media and also see it as a way to stay up-to-date on trends and express themselves.  At the click of a button, they can spread and obtain all kinds of information as well as influence, or be influenced by others.

One such influencer is Jeffree Star (make-up artist, internet celebrity and entrepreneur) has utilized social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to build an empire and has a net worth in excess of $50M.

Jeffree has been active on social media since 2003 and has built a large and loyal audience:

  • YouTube 12M subscribers
  • Instagram 11.2M followers
  • Twitter 3.3M followers

Jeffree has his own brand of cosmetics and is extremely influential in this market.  His raw and honest makeup reviews are top-notch and can cause products to fly off the shelf if he likes them.

He is just one example of several social media beauty gurus focusing on fashion, hair and beauty related topics that influence male & female teens to young adults.  Teens are being influenced by social media celebrities and then influencing others within their own social network.

Teens spend an average of six to eight hours a day- YES, six to eight hours a day using digital technology. They are becoming less active and more addicted with lower self-esteem, and higher social anxiety.

Studies show that there are many negative effects of social media among teens.  As teens become secluded in their bedrooms mindlessly scrolling through posts, they are becoming less social, and more virtual.  They are focusing on what people are wearing, how they look, where they are at, and what they are buying.  They are starting to become jealous of one another and insecure about themselves.

As we continue to study the effects of social media on teens, there are both pro’s and con’s.  Whichever side of the fence you are on, we can all agree that social media is powerful and continues to grow – the key for a healthy teen is monitoring and moderation!

 

–Follow me on Instagram

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Corporate Social Responsibility: Less Human, More Being

As an event marketing professional, planning trade shows and conferences for corporations, I see a lot of waste and opportunities to give back.  When I started out in this field about 15 years ago, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was not really talked about.  In the past 5 years, I have noticed a huge shift in the corporate mindset of how an event is planned and executed.  CSR has become a priority, and is at the forefront of planning each and every event program that I am involved with.

In this blog, I am going to touch on a brief history of CSR, why it’s important, and talk about how I can utilize CSR practices in my role as an event manager.

What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

Although I have seen variations on the definition, Corporate Social Responsibility is the accountability a company has for its impact on society and the environment.

csr

A concern for social responsibility can be traced back to the 1930s.  However in the 1950’s we saw the start of the modern era, where Howard Bowen published a book called the Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, and coined the phrasecorporate social responsibility”.  In the book, Bowen states that “the largest business firms are vital centers of power and decision, and actions of these firms touch the lives of the American people at many points”.  He asks the question “what responsibilities to society can business people be reasonably expected to assume?”  These thoughts were revolutionary for the time.  Bowen has later become known as the “father of CSR”.

The notion of CSR has evolved since Bowen’s era, and the concept of CSR has grown from a company’s sense of responsibility not only towards the community, but towards the environment in which it operates.

What I have also come to realize is that corporations are not the only entities to have an effect on social and ecological systems, but we as consumers can make a powerful impact.

I recently watched a TEDx video on YouTube called From Me First to We First by Simon Mainwaring.  Mainwaring’s premise that prosperity is no longer the wealth of a few, but the well-being of many opens your eyes to shared humanity.  This idea to shift from personal self-interest to mutual self-interest had a profound effect on me.

Social media provides us with an opportunity to celebrate companies on the basis of their social responsibility, and make a personal, purposeful contribution to society by consuming goods and services that give back.  Mainwaring states “What we do in our daily lives can play a role in this me first, we first transformation, and help capitalism grow up”.

 

So why is CSR so important?

There is a consumer demand for more purpose-driven and sustainable practices along with an expectation on corporations, as influencers, to contribute to social and environmental realms.   Building relationships with customers is the cornerstone of any successful business.  Having socially responsible policies in place can impact the decisions of these customers.  In fact, the next generation, (Millennials) have a higher demand for CSR and transparency to ensure companies are conducting their business in an ethical way.

With today’s digital era, social media platforms have allowed everyone to have a voice and it can make or break a company’s reputation and affect their bottom line.  Some benefits of CSR engagement are:

  • Positive business reputation/public image
  • Increased customer sales & customer loyalty
  • Better brand recognition
  • B2B partnerships
  • Positive work environment
  • Financial profit from sustainable principles
  • Environmental innovations for technology and techniques

 

How Can I Utilize CSR Practices As An Event Manager?

Have you have ever stuck around after a trade show and witnessed the wastefulness of materials during the break-down?  Have you seen the tables filled with food left virtually untouched during a conference?

Events take a heavy toll on our resources, society and the environment. They can generate significant waste and even cause tension in local communities.

Ask yourself the question “How can my event achieve the same outcome with minimal negative impacts on the environment, communities and local economy?”

Then educate yourself on sustainable practices in the event industry and implement them.  Research local charities near your next event venue.  More often that not, hotels and convention centers have a CSR program in place and can help you in the donation of goods after an event.

 

There are massive opportunities to make a significant social and ecological impact when planning events:

SOCIAL:

  • If you have samples of products or goods, find a local charity to donate to after the event is over
  • Dedicate time for an employee/attendee service project and give back to the local community
  • Instead of swag, make a donation to a charity. Have attendees vote for their favorite charity to donate to.
  • Do not put all of the food ordered out right away, instead, put out smaller quantities and refill. Work with venue to package up and donate untouched food to a shelter or food pantry.
  • Instead of renting costly Audio Visual equipment, purchase some of these items locally, and donate them to a charity after the event is over
  • Donate a portion of the registration fee to a local charity or organization
  • Offer a discount on event fee for a donation to a local charity or organization

Several years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency cited the meeting and event industry as one of the most wasteful industries in America.  Event organizers have stepped up their game to focus on sustainable practices:

ECOLOGICAL:

  • Select venues and suppliers that have CSR policies in place and that are eco-conscious
  • Cut down on printing collateral, or print minimal assets on recyclable paper
  • Utilize digital communication when possible for invites, collateral, etc.
  • Ensure recycle bins are widely available at your event
  • Analyze your booth property for eco-friendly alternatives: Are graphics multi-use? Are they printed on eco-friendly material?  Are we using LED lighting?
  • Cut down on the number of staff attending an event. Make sure that everyone going has a purpose. This will also save money on airfare, per diem, hotel costs, and reduce your carbon footprint
  • Instead of bottled water, have water stations with glasses, or recyclable cups
  • Find ways to utilize natural décor and materials or utilize multi use materials
  • Produce as little waste as possible and consider the environmental impacts when ordering food, drink, meeting supplies, transportation and overall planning

 

In conclusion, as a planner of meetings and events, you must ensure that CSR practices meet the needs of your corporate mission without compromising the successfulness of the event.

As an individual consumer, we have a choice to purchase goods and services from corporations that give back to society–Do your research before purchasing!

Maximizing positive impacts will do more for the greater good of humanity and leave a legacy to be proud of, both personally and professionally.

–Lisa Leach

–Follow me on Instagram

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