How Going Green Can Generate More Clients, Sponsors and Revenues for Your Special Event

By Joseph Rizzo, Director, Sustainability Services

iCompli, division of BPA Worldwide





Event planners, venues, destinations, and other industry suppliers are all getting in the game with sustainability initiatives. Event professionals that incorporate sustainability practices into their offerings can gain a competitive advantage and win business from socially responsible and environmentally conscious clients. As your customers – and their suppliers – increasingly demand that “people, planet, profit” become a part of everyday business transactions, it’s important to know how your business fits in.

Gain a Competitive Edge

There are a few key steps to finding your place in the sustainability arena. First, making sure that you and your staff know the business case for offering sustainable meeting options to clients can immediately set you apart. Because “going green” doesn’t always mean it costs less green, you have to know why sustainability does, or should, matter to clients – and how it can actually be a revenue generator, not an expense. Second, an understanding of best practices will help you tailor solutions to your clients, offer them maximum benefit for their spend with you, and show that being accountable to the community and environment matters to you, too.


Simply by tracking waste, energy use and water use, event planners can begin to strategize about conserving resources – which has a clear impact on the triple bottom line.


Impacting the Bottom Line

Recently we have been thinking about the business case for sustainability in terms of this great Harvard Business School article. The author says most companies that incorporate sustainability into their business follow along the same path – compliant, efficient, and then innovative. At the compliance stage, you’re helping clients follow the letter of the law, ensuring they will maintain their “license to operate” for years to come. At the efficiency stage, there is increased engagement between an event planner and venue, hotels, transportation and other suppliers. Simply by tracking waste, energy use and water use, event planners can begin to strategize about conserving resources – which has a clear impact on the triple bottom line. Efficiency usually means a company develops a management system that makes sustainable event planning routine business. In the innovation stage, companies are producing events that have a positive legacy – benefitting the entire community before, during and after the event.

Set Up Green Sponsorships with Brands Supporting Sustainability

Most companies stick in the first two stages, and many with great success. It is increasingly well understood that companies who pay attention and focus on social and environmental issues see productivity gains, higher employee retention, and a better reputation in the marketplace.

At iCompli, we’ve found the best way to move through these stages is to set up a green sponsorship. We’re connecting event planners that want to be more sustainable with brands that have sustainability embedded in their business.

We use two leading standards to help make these connections, and help event planners and industry suppliers advance their sustainability agenda. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards provide event planners and suppliers prescriptive, measurable specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner. ISO 20121 is an international standard designed to help integrate sustainability into management practices and processes.

If you want to be a leader in adopting sustainability practices, iCompli is the exclusive certifying body for the Green Meetings Industry Council. They offer expert navigation to improve your performance and help you win more, better business.


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Joseph Rizzo

Director, Sustainability Services

iCompli, division of BPA Worldwide

(203) 447-2874


About iCompli

iCompli Sustainability (iCompli) is a division of BPA Worldwide, the world’s largest media audit company. A not-for-profit organization established in 1931, BPA’s audit services have expanded to include external assurance of government and industry standards and independent verification of companies’ sustainability claims. iCompli provides a research-driven systems approach to help organizations make defensible decisions about their sustainability initiatives. We offer diagnostic and assessment services, data verification and report assurance, and third-party certification to industry sustainability standards. Just as global brands have relied upon BPA for more than 80 years, iCompli can be trusted by corporate leaders to address their sustainability challenges and take performance to the next level. For more information please visit

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