Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Things that make me go "hmmm...."

In the wake of CERES' annual conference there have been some rumblings of revolutionizing sustainability reporting. From Hannah Jones of Nike to a world first reporting announcement from Puma, there are signs it won't be business as usual for corporate reporting anymore: financially, environmentally or socially.

According to the Guardian article about Puma's new approach to reporting, which values environmental costs in their profit and loss sheets:
The methodology for the new P&L was developed by PwC and Trucost, based on a value per tonne of CO2 at £57 and an average water value of £0.69 per m3.
So, let's say, hypothetically, that we were to apply the same prices to the estimated environmental impact of an event attendee. And report on it in the way Puma is proposing. If an event attendee produces roughly 135 kg of CO2 per day, and uses 300 L of water per day, that amounts to £24, or $39 US in environmental costs per participant over a 3 day event.

Given that, if we were required to report environmental costs on a P&L statement for event marketing or association meetings is it conceivable we should add $39,000 to costs for our 1,000 person event? $390,000 for 10,000 attendees? Over $1 million for 30,000?

Regardless of the numbers, how would adding the environmental cost of events as a budget line item shift our psychology about managing our impact? Acquiring sponsors? Setting registration fees? Purchasing materials? Considering hybrid or virtual formats? Calculating ROI?

If the future of reporting is really coming, are event managers ready?

Note: Footprint data is an approximation and for illustration only. It is based on a sample of conference tradeshow footprints in North America, incorporating air and ground travel, venue and hotel use. Figures have not been subject to peer review.

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