When you hear, "it's time for the third degree" you may think it is time for intense interrogation. But the Third Degree is also known as the highest level of achievement and that is the case with the brave new world of social responsibility in meetings--advocacy. It involves taking a stand to change practice. Here are some examples of how to do just that:
The area of accessibility for people with disabilities continues to require diligence to ensure accommodation providers are in compliance. For example, The Unitarian Universalist Association takes accessability so seriously they inspect every venue and hotel to make sure their participants have services available. Not only do they make sure minimum legal requirements are met, but also educate hotels and venues about principles of universal design that make their properties more inclusive of all users, without discrimination.
Destinations & Human Rights
Have you ever thought about how human rights factors into destination selection? What does your destination say about you and your organization? What could it say if you used destination selection to better the living conditions in the places you meet? Responsible meetings create better places for people to live in and meet in. If you are interested in uncovering what human rights issues exist in your next meeting location visit Amnesty International's website: http://www.amnesty.org/. Search for country specific issues under the "Learn About Human Rights" tab.
Vendor Selection & Social Action
Do your suppliers act on social responsibility? Are they advocating for change within their own supply chain? Have they been targeted with workplace action? When ordering bags, T-shirts, and water bottles remember to ask if products meet Fair Labor Association and Ethical Trading Initiative Guidelines.
To read the entire report, "Having a Human Impact: What is social responsibility for meetings?"click here http://www.meetgreen.com/files/articles/SR_Issues_Brief_032010.pdf
Acknowledgement: Our sincere thanks to Mark Mawson, Amanda De Kruiff and Robert Pfister of Vancouver Island University for their work on this project and the meeting professionals who provided their insight into our research.