Ecomice: For a Better World, a new book from author, historian, geographer and owner of Tourism Marketing & PR Dr. Patrick Patridge, is designed to show how sustainable and responsible planning of meetings, incentives, conferences and business events can effect real change in the world.
Ecomice may not be a familiar term for many in the meetings, incentives, conferences and business events (MICE) industry, but if Dr. Patrick Patridge has anything to say about it, “ecomice” will be what guides the MICE industry, and the world at large, into a better, more sustainable future. Patridge, who is based in Frankfurt, Germany and is past president of the SITE Germany Chapter as well as owner of Tourism Marketing & PR, said his new book, ecomice: for a Better World, broadens the subject matter of his previous book, Incentive Travel for a New World, to include the entirety of the meetings and events industry.
“What we need now in the international meetings industry are innovative ways of thinking and of working together to co-create solutions for increasingly urgent problems that affect – or will eventually affect — all of us,” he said. “No meeting is an island. No individual has all the answers.”
He believes the new ecomice book, and the concepts underlying its pages, are important for all involved in the meetings and events industry, from convention and visitors bureaus and destination marketing organizations to professional conference organizers, corporate and association decision-makers; educators, government policy makers and all other MICE industry stakeholders.
Prevue recently caught up with Patridge to find out more.
Prevue: What exactly is “ecomice”? How does it relate to CSR? Does it dovetail with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDGs)?
Patridge: Ecomice is about how we sustainably market and promote meetings; the way we organize business, scientific, and association conferences; and how we plan, organize, and deliver events to help protect society and the environment.
I work with ecomice Spiritus Rector Johanna Fischer as an ecomice ambassador to help corporations, conference destinations and meeting planners to research, identify, and communicate a new generation of meeting experiences based on sustainable supply chains and UN SDG criteria.
Ecomice assists in co-creating sustainable legacy programs informing, educating, and motivating organizers, stakeholders, and participants in the process.
Prevue: What is the main business case for making events more sustainable and socially responsible?
Patridge: The hard business case for ecomice is that balanced ecosystems and sustainable environments, happy and healthy participants are pre-conditions for successful branding and future business growth — for corporations, for associations, and for their respective conferences and meetings.
Prevue: What are the main benefits for meeting/event organizers, and for the destinations that host them?
Patridge: The international meetings industry, as global actor, investor and influencer, has a major responsibility and significant role to play in enacting and promoting such change. And there is no time like the present to start doing so.
Ecomice is a first-of-its-kind, plan of action for collaboration as an industry to tackle salient questions concerning CO-footprints; renewable energies; single-use plastics; species survival; food and beverage; and wild bees and trees.
It may be employed at all levels of meetings and event planning of every genre as an effective instrument for generating UN SDG- / CSR-compliant programs for corporations (especially public- and stock exchange-listed companies that must comply with ESG directives and guidelines), meeting destinations and conference stakeholders.
Ecomice is, therefore, good for both corporate branding and public image, and consequently good for sustainable business retention and future development. It is also “home” for all in our industry who are concerned about the state of our planet and who genuinely want to help out.
The ecomice team works with meeting planners, conference venues, host destinations, hotels and stakeholders to identify, structure and communicate a new generation of exciting and engaging meeting experiences based on inherently sound, future-oriented and sustainable criteria — while at the same time supporting scientific institutions, innovative start-ups and research initiatives in bringing about necessary changes.
Prevue: What are some key performance indicators (KPIs) of a successful ecomice program?
Patridge: The KPIs include:
- That meetings are transformed into ambassadors for care, stewardship, environment, and human protection
- That persons organizing and attending meetings understand the context and urgency of the core issues at hand; contribute to delivering solutions; are comfortable in effecting change without feeling shamed into doing so; and enjoy both memorable and sustainable meeting experiences
It is not too late for meetings to change direction by addressing both local, national, and global sustainability concerns and by tackling contemporary ecological, biodiversity, climate crisis, and CSR challenges.
In related news, Patridge has announced that FrauBlau, the first water conservation legacy project for the global meetings industry, was the first runner up in the 2022 ICCA Innovation Challenge. FrauBlau, or Lady Blue, is an ecomice-based water legacy initiative for the global meetings and business events industry based on UN SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation as a Human Right) initiated by MICE industry thought-leader, Johanna Fischer. Top place went to Conferli and its CEO and Founder Nienke van der Malen – van der Horst from Utrecht, Netherlands, for their concept of how the SDGs can, in a practical way, contribute to a positive impact/legacy outcome of an association’s conference in the host destination.
The ecomice book is available for purchase worldwide via Amazon.com.