Enterprise Vice President, Global & Industry Presence
Maritz Global Events
For spearheading his company’s next-generation sustainability strategy
Maritz Global Events has long worked to be a good steward of the environment, but recently the organization stepped up its efforts by organizing individual initiatives into a cohesive strategy. That’s largely thanks to Ben Goedegebuure, enterprise vice president of global and industry presence.
“We’ve had a green team for a very long time,” Goedegebuure says. In addition to Maritz signing the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge in 2021, he adds that “we’ve had people focused on things like water and waste, all the things you might expect. What we’ve done is bring all of that together in one coherent strategy.”
A major factor driving this change is a corporate commitment to the use of measurement and reporting tools from organizations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project and EcoVadis. That, in turn, has prompted Maritz to invest in systems and methods that will help it capture data across the enterprise. It also led to the appointment of Rachel Riggs as the firm’s general manager of environmental strategy.
These steps created fundamental change in how the company views sustainability and its role in business operations and client support. “We say we are moving our company and people, our clients, our industry, and our suppliers toward more sustainability,” Goedegebuure explains.
To support that, Maritz Global Events adopted the BPA Worldwide iCompli Sustainability carbon-footprint assessment tool, which it launched for clients several months ago. The tool calculates an event’s carbon output and offers recommendations on how to reduce that output. The Maritz team can then work with meeting organizers to ensure these recommendations are implemented efficiently.
“It’s really a long-term tool that can show how to improve over time,” Goedegebuure notes.
Maritz also now uses the Events Industry Council’s sustainability standards as the basis for its own checklist. And by pushing to ensure more of its staff are certified in the standards, “we are making sustainability a principal issue for our team so they can guide clients,” he adds.
Achieving Despite All the Noise
For firms just setting out on the journey toward more sustainable events, Goedegebuure says that focusing on one goal at a time, instead of targeting everything all at once, is important. “We are at the stage where every other conversation is about sustainability, and people will start switching off unless we can find that focus,” he observes.
At Maritz, he says, training the staff and keeping the sustainability narrative alive with clients have been essential elements of the company’s efforts. “It’s really about educating our clients, but in my view it’s more about making them aware of the issues out there and getting the narrative around sustainability right.”
“This is a journey for all of us. We all need to get it right.”