CSR snapshot: Katie Boone from MCI Australia

Benojo interview CSR

MCI Australia were among those that attended Benojo’s first corporate round table session on volunteerism held in November last year.

Katie Boone, Sustainability Champion from MCI Australia, said of the session:

“It was a fantastic forum to talk with industry peers about their challenges in this area. As I’m sure is the case with many organisations, we have found it difficult to identify corporate volunteering opportunities that meet and match our needs and values. Benojo has the potential to bridge the gap between corporations and not-for-profit organisations. We look forward to learning more about the possibilities.”   

We spoke with Katie to learn more about MCI’s approach to CSR.

  1. How would you describe MCI as a business and your role within it?

MCI is a global leader in the meetings, events, and association industries, providing strategic engagement and activation solutions. We help multinational companies and international associations to enhance organisational performance, grow globally, energise communities and drive business results.

As Sustainability Champion at MCI Australia I lead the development and implementation of sustainability programs in Australia. My focus is on improving social, economic and environmental performance of operations, and continuing to position MCI as an industry leader in sustainability.

I work closely with our clients to manage and deliver sustainable events, setting ambitious sustainability goals taking into account the triple bottom line, implementing a range of sustainability initiatives, engaging and collaborating with suppliers, and measuring and reporting on sustainability performance.

  1. Can you tell us a little about MCI Australia's current CSR efforts? 

For MCI, sustainability is a business imperative. It is part of a fundamental shift in the way we work and how we do business. Our sustainability efforts focus on five key areas: operations, people and culture, clients, industry, and community.

MCI sees a great opportunity for the Australian Meetings and Associations Industry to lead the way in sustainability. As the most mature market in the Asia Pacific for sustainability, they can set benchmarks and shape the future of the industry. With this in mind, a key focus for MCI at present is to work closely with our clients to challenge and encourage them to execute their projects in the most sustainable way possible. We offer sustainable event packages to our clients that promote environmental responsibility, social equity and economic viability for the client and for the event host community.

Last year we partnered with Engineers Australia and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine to manage and deliver their Convention and Annual Scientific Meeting, respectively, using one of our sustainable events packages. The detailed post event reports are currently being written, however what we can say at this stage is they are two of the greenest events ever held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

  1. Collaboration and community are a key part of MCI’s approach to business. Are these qualities reflected in its approach to CSR?

Absolutely. We recognise the importance of fostering collaboration, engagement and a sense of community within MCI and our vibrant culture of responsibility and care is reflected in our approach to sustainability.

Through our local community action projects, MCI Australia staff from business units and offices across Australia come together to support the Van Wright Foundation and Nelune Foundation by volunteering our event management expertise and time to organise gala dinners and fundraising events for each foundation.

MCI became aware of the Van Wright Foundation through Phil Wright of Exponet and his wife Collene, the parents of Van Wright. At 15 months of age, Van was diagnosed with MECP2 duplication syndromewhich is a rare and progressive neurological disorder, only discovered in 2005. Phil Wright and his family are part of the events community and we are happy to be able to be able to support them.

  1.  What do you think are the ingredients of a successful CSR strategy? 

Culture and leadership are vital in successfully implementing sustainability strategies. The leadership team must fully support and drive sustainability strategies and employees need to be engaged in the process too.

It is also important that strategies developed are relevant and reflective of the organisation’s goals, vision and purpose. There needs to be an intrinsic link between who you are and what you do. For example, the nature of MCI’s business is about community and education, and we focus on these areas with our sustainability activities. MCI Australia is committed to supporting the education of students, taking on interns regularly and speaking at universities.

  1. Do you think a company’s philanthropic work is becoming a more important part of business today?

Society looks to businesses to lead the way when it comes to philanthropy. At the end of the day I believe businesses have a responsibility to the communities in which they operate, ensuring the wellbeing of its people and environment.

  1. Anything you’d like to add?

We are always seeking to collaborate with organisations who also wish to accelerate the development of a sustainable economy. It is our responsibility to demonstrate to our partners that sustainability is important to us, to challenge suppliers to provide sustainable services and products at equal cost, and to engage clients in sustainable event practices. We look forward to being a part of the change to a better future.

Contact Benojo to find out how we can help your business and its approach to CSR.