Using Green Events to Engage Employees, Partners, and the Public


From NASCAR to the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Houston Marathon

Using Green Events to Engage Employees, Partners, and the Public

Events can be a highly effective way of showcasing your company’s capabilities, educating, and introducing new initiatives. A well-planned, well orchestrated event enables your company to reach a broad swath of your stakeholders while leaving a lasting impression. You can choose to sponsor an existing event or create one of your own.

Sponsoring an existing event allows you to leverage the work of the event organizer and affords you necessary time needed to build relationships and commitment from stakeholders to ensure proper messaging and engagement at all levels. Sponsoring public events like marathons or golf tournaments provides an opportunity to boost employee engagement by getting employees directly involved with the event. The options range from local, community functions to well-known national events. Waste Management has successfully participated in high-profile events including NASCAR, the Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO), and the Houston Marathon to showcase new customer solutions, educate, and affirm the company’s commitment to transform itself from “Waste Hauler” to “Environmental Solutions” company.

Creating your own event generally requires more effort, but allows you to tailor the event to reach a specific audience or even specific individuals. It is also brings important prospects and partners together in a non-sales environment. For example, Waste Management has sponsored an Executive Environmental Sustainability Forum at Dartmouth for the past three years. In this case, Waste Management has significant control over the agenda, including the selection of participating executives.

When sponsoring a “green” event, you should make sure that sustainable practices are used wherever it makes sense. It is equally important to document the practices and their results on the events environmental footprint. Recycling at an event is one of the most obvious practices, but truly greening an event often requires much more. Waste Management offers a varitety of solutions that cover practices from the obvious to the not so obvious. For example, during the WMPO, many fans were unaware that Waste Management used gray-water from the kitchens and concessions in portable toilets, which saved 99,999 gallons of water.

Not all events are equal. It takes careful analysis to determine which event offers your company the best opportunity. Here are five tips for optimizing your choices:

1. Know your target audience. Get involved with events that are likely to capture the hearts and attention of the greatest number of your target employees, partners, and community. Carefully analyze the demographic pull for each potential event. Understand the attendee profile, viewer profile and any significant trends that work for or against a match with your own target demographic. Evaluate what other companies or institutional entities are involved.

2. Assess each event. Know who’s involved. You may share sponsorship with peer companies that have the same brand strength. Yet you are not likely to be interested if a competitor or a disreputable entity is involved. Also, remember to keep track of results such as increased sales leads.

3. Think local. Although national opportunities offer great reach and exposure, transformation begins at the grassroots. Engage your employees and most important stakeholders first.

4. Names matter. Pay attention to what you call your campaign or sponsorship. Develop several key words that say exactly what your sponsorship is about and create an identity that is virtual and memorable.

5. Leverage the event. Remember that every event is a publicity machine. Use every possible channel to get the word out about the event and your participation. Be sure to highlight and consider publishing the ways in which the event has managed its enviromental footprint through recycling or other efforts.

For more information about actually greening event or for advise evaluating an opportunity to sponsor a green event, call Waste Management Sustainability Services at 877-441-3046 or visit our website at WMSustainabilityServices.com.

About the Author

Waste Management

Waste Management, Inc. is North America's leading provider of integrated environmental solutions. We partner with our customers and communities to manage and reduce waste from collection to disposal while recovering valuable resources and creating clean, renewable energy.

Our 45,000 employees are committed to Environmental Performance — our mission to maximize resource value, while minimizing environmental impact so that both our economy and our environment can thrive. Serving over 20 million residential, industrial, municipal and commercial customers, Waste Management posted $12.52 billion of revenues in 2010.

Drawing on our resources and experience, we actively pursue projects and initiatives that benefit the waste industry, the communities we serve and the environment.

• Waste Management uses waste to create enough energy to power more than 1 million homes every year. By 2020, we expect to double that output, creating enough energy to power more than 2 million homes.

• As North America’s largest recycler, Waste Management managed more than 7 million tons of recyclable commodities in 2009. By the year 2020, we expect to increase the amount of material we manage to more than 20 million tons per year.

• By the end of 2009, Waste Management had 119 landfill-gas-to-energy projects producing 540 megawatts of power, the equivalent of powering approximately 400,000 homes.

• At the end of 2009, we had more than 800 natural gas-powered trucks in our fleet, with plans to add 200 more in 2010. During the year, we also used technology to reduce the fuel burn of every truck in our fleet. When fully implemented, this is expected to save 9 million gallons of fuel per year.

• Our wholly owned subsidiary Wheelabrator Technologies owns or operates 16 waste-to-energy plants and five independent power production facilities in the U.S. that generate enough energy to power more than 900,000 homes.

• Through a joint venture with the Linde Group, we have built a plant that converts landfill gas into liquefied natural gas for use as fuel in our trucks. The facility is currently producing 13,000 gallons per day.

• At the end of 2009, we had a total of 73 WHC-certified sites. We also set a goal to have 25,000 acres dedicated solely to nature preservation by 2020, and we have nearly reached that goal: at year-end, we had 24,000 protected acres.