ICC Sydney’s Geoff Donaghy on CSR and Legacy

Boardroom receives some insights from ICC Sydney CEO and Director Convention Centres, AEG Ogden, Geoff Donaghy, as ICC Sydney prepares for its busiest year ever after a successful run of events of all kinds and formats in 2018.

In what ways is CSR embedded in your business model? How do your clients relate to that?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is deeply embedded in ICC Sydney’s philosophy, culture and business model. We consider CSR as both an obligation and opportunity. As we are managing a major piece of city infrastructure that involves very significant amounts of public and private investment, the obligation is to manage the venue as successfully as possible and create the maximum economic impact. The opportunity on the other hand, is to create a new paradigm in the way that venues, like ICC Sydney, operate and to deliver the maximum community impact by ensuring the flow of benefits from events reaches a broad cross section of the community.

You just launched the 5th stream of your Legacy Program: Creative Industries. Can you tell us about it? 

The Creative Industries stream has been curated to complement the Legacy Program’s four core streams – Innovators & Entrepreneurs, Generation Next, First Australians and Sustainable Events and to drive long-term social, economic and environment outcomes, which are both meaningful and measurable.

The program will actively work to cultivate a lasting legacy from fostering support for Sydney’s emerging and established artists through cultural institutions and colleges to engaging new talent for event performances from Talent Development Project and connecting with festival programs including VIVID and Sydney Festival. From a design perspective, ICC Sydney has partnered with Dinosaur Designs, maker of bold and instantly recognisable Australian homewares, to create bespoke Sydney gifts and handmade award trophies in their signature style.

What has been the feedback on the Program from your clients’ altogether?

Our Legacy Program is still in its early stages, as is ICC Sydney as we have just entered our third year of operation.

The feedback we have received from clients about the program has been overwhelmingly positive and we are now starting to see the benefits of the discussions that have taken place well before the event delivery. As events often go through a three to five year planning process, it’s important to discuss the opportunities through program at the stages of the planning phase.

You successfully hosted  SIBOS last year: how did you help them make an impact/leave a legacy?

The multi-faceted Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program executed at Sibos was designed by ICC Sydney’s dedicated CSR team in partnership with event organisers, SWIFT. The program focussed on reducing the ecological footprint of Sibos at all stages of event delivery as well as support community engagement. This included organic waste and recycling processing initiatives, minimisation of plastic water bottle consumption, excess food donations and the establishment of the first ICC Sydney Charity Market Day. Here, event exhibitors collectively donated 150 items to seven local charity organisations to be repurposed for their communities, from astro turf to umbrellas and potted plants.

In a record result for an event of its size and scale, a waste diversion rate of 62.5% was achieved, including 88% of materials being diverted from landfill during the event bump out and 15,200 plastic water bottles being saved.

ICC Sydney’s partnership with OzHarvest and Mathew Talbot hostel resulted in 855 kilograms of food being saved across a one-week period, representing the equivalent of 2,564 meals being donated to community members in need and 1,120 tonnes of fertilizer being produced from organic waste matter.

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