Innovative Legacy Program
More and more we realize in our industry that business events have far deeper implications than the financial advantages incoming delegates leave in the host city, having a sway also on the local environment and community. Through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, ICC Sydney is set on amplifying social and environmental values for local communities with certified sustainable events and investment in the local ingenuity.
An Australian first, the Legacy Program is designed to inspire conference organizers as to how they can make a contribution to their host city and beyond, forge new partnerships with local organizations all while advancing their sustainability goals. Five streams – First Australians, Creative Industries, Innovators and Entrepreneurs, Generation Next and Sustainable Events – guide associations and event planners towards the best fit for their organization.
First Australians take centre stage
A closer look at Sydney’s population shows the high diversity of nationalities that exist in the city; the same level of diversity in gender, culture, age and nationality appears among the employees of ICC Sydney. It is clear that both the city and the Centre have an increased focus on culture inclusion, applied on business events through the first stream of the Legacy Program, First Australians.
In the spirit of acknowledgement and respect to Australia’s First Nations people, ICC Sydney became the first convention Centre in Australia to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in November 2018. Setting a bright example for all Australian cities, this initiative heightens the groundwork the Centre has already laid when it comes to celebrating the cultures, practices and traditions of Australia’s indigenous people within the venue – including the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the custodians of the land on which ICC Sydney is located and operates.
Geoff Donaghy, CEO of ICC Sydney, explains the sense of obligation that drove the creation of this initiative: “At ICC Sydney we recognize that Australia is a land with a proud indigenous heritage. We developed the First Australians stream within our Legacy Program because we firmly believe that we have an obligation to celebrate and showcase the cultures of Australia’s First Nations and facilitate meaningful connections that help visitors to leave a positive legacy long after their event has finished.”
Opportunities beyond events
The idea has been widely welcomed by all parties involved. Through the Centre’s key partnerships with the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, the KARI Foundation and Supply Nation, conference programs can benefit from local First Nations businesses and communities as delegates experience and recognize the uniqueness of the country and utilize local resources. Meanwhile, the RAP initiative, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, increases employment opportunities and ensures a culturally safe place to work and visit.
“We are very pleased with the positive response that the First Australians stream of our Legacy Program has received, evidenced by the number of clients who have chosen to take up some, or many, of the opportunities it provides. This includes many choosing to incorporate an authentic First Nations experience into their event – such as a Welcome to Country by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council or an Acknowledgement of Country performed by the First Nations dance group KARI – while others have taken the opportunity to forge connections with First Nations businesses, which supports employment and economic development, and celebrates our diverse cultures in an innovative and purposeful way,” says Mr Donaghy.
More than a campaign, an experience
Along the same lines runs ICC Sydney’s current campaign, More Than a Venue, designed to showcase the unexpected, undiscovered and unique ways in which event planners and delegates receive more than an advanced facility. Large format masterpieces by famous Australian painters are displayed in the gallery-like spaces outside each level of the convention theatres welcoming visitors. Completing the full immersion into the local ways, the Centre’s Feeding Your Performance culinary philosophy promotes the region’s heritage with menus created with fresh local produce.
ICC Sydney’s CEO and his team are firm believers in the social power of business events: “With more than a million people coming through ICC Sydney’s doors every year, alongside our partnerships, we are in a unique position to facilitate and promote connections between visitors and the local community. This is because we believe that beyond events themselves lies the potential for powerful legacies to be crafted that positively impact delegates, clients, host cities and local communities.”