Events as a tool for positive impact and richer legacy

15 May 2024

The positive impact of business events on securing industry funding, enhancing community development, and policy creation was one of the topics arising on the second day of IMEX Frankfurt.

Discussions on the show floor, in education sessions and press conferences centered on how to achieve a greater, longer-lasting impact beyond the immediate effects of a single event.

Destinations and associations used the show to share a variety of new research findings. One example was Destination Canada who revealed results from its Legacy and Impact research study, designed to track the long-term benefits of business events hosted in Canada up to 2025. Virginie De Visscher, Executive Director, Business Events at Destination Canada, explained that one of the keys to successfully leveraging the legacy of any business event is government participation which the data shows can lead to policy change, higher public awareness or even direct government funding.

New event led to emerging sector being recognized

She cited the example of Insects to Feed the World conference held in Quebec to raise awareness of an emerging commercial sector: insects as a protein-rich food source for animals, humans and pets. As a direct result of the event, the Canadian ministry now recognizes insects as a livestock and insect producers secured both funding and new partnerships as well as a stronger new supply chain.

Genevieve LeClerc, CEO of Meet for Impact, says: “This case study exemplifies the impact every city would like to have. It created momentum for a new industry. This is legacy in action, and it’s legacy that keeps on giving.”

Paris – which topped the latest ICCA City Rankings announced at the show - helps event organizers to calculate the economic impact and the resulting legacy of their events. The city is also supporting its national business sectors, focusing strongly on six key industries: design and creativity; technology; health; culture; sport and gastronomy – all powerful levers for attracting conferences and professional events.

Attendees also learned that a growing number of global companies are reinventing business impact by pursuing purpose over profit. At one of the show’s education sessions, B better: Exclusive Collection's impact as a socially conscious business, Danny Pecorelli, Managing Director of Exclusive Collection, discussed his company's journey to become the UK’s first B Corp accredited hotel company. “It's not bad to make a profit, it’s how you make a profit that counts. It’s not just about what you do, but also the impact you're making in terms of who you work with. We ensure we do our due diligence across the supply chain,” he said.

Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council, reminded the audience at the launch of EIC’s new Future Landscapes Survey that if the global events industry were a country, it would be the 13th most powerful by economic impact (GDP). She said, “As an industry we’ve tended to be reactive in the past. Now it’s time to work more closely together, to be more informed and proactive and to lead with a higher purpose. This is why the Future Landscapes Survey is so important.”

  • Photo: Paris at IMEX Frankfurt. Download image here

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