When Sponsorship Goes Green…
10th September, 2012
With the increasing prominence of environmental issues, event organisers can no longer neglect such concerns when planning for their respective event. This has led to ever more sophisticated green strategies, as well as a number of award shows, conferences and competitions dedicated solely to sustainability; the Tree-Athlon, the What Car? Green Awards and the International Green Awards to name a few.
In his latest blog post “Olympic Sponsorship: Remember the Positives”, Nick Anderson mentioned such “sponsorships [were] becoming dangerously close to having an adverse effect on certain brands”: McDonald’s and Coca Cola were both heavily criticised in the early stages of their Olympic sponsorship. Nevertheless their Recycling program is playing a big part in achieving LOCOG’s goal to hold the most sustainable Games ever. At the beginning of the Games, Coca Cola placed 4,000 branded recycling bins across the venues and the Olympic Park, committing to recycle every soft drink bottle that was put in the bins into a new one within six weeks. Furthermore all Coca‑Cola products currently sold at the Olympic and Paralympic Games are in 100 per cent recyclable PET packaging containing 25 per cent recycled plastic and 22.5 per cent plant-based plastic. Those are just two examples of many actions that Coca Cola took ahead of the Games to implement their sustainable strategy.
Another example of this development is the recyclable McDonald’s restaurant that was built on the Olympic site. With this initiative, McDonald’s aim at reusing 75% of the restaurant and recycling almost everything else by re-allocating all the furniture and equipment to McDonald’s UK restaurant estate after the Games.
But it is not just sports events that are concerned by this green movement. Music festivals and their sponsors are increasingly trying to integrate sustainability within their sponsorship strategies. According to a Havas Sports & Entertainment Research, 80 per cent of European festival goers strongly feel that sponsors need a green strategy. The Glastonbury Festival in the UK seems to have it right, through partnerships with WaterAid, Oxfam and Greenpeace as proofs of its environmental commitment. The 2012 Reading Festival, which took place two weeks ago, followed this trend as well by launching a Recycling Champion competition two months before the event. The Student Recycling Champion worked with Every Can Counts to help promote the recycling of drinks cans and he got a chance to get backstage access to this major music event.
A benchmark example in the US comes from the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago that dedicated a whole area within its site, called the Green Street, to showcase various environmental initiatives from different organisations and to engage festival goers. The Lollapalooza Festival included several charities and environmental groups in its sponsorship portfolio and gave them the chance to promote their environmental projects.
As the Havas Sports & Entertainment Research study proved, it is important to understand that “green sponsorship” is vital to every right owner and sponsor, no matter which age group they target. A decade ago sponsors with a green strategy were unique. Nowadays it has become a fundamental requirement of any sponsorship strategy. Thus whether you are a right owner or a sponsor, don’t miss out on the sustainability trend and seize the opportunity to make something unique out of it.