With Festival Season now in full swing, those within the festival industry will hopefully have considered their effect on the Environment, Community and Economy when organising their events.
Event Insurance Services has conducted some research on how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can help festival organisers and business owners in general to tackle these issues and take responsibility for their actions. We have summarised some of the key findings from their research which reveals some fascinating insights.
Corporate Social Responsibility
So what is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Event Insurance Services defines it as “An initiative or strategy a company adopts in order to assess and positively improve their effect on the environment and social wellbeing of the wider community”. These strategies are completely voluntary and unregulated, meaning that the festival/organisation implementing these strategies is going above and beyond what is required of them in order to ‘own up to’ their social responsibilities.
There are guidelines for implementing CSR within any organisation, known as the ‘ISO 26000’ which have been issued by the International Organisation for Standardisation. These guidelines offer advice and instruction on what should be included in a CSR strategy and how it can be done. There is, however, no certification offered for organisations using these guidelines or implementing strategies.
How Festivals And Shows Use CSR
By conducting a survey and speaking to several festival organisers, Event Insurance Services found that 66% of festival organisers say CSR is of high priority to their festival. This highlights the relevance of CSR within this industry and when asked what the main benefit of CSR was, 86% of respondents claimed that improved relationships with the community was the most beneficial result they saw from their activities.
Involving the community within CSR activities is particularly important for festivals and shows as their success is so reliant on the cooperation of the local community and their impression on the wider community. Event Insurance Services spoke to the organiser of a local festival who said, “We involve the community in as many activities as possible. We give generously to charity and provide free sessions for young people to get involved in sport for free. We also celebrate with a family fun day at the end of the sessions where we support local businesses through trade and by inviting them to attend”. This type of activity gets the local community on board and can be promoted to the wider community which makes for great public relations.
Reducing environmental impact should be at the top of any festivals list, but when a festival goes above and beyond what is required of them, they tend to stand out against the competition. Event Insurance Services spoke to the organiser of ‘Farmfestival’ who said that they are “Increasing levels of recycling and trying to use local contractors to cut transport costs and environmental impacts”. This kind of activity is echoed across the industry, with big name festivals such as Glastonbury reportedly recycling around half of all waste at the 2014 festival (around 983 tonnes) and reducing road deliveries by working with local businesses.
Economic responsibilities are also very important to consider from several angles. Firstly, from an internal angle, a festival needs to ensure its economic stability so that it can pay all staff and entertainment fairly whilst generating enough profit to expand upon the festival year after year. Secondly, from an external standpoint, festivals generate a lot of revenue, with the Association of Independent Festivals reporting £1 billion being added to the UK economy by festivals between 2010 and 2014. Festivals therefore have a responsibility to spend appropriately, give back to worthy causes and encouraging spending within local communities.
How CSR Effects Your Bottom Line
Although CSR activities are not specifically implemented for the purpose of increasing profits, they can do just that, with 83% of festival organisers telling Event Insurance Services that CSR activities do have a positive effect on their bottom line. There are many ways in which CSR activities can have a positive effect on your bottom line, for example, these activities enhance your reputation and differentiate you from competitors, therefore increasing your following. CSR activities can also attract highly qualified staff and popular acts to your festival and allow you to charge a premium to your environmentally and socially conscious audience.
Top Tips For CSR
Now that you know what CSR is and how festivals are currently using it to enhance their reputation, build upon their existing audience and improve relationships with the community and other businesses, we have a few ‘top tips’ for implementing CSR strategies which apply to any industry:
- Assign a budget to your CSR activities
Most CSR activities will cost money. Try to have an idea of what your objectives are and set a budget for those activities in order to reach your objectives.
- Align your CSR strategy with your company values
Always have your company values in mind when planning your CSR activities. These can help guide you to the right type of activity for your company.
- Choose a key area to focus on
CSR is quite a broad topic, so decide on the key area you want to focus on and dedicate the majority of your time to achieving goals and specific tasks within that area.
- Encourage involvement from your staff
For CSR to be fully effective, you need your team to be on board. Try educating them on the reasons for implementing CSR activities and get them actively involved where possible.
- Promote your CSR activities
In order to receive the full benefits on your CSR activities, you should promote them through various media channels to ensure your efforts are recognised and appreciated.