With today’s focus on environmental and social impact, there is an increased expectation for the business events industry to share results. Eventbrite has done just that, releasing its inaugural corporate responsibility report featuring some bright spots and opportunities to improve.
Eventbrite, a self-service ticketing platform for live experiences, has released its first-ever corporate social responsibility (CSR) report. The publicly listed company, which shed 8 percent of its workforce in March, used the report to highlight its efforts in addressing its carbon footprint and commitment to climate action, the diversity and inclusion of its workforce and users, a strong data security record, and its use of independent oversight at board level.
“Eventbrite has always been guided by principles that elevate sustainability, social connection, and good governance,” said Julia Hartz, co-founder and CEO. “I’m proud that we live these values and I hope this report offers a new lens into how we drive impact in the workplace and in our communities.”
Taking a Deeper Look
When reviewing an ESG report such as this, four key aspects to focus on are:
- Materiality: Are they reporting on what really matters for their industry?
- Methodology: How was the report prepared and verified?
- Continuous Improvement: Does the report show progress over time?
- Comparability: How does performance compare to the company’s competitors?
For an event organizer selecting a ticketing platform, key issues are data security, diversity, equity and inclusion, platform accessibility, and climate action. Eventbrite touches on most of these in its inaugural corporate responsibility report.
Data security is paramount when working with a service provider that handles attendee information. Eventbrite reports that it had no material breaches in 2022. They also reference controls, policies, and education.
Today, supply chain diversity is a must-have. Eventbrite’s senior leadership consists of a high percentage of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and women ‘Britelings’ (more details below). However, the report does not share information on all aspects of diversity, including people with disabilities and LGTBQ+ people. However, they note that 75 percent of creators (their name for event organizers) identify as female, trans, or non-binary.
Platform accessibility impacts an organizer’s reputation and attendance. As such, it needs to be a top priority for ticketing platforms. While the report references Eventbrite’s separate accessibility statement, the report would be enhanced by discussing how the company works to make the platform accessible for all.
Climate action is a critical topic for the business events sector. In 2022, Eventbrite achieved 100 percent carbon neutrality for its Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Its carbon neutralization portfolio includes carbon removal credits, carbon avoidance credits, and energy attribute certificates (EACs). However, a greater focus on reducing carbon emissions as a priority and taking a closer look at Scope 3 emissions would strengthen the report. Specifically, ways to minimize emissions identified in its Global Carbon Assessment Report and mitigating emissions from its purchase of goods and services and business travel would help.
The report was guided by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and key stakeholders alongside an independent consultant. As a future recommendation, Eventbrite should also consider reporting through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
With this being the first annual report, progress over time is difficult to assess. One area for improvement for next year is the Community Engagement Time Off (CETO) program. With 800 full-time employees, seeing them exceed the 200 volunteer hours through the program would be great.
According to a McKinsey report from February 2021, BIPOC representation in senior leadership at Eventbrite is high. The U.S. average ranges from 23 to 27 percent, depending on the role, while Eventbrite reports 38 percent. In addition, 55 percent of senior leaders identified as women, also higher than the 26 to 36 percent reported by LeanIn.org and McKinsey in 2022.
Pay equity is another important consideration. Eventbrite conducted a pay equity audit and found no systemic differences in pay. As a future focus, since they note that they support remote work, they may also want to expand in the areas of active recruitment of people with disabilities who may benefit from this arrangement. For reference, the technology company SAP offers an Autism at Work Program.