Recognizing Associations Creating a Positive Impact

Time lapse photography of water drop causing ripples with a colorful reflection

Skift Take

A closer look at the international associations that have received industry funding in recognition of the positive impact and social legacy created by their meetings

While serving water from a paper box, using cutlery made from bamboo or digitizing materials impacts the amount of event waste created, the overall challenge of reducing the carbon footprint of events remains.

Ultimately, associations can make a more significant impact by supporting organizations committed to sustainability and promoting social responsibility initiatives. After all, leaving a positive legacy should be top of mind for any meeting, particularly for mission-driven associations and nonprofits.

The Incredible Impacts Programme is a partnership between the Best Cities Global Alliance and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). It highlights the efforts of organizations striving to create a positive and tangible societal impact within the meetings industry across the globe.

“The biggest shift in the global meetings market over the last decade has been the mindset change from ‘part of tourism’ to ‘economic and societal impact,” said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath. “Incredible Impacts was designed to celebrate some of the best examples of projects that showcase the wider impact of these meetings, and more importantly, to encourage greater awareness and new projects.”

This year’s finalists include the Associated Country Women of The World, the British Society of Soil Science, and the European Cyclists Federation. The three finalists will present their submissions in Bangkok at the 2023 ICCA Congress in the final stage of the competition, hoping to clinch the $20,000 Incredible Impacts Grant.

Empowering Rural Women in Mongolia

Associated Country Women of The World (ACWW) successfully united 300 women, survivors of domestic violence from nomadic communities, at the Women’s Empowerment Summit hosted last August in Khovd, Mongolia. It provided them with often overlooked legislation representation while driving positive change throughout their association efforts.

With domestic violence reported as affecting a minimum of 50% of rural women in Mongolia, strengthening the independence and empowerment of indigenous and rural women in this region is critical. The Summit allowed participants from 16 ethnic groups, from 16 ‘sums’ (local communities), to come together, share their local and traditional knowledge, and establish the basis for future collective action.

Environmental Education

The British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) made the list of finalists following the 22nd World Congress of Soil Science, hosted in Glasgow, UK, in 2022. The congress raised the bar for environmental responsibility at international scientific congresses. A wide range of public-facing activities complemented the congress, including a residency at the Glasgow Science Centre, an exhibition and workshops aimed at local vulnerable communities. The BSSS engaged over 7,000 residents in soil education and conducted the first-ever environmental impact assessment of such an event.

Cycling Is Key to Sustainable Cities

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) aims to elevate cycling on the political agenda and promote it as a mode of transportation. The ECF’s goal over the course of its 40-year history has been to demonstrate how cycling can directly influence a more sustainable future while making a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.  

Leipzig, Germany, hosted the annual Velo-city conference in 2023. At the event, mayors from 16 cities signed a declaration to make cycling a fully-fledged mode of transport for all. The statement focuses on the need for devoted funding for promoting cycling and improving city cycling infrastructure. It also encourages the use of incentives to encourage cycling for trips and leisure. Also, public authorities should establish measures to distribute road space fairly, prioritizing cycling, walking, and public transit, to reduce the number and speed of motorized vehicles.

Grant Recipient

The International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) received the Impact Seed Fund Grant, a related $5,000 grant that supports associations in the early stages of formalizing their legacy initiatives. This rewards IPVS’s extraordinary commitment to advancing the impact of its association meetings in its mission of eliminating papillomavirus-related diseases, particularly cervical cancer.