The global financial crisis and the ongoing economic uncertainty across Europe have brought into sharper relief the vital importance of sustainability for all businesses and the associations that support them. At stake is not just the long-term financial viability of a company or industry but, in its widest context, the very survival of the planet itself whose natural resources are under threat from a rapidly growing worldwide population with an ever greater appetite to consume and seek an enhanced standard of living.
How are European trade and professional associations facing up to these challenges and helping to shape a more sustainable future for themselves and their communities?
MCI Group invited 450 Brussels-based international association executives to participate in a survey to identify the leading challenges and opportunities looking ahead to 2011. Together with follow up interviews from some of the largest European-based associations, MCI developed a white paper designed to address some of the key outcomes from the study. Some of the associations who participated included: the ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association; Cefic – European Chemical Industry Council; EACA – European Association of Communications Agencies; ETNO – European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association; EUFORES – European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources; EU-OEA – European Ocean Energy Association; Eurometaux – European Association of Metals; EuropaBio – European Association for Bioindustries; Municipal Waste Europe; Orgalime – European Engineering Industries Association; PANGEA – Partners for Euro-African Green Energy; and UNESDA – Union of European Beverages Associations.
The White Paper covers input from associations representing professions and industry sectors from automotive and chemicals to communications, food and beverages, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, engineering, raw materials, renewable and traditional energies, telecoms and waste management. It provides a snapshot of the key issues that associations are having to address and MCI’s recommendations, based on these findings and 20 years of experience of working with diverse associations around the world.
A key theme is the need to ensure an association’s future relevance in Europe and the world through:
- Setting a sustainable framework (in ones business model and in how one contributes to business sustainability strategies that ensures your industry or profession’s value)
- Position your association as a thought leader (especially on emerging issues like sustainability)
- Demonstrate value and relevance to members in locally relevant ways
- Develop new initiatives and revenue streams
- Constantly innovate
- Extend your outreach through partnerships and alliances
- Communicate constantly to all key stakeholders
- Invest in future leaders (who can offer the right energy to meet above challenges)
To obtain a copy of this white paper, please contact Peter Turner at +1.571.275.1516 or email him at [email protected]