How a Sustainability Focus Helped an Association Find Its Global Place
International trends make it harder to act provincially
A glance at the headlines these days makes it clear—if it hadn’t been already—just how much we’re connected globally. Many associations that often think of themselves as concerned only with activities in the U.S. have had to contend with global conflicts and international supply-chain issues that affect their members’ access to goods and services, as well as the prices they pay for them. And that, of course, comes on the heels of a still-not-over global pandemic.
A statement by Talley Management Group CEO Gregg H. Talley, FASAE, CAE, [on their website] spelled out the stakes at the current moment. Recent events, he wrote, "Are now coupled with the already top-of-mind areas of increased focus on climate change, sustainability, wellness and reduced corporate travel—all of which impact organizational and individual preferences on time management, cost, need and risk in crossing international boundaries and long-haul travel."
Given this ongoing transformation, I was interested in hearing about how a leading trade association in Colombia, ANDI, has been balancing an increased focus on sustainability with its goals around international outreach. According to ANDI President Bruce Mac Master, the association, which serves Colombian manufacturers across industries, has been paying attention to environmental issues since the 1990s. But in the past decade it’s sharpened its strategy around sustainability, with a dedicated committee focused on energy and mining. Those committees meet regularly to discuss legislation, regulations and establishing "common initiatives."
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