When Sibos — the annual event organised by financial messaging services provider SWIFT — took over ICC Sydney in 2018, the main objective was to help SWIFT achieve its goals. Sibos 2018 attracted senior decision-makers from the banking sector, garnering an attendance of more than 7,600 delegates from 158 countries, including the largest representation of Asian financial institutions in the event’s history.
The conference, where Sibos celebrated its 40th anniversary, was a major win for Sydney. “Technology has been described as the largest industry on the planet, and in financial services, Australia has proven its capability to produce unique solutions with global application,” says Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of BESydney. “We see global meetings like Sibos as the ideal platform to showcase that talent to the world and to spark new collaborations. Sibos was a great win for us, and a great win for Australia.”
During the four-day conference, delegates experienced a dynamic program, which included a trade show with 180 exhibitors, custom-built stands, interactive zones, and live activations. Both the convention and exhibition centres were exclusively activated for the duration of the event, while an additional 75 private meetings ran concurrently to the official program in a range of ICC Sydney’s flexible spaces.
ICC Sydney, together with the event organizers, also had to get creative to make use of everything the facility could offer. Pop-up and multipurpose locations were created for delegates to enjoy in between sessions, taking full advantage of the venue’s waterside location and natural light. One highlight included the transformation of the 5,000-square-metre, open-air Event Deck into a connected garden sanctuary — the ultimate place to rest and reflect on sessions led by top industry experts or take an early morning tai chi class.
With corporate social responsibility (CSR) deeply embedded in ICC Sydney’s culture and business model, the aim was to make sure the venue created the maximum economic — as well as community — impact.
Chantal Van Es, head of Sibos, says: “ICC Sydney helped us every step of the way, from the very moment it was announced Sibos 2018 would take place in the city. We worked closely with ICC Sydney’s CSR team to develop multi-faceted initiatives that helped us meet our ambitious social, environmental, and economic goals, focusing on everything from recycling to community engagement.”
Echoing Van Es’ comment, ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy explains: “The program focused on reducing the ecological footprint of Sibos at all stages of event delivery, as well as supporting community engagement. This included organic waste and recycling processing initiatives, minimization of plastic water bottle consumption, excess-food donations, and the establishment of the first ICC Sydney Charity Market Day. Here, event exhibitors collectively donated 150 items to seven local charity organizations to be repurposed for their communities, from artificial turf to umbrellas and potted plants.”
In a record result for an event of its size and scale, a waste diversion rate of 62.5 percent was achieved, including 88 percent of materials being diverted from landfills during the event bump out and the reduction of 15,200 plastic water bottles. ICC Sydney’s partnership with OzHarvest and Matthew Talbot Hostel also helped save 855 kilograms of food, equivalent to 2,564 meals that were donated to community members and helped create 1,120 tons of fertilizer produced from organic waste matter.
“We’re committed to reducing the event’s environmental footprint and contributing positively to the local communities who welcome us so warmly each year,” Van Es adds. In that regard, the opportunity for ICC Sydney was to create a new paradigm in the way that venues like it operate and to deliver the maximum community impact by ensuring the flow of benefits from events reaches a broad cross section of the community.
This article was contributed by Boardroom and edited for use in Communique.