Wow, where to begin? My first taste of the conference world has been an extraordinarily interesting one. Three days in a row of continuous sessions from 9am to 5:30pm. I apologize for not posting Thursday and Friday as promised, however I’ve been very busy.
The theme of day 2 of the WCC was “identity”. While it wasn’t explicitly stated, Thursday was meant to give Chamber executives a better idea of the people who make up their membership base. Sessions included “Global Mobility”, an explanation of the benefits of immigration, “Youth Entrepreneurship”, and “Metropolitan Cities”. Our very own Jacob Stuart, President of the Central Florida Partnership was a panelist on the latter of these sessions. He gave a wonderful address using best practice examples of chambers throughout the United States and their ability to work with their urban community stakeholders in order to ensure their local economies continue to prosper.
The Orlando travel team took a break from the sessions to hold a meeting with the Director of the World Chambers Federation (WCF), the Chair of the WCF, and the Secretary General of the ICC. This meeting was held in an effort to get a better idea of what exactly should be included in the bid packet for the 2019 WCC.
Pictured above is the majority of our team just before our meeting wearing the colors of Orlando City Soccer Club. (Left to right) The Mayor of the City of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, Executive Vice President of Orlando, Inc., Jose Fajardo, President of the Central Florida Partnership, Jacob Stuart, Chair of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Frank Kruppenbacher, Senior Director of Air Service Development and Marketing, Vicki Jaramillo, the Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Phil Brown, and yours truly.
Day 3’s theme was “vision”, or essentially what’s in store for chambers in the coming years. This was MY day, due to the fact that the majority of the sessions were based around climate change, sustainability, and what businesses and chambers should be doing in order to prepare for these things. The first session of the day was entitled, “Making a Sustainable Economy Happen: Joining Forces for Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals”. These goals, to be released in September, will outline a broad range of economic, social, environmental, energy and governance issues. The ICC has released a Business Charter for Sustainable Development that provides a basic development outline on how companies can set up, expand, or improve their sustainable strategy in accordance to the SDG’s.
The next session, “Business Leadership on Climate Change Adaptation: Managing Risks and Natural Resources” highlighted the need for adaptation to a changing climate. As was stated, “Adapting to a changing climate and natural resource availabilities adds costs, but lack of adaptation will cost far more”. A major theme was the use of data and technology to work smarter, not necessarily harder.
The final session I attended on the final day of the Congress was called, “How Chambers and Members can help Shape Climate Policy”. The two speakers were Andrea Bacher, Policy Manager for the ICC’s Commission on Environment and Energy, and our very own James Bacchus, the Chair of the ICC Commission on Trade and Investment Policy. This session implored the private sector to engage more effectively and through all possible channels, including chambers, to help draft and implement climate policies.
I’d love to go into more detail about each of these sessions but for the sake of both of our time, I’ll let you wait for the completion of my dissertation! Friday was truly an eye-opening day full of ideas on sustainability from all over the world.
The congress cumulated with a gala dinner at La Venaria Reale, or the Royal Palace of Venaria. This palace was built in 1675 as one of the Royal Houses of Savoy. After a walk around the grounds, we were treated to a full four course meal featuring local wines. An awesome reward after three days of hard work.
Thanks for reading!