Sophie Morris speaking at Sponsor Live

Sophie Morris, Director of Millharbour Marketing (now Sponsor View) gave an opening presentation at SponsorLive – The European Sponsorship Association Summit on sponsorship trends and the latest ESA research into sustainability in sponsorship.

As part of ESA’s ongoing research, members throughout Europe were asked about their views on and commitment to sustainability. 96% of sponsors said it was important or very important that the company they are in talks with (rights holders/agencies) has a sustainability policy in place. The majority of those (64%) said it was very important, that’s double the amount of rights holders saying the same and almost three times higher than agencies.

75% of brands already have multiple sustainability policies underway, more planned and a culture of sustainability. Only 21% of rights holders and 14% of agencies have embraced sustainability to the same extent as brands.

Instead, the majority of rights holders (41%) said they had several sustainability initiatives implemented but with plans to do more. And, the majority of agencies (31%) said they had some sustainability initiatives implemented but it is unclear as to whether they have added value to the organisation.

Importantly, 76% of all respondents said that sustainability policies will become a more important factor in choosing who to work with in the future.

So, with sponsors’ demands for sustainability credentials dramatically outstripping rights holder and agency performance, this is clearly an area that those currently lagging behind need to be more active in and give greater priority to.

SponsorLive, the annual conference now in its 6th year, is Europe’s premier sponsorship conference. Based in Brussels, it hosts international speakers from major brands and rights holders, and in-depth case studies of the winners of ESA’s Best of Europe Awards.

We spoke more about sustainability in sponsorship in ‘Inside The Future of Sponsorship’ podcast, when asked about the biggest challenge facing the sponsorship industry in the next 5-10 years.