ILO hosts first-ever virtual exhibition on sustainable enterprises

In an online event organized with the ITCILO, ENTERPRISES staff engaged with colleagues from their virtual booths, sharing materials, chatting and networking.

News | 07 April 2021
‚ÄčIt was like the real thing: In a virtual exhibition hall set up for the Enterprises Global Technical Team Meeting in late February, over 400 ILO staff had the chance to wander around exploring over 20 virtual booths in the first-ever event of this type, organized with the Turin Training Centre (ITCILO).

The virtual exhibition space and booths allowed visitors to watch, read, and download resources related to a project or approach. Live webinars, Q&A sessions, and engaging chats connected individuals on topics such as supporting enterprises in the ecological transition, productivity and working conditions, and many more.

The virtual exhibition aimed to exhibit ILO good practice in the promotion of sustainable enterprises. Project leaders, sustainability experts, and business creators showcased their success stories and innovative business solutions with a global crowd. Special focus was laid on how ILO assists these businesses in building resilience against the economic and social impact of COVID-19.

“It was a really motivating experience! A great opportunity to connect with colleagues near and far, learn what is going on in other teams and collaborate in a way that we haven’t had a chance to do for some time. The discussions were very engaging and fruitful and I hope there will be more events like this in the future involving an even greater number of global colleagues", said Norma Potter, Communications Officer in the department, who set up the booth on Productivity & Working Conditions.

We’ve got to appreciate that the world is optimizing digitalization and technology. But we have to keep the human element using innovation to our advantage."

Victor van Vuuren, ILO Enterprises Department Director

A fully virtual Global Technical Team meeting

Deputy Director-General Martha Newton
In the opening plenary session, over 200 staff followed the conversation from their virtual seats as Deputy Director-General for Policy Martha Newton inaugurated the event with a call to action: “The future success of the ILO will be defined by how we combine digital advances to support the well-being of people.”

The exhibition was part of the Enterprises Global Technical Team (GTT) Meeting, which was originally scheduled to take place in 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to 2021, but the need to review the format was still there.

The central question was: how might we ignite discussions and create the same dynamics of a global knowledge-sharing event while at a distance? In partnership with the Enterprises Department, the Turin Centre found an innovative solution: a virtual ecosystem with live engagement opportunities for visitors.

This is innovation in motion."

Andreas Klemmer, ITCILO Training Director

This virtual event format not only reduced the carbon footprint of visitors needing to travel but also allowed for greater inclusion, as the event was able to reach a global audience more than any traditional format.

Visitors departed the exhibition with increased knowledge on sustainable business practices, new connections from across the ILO, and an inspired common purpose to promote decent work in all enterprises. Seizing the opportunity to host the GTT Meeting in a new, interactive format paved the way to rethink how digital events can become portals of inclusive peer-to-peer learning and exchange in the future.