I have recently taken a deep dive into Sustainability in Events. The UK events industry council states that “Sustainability for events means taking action towards preserving our natural environment; promoting a healthy, inclusive society; and supporting a thriving economy.”
While I am not a catastrophiser believing the world is going to end tomorrow, I do believe that human activity has contributed to some seriously negative and harmful practices. Our actions to become more conscious about how we live and work can only be positive for the environment, for the economy and for our communities.
The biggest lesson I have learnt in order to build event organisations that make real sustainable changes, is to overhaul the business internally with full leadership and stakeholder buy-in.
Start with your values and creating a sustainability policy with clear objectives and measurable targets. E.G. 100% Zero waste, by end of 2025, by decreasing waste by 25% annually, till 2025, at all events. From there, you can build action plans around how you are going to achieve this.
The second lesson is to use external resources, partners and collaborations to grow a sustainable community.
Small actions now, with a plan to increase your targets for long term change, is going to make a big difference for the future. There are so many organisations, such as “Julie’s Bicycle”, who have great resources to help you start this journey.
Finally, when looking to adopt sustainable activities make sure you do your research!
Before my deep dive, many blogs say go paperless! However PEFC certified paper is produced from sustainable forests so buying that would be a conscious and sustainable activity.
Furthermore, the event industry is adopting digital at huge speeds, but increased processing of data is only going to increase the usage of power.
There are some new green sustainable data processing organisations, so simply choosing to align with these companies would be an easy step.