Updated: Jun 9, 2019
The way of the world is sustainability & the events industry must follow suit.
When we look at the events industry, its instantly obvious which areas need to be addressed, or is it?
One thing we do know is that it is not possible to instantly make an event 100% sustainable, so where to you start?
Recently we had the pleasure of meeting with Warren Campbell, the GM at 15 Hatfields, a leading sustainable events venue in central London, who explained to us the importance of sustainability & what steps needed to be taken.
‘Set bench marks, work out what you can & want to achieve & when by, you don’t need to do it all at once.’
So, what are the bench marks, & what does sustainability mean?
According to Wikipedia sustainability is the process of maintaining change in a balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations
We have learnt that it’s not just about the physical things when it comes to sustainability, it’s the actions that impact the environment that make a difference as well.
A guide produced by Public Health England, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health & the NHS Sustainable Development Unit sets out the areas, they feel, should be addressed & are a good starting point. Here is a brief look at what they say.
1. Choosing the venue – looking at whether there is the need to use a venue at all, when using a venue making sure they have a clear & committed environmental policy, choosing a venue with good public transport access to reduce the need for delegates to drive themselves & therefore reducing the carbon foot print produced by that event.
2. Arranging catering - Check the environmental policy for catering arrangements including, if applicable, the involvement of subcontractors and suppliers. Avoid providing unhealthy foods and drinks for example those that are high in fats, sugars and salts and plan to avoid unnecessary waste.
3. Reducing waste before, during & after an event – Before the event use websites and email to promote the event where possible & remember, if you provide giveaway items these should be sustainable as well. During the event adjust lighting, heating and air conditioning to maintain comfort and avoid energy wastage & after the event collect in re-usable name badges and any unused/unwanted items for re-use.
4. Analyse & improve - Analyse after the event what was successful in meeting sustainable event management objectives and what was not and use this information in planning future events.
So, in a nutshell: -
Recycling, reusing, reducing carbon foot print, products from sustainable sources, vegetable-based inks, using something more than once, no single use plastic, water refill stations, dealing with food wastage, having recycle waste, reduce waste & everything that reducing the long term impact on the world we live in.
You don't have to do it all at once, but you do need to make a start & work on making your events sustainable.