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Are events the secret to creating a world that works for everyone?

By Fiona Pelham

Are events the secret to creating a world that works for everyone?

By Fiona Pelham

"Events bring people together, and when people meet face to face that is the environment for collaboration, innovation, and knowledge exchange to create a world that works for everyone."

The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a roadmap to creating a world that works for everyone, and in September a commentary will be launched by global, not-for-profit Positive Impact to tell the story of the role of events in achieving those goals. As businesses around the world focus their strategies and product innovation around the SDG's, it is a timely moment for the event industry to think beyond logistics and start communicating their impact on addressing areas including food poverty, gender equality, and peace in society.

For event professionals involved in setting their future business strategy and understanding the needs of the customer of tomorrow the commentary offers interesting insight. If the Sustainable Development Goals are a roadmap for tomorrows product and service innovation, expect your client to assume their launch event, incentive event, conference or meetings will align with the framework that is influencing their business development. We may be passed the point where people ask for "a sustainable event" and entering the stage where this good business practice is expected.

What could this look like in practical terms for your event? One of the Sustainable Development Goals focused on within the commentary is Goal 2: Zero Hunger. In addition to sharing academic insight the commentary provides case studies (for example how AT&T Park uses a garden within their venue to grow food and educate fans on responsible food production), offers suggestions of the potential impact the event industry could have and provides practical steps governments, businesses and individuals could take to make this potential impact a reality. If the 6.9 million meetings attended annually in Denmark produce 121,301kg of food waste, it is easy to imagine that taking a new approach to food waste across our industry could make a difference in the journey to addressing global food poverty.

The commentary provides interesting insight and the UNWTO has described it as "providing tangible ways forward and raising key challenges"; however, it is not a piece of work which provides all the answers. For example, the commentary clearly states that the data available for impact assessments is limited and significant assumptions have been made. The commentary is a catalyst to the event industry to take the next step in filling these data gaps and share their thoughts, ideas, and challenges about how events can be used to meet the global Sustainable Development Goals.

Until November 1st, contributions can be made through the Positive Impact website, after which time a final report will be created and shared with the UNWTO at IBTM World. Since August 1st, event industry associations, universities, and key influencers have been engaged to encourage their communities to contribute their ideas with the intention that the final report tells the story of the unique power events have in creating a world that works for everyone.

To get involved visit us at Positive Impact Events.

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