Telling the Story of the Power of Events Part 1

By Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact

What is a Sustainable Event Industry?

Imagine a future where the event industry is known to be sustainable, where event professionals are constantly learning, taking time to strategically identify their own sustainability challenges, creatively addressing them and telling the story of the impact their event has?

In practice, this could include:

  • Each part of the supply chain considering their unique social, economic and environmental impacts (positive and negative)
  • Making decisions based on having the least negative impact
  • Monitoring and measuring the impacts of those decisions
  • Sharing best practice learnings from those decisions across the industry

One of the most commonly asked questions by event professionals is: 'What is the checklist to follow to be sustainable?' The reality is that no one checklist can address sustainability because every event is different and removing the process where people learn to identify and consider their sustainability impacts would reduce the strategic value our industry can have. Being sustainable offers a shift from the event industry being perceived as one which is providing a service in terms of a room, chairs and AV to the event industry being perceived as a strategic component to achieving solutions to the world’ s challenges.

What is the Business Case for a Sustainable Event Industry?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a roadmap to a world that works for everyone. To meet the UN SDGs people will need to come together to create, collaborate and innovate. This is the service the event industry provides.

  1. Every event leaves a legacy of furthering UN SDGs
  2. UN understands the role of events in achieving UN SDGs
  3. Global businesses increase the number if events as they understand this is a way to demonstrate positive social impact
  4. Global governments understand the role of events
  5. The profile of events increase globally

Why is Sustainability a Threat for the Events Industry?

The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report references how videoconferencing could be used as a path to addressing global warming. An increase in VR technology and security threats at events could reduce the desire to attend face to face events. Hence, if the industry is to continue and the benefits of face to face events are still to be valued then this path must be avoided:

  1. Data communicated about the negative environmental impact of events
  2. Global businesses remove events from their business behaviour to address negative environmental impacts
  3. Global governments mandate regulations to address negative environmental impacts of events

Collaborate for Good

Positive Impact explores 10 opportunities for collaboration accessible to all event professionals across business, sport and cultural events. These collaboration opportunities will enable increased action to be taken towards the creation of a sustainable event industry.

  1. Create Sustainability Principles
  2. Tell The Story of The Event Industry to the United Nations
  3. Address Plastic Waste
  4. Identify Key Environmental Impacts
  5. Empower the Next Generation of Event Professionals
  6. Track Impact from Action
  7. Create and Share Educational Materials
  8. Measure Your Sustainability Issues
  9. Share Best Practice Learnings
  10. Engage your Interested Parties

Over the coming months, we will be exploring each of these opportunities in more detail with Positive Impact, get ready for some great content!