Telling the Story of the Power of Events Part 2

By Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact

Last month, we introduced Positive Impact’s white paper on how events can be used to achieve the United Nation’s sustainable development goals and what this means for the global events industry.

We highlighted the 10 opportunities for collaboration available for all event professionals, and over the next 2 months we want to deep dive into a couple of examples of what these opportunities can look like.

Opportunity 1: Create Sustainability Principles

In May 2018, the Event Industry Council gathered leaders in the sustainability community to discuss event standards and criteria and how adoption of practices globally could be encouraged. The output of the event included four guiding principles which should be the foundation for a sustainable event.

These principles align with ISO 2021 requirements, the international standard for event sustainability.

Event professionals can copy the text of the principles, rebrand with their own logo, share with their suppliers, internal colleagues or clients as evidence of their sustainability commitment.

  • Event organisers and suppliers share responsibility for implementing and communicating sustainable practices to their stakeholders
  • Basic environmental practices include: Conservation of resources, including water, energy and natural resources Waste management Carbon emissions reduction and management Supply chain management and responsible purchasing Biodiversity preservation
  • Basic social considerations include: Universal human rights Community impacts Labour practices Respect for culture Safety and security Health and well-being
  • Sustainable events support thriving economic practices through: Collaboration and partnerships Local support, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) stakeholder participation Equitable economic impact Transparency Responsible governance

Opportunity 2: Empower the Next Generation of Event Professionals

Students leaving university are passionate about being in action to create a world that is sustainable and are often lacking in practical skills which will enable them to be successful within a job interview. In 2019 Leeds Beckett University have started a voluntary programme so students have the opportunity to be learning business, planning, communication and teamwork skills at the same time as taking practical action to create a sustainable event industry. There is significant opportunity for other universities around the world to follow this lead and use sustainability as an access point for students to gain employment within the industry by having taken practical action in the area before starting their careers.

Example in Action:

“At the UK Centre for Events Management we are delighted to be partnering with Positive Impact to offer our students this unique opportunity. This partnership will strengthen students ’ experience in the events industry whilst inspiring and educating event leaders of the future to make a positive difference in the world. Coupled with their university experience, this internship enables students to apply their learning in the real world which is so valuable for securing employment.”

- Dr James Musgrave, Head of Subject, at the UK Centre for Events Management based within the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management at Leeds Beckett University.

In 2018 over 36 young people had an internship with Positive Impact, over 80% of whom gained employment (many at a level higher than they interviewed) based on the evidence they could share from their internship:

“Interning at Positive Impact was such a valuable experience, as the autonomy I was given has set me in good stead for my role developing policy within the Civil Service. Managing my own workload and objectives has proved essential within my job, and Positive Impact puts this at the heart of their intern experience. Equally, the ability to build professional relationships, within and outside of the team, has been incredibly beneficial. I'm grateful for the varied and challenging opportunities my time Positive Impact offered me, and look forward to continuing to develop these skills.’’

- Past Positive Impact Intern

Positive Impact Note:

A survey has just been launched which is connected to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Action Campaign Global Survey on the SDGs:

Please take 3 minutes to complete the survey, on the 1st September this survey data will be used as part of a commitment to act on the SDGs and shared with the SDG Summit event - make your voice heard!