With news that the 2012 Olympics is trying to go green, it seems the tide is finally turning on sustainable events. Rory Sloan, Head of Production, delves into the big sustainability debate.
It’s interesting to see the events industry trying hard to overcome its anti-environmental reputation. Despite the economic climate, it would seem that being environmentally friendly is now even more popular than ever before, and the economic costs are no longer perceived as too ‘high’.
The clearest standards which have been set for industries pursuing sustainable environment have come from the Environmental Standards and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
In recent years, more and more firms have taken the environmental impact of shows and conferences into consideration and started to highlight the positive steps they are taking to address consumers’ concerns over sustainability. It has also appeared that event organisers are becoming more frequently bound by environmental standards dictated by venue owners and local councils such as the British Standard (BS 8901).
Although all live events are expected to achieve at least the minimum environmental requirement, event organisers should really be looking to venture far beyond this outlined level. Organisers should bear in mind that producing an environmentally sustainable event isn’t always about overtly beating the environmental drum. Many events are perfectly able to remain environmentally friendly without too much consideration, and it is only through management negligence that the true issues arise.
Every aspect of an event needs to be sustainable; from the venue and travel arrangements, through to the content of the delegate packs. Some of the UK’s newer venues (such as Excel London) lead the way, but for many others their age and processes are detrimental to the commitment to sustainable practice.
That said, brands must be careful not to be seen as jumping on the environmental band wagon. If one of the brand’s core values is maintaining an environmentally friendly ethos, then that needs to run throughout the entire business’s actions. Wise marketers will grasp this opportunity and keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible in eco friendly events.