What is Sustainable Event Management?

What is Sustainable Event Management?

5 min read
Practical Event Greening Solutions
Sustainable event management is gaining traction in Australia and around the world. It’s a collective push to minimise the environmental impact of events: from small local ones to mega-sized productions like the Olympic Games.

Index

Sustainable event management is gaining traction as a collective push to minimise the environmental impact of events. Click To Tweet

The Problem with Global Warming

Science tells us that Earth has undergone major changes as a direct result of human activity. Climate change is the most apparent issue, and threatens to play havoc with quality of life both now and in the future.


Global Warming

Even small temperature rises can have massive repercussions:


Flooding, drought, extreme summer heat
Extreme weather events
Damage to ecosystems
Threat to water resources and food supply
Sharp increase in economic costs
More air pollution
Increased incidence of disease


Science tells us that Earth has undergone major changes as a direct result of human activity. #EventProfs are doing their bit. Click To Tweet

Event Managers Have the Power

Being at the coalface of event design and production, Event Managers have the power to make a difference. It starts with understanding the overall concept of sustainable events, and then learning what you can do to minimise the carbon footprint of every event you create.

Urgent Action is the Solution

Fortunately, consumers, businesses, community organisations and governments around the world are taking action with policy and systems development. We’re happy to report that the Events Management industry is very much on board.

Sustainable Event Management

In 2012, the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) published the ISO 20121 standard for Event Sustainability Management Systems. It provides guidelines and accreditation for all types and sizes of events, and applies to all industry suppliers:

Organisers
Event Managers
Exhibition Stand Builders
Venues
Caterers
Logistics

ISO 20121 aims to reduce harmful economic, social and environmental impacts of staging an event, through mindful planning and processes. The London 2012 Olympic Games were used a test case in the development of the guidelines, which were created by global events industry leaders.

The ISO 20121 encourages event management organisations to establish sustainable systems and processes, and these need to be led from above by top management.

The ISO 20121 encourages event management organisations to establish sustainable systems and processes. Click To Tweet

What You Can Do

“From little things big things grow.”

All this talk of ISO 20121 accreditation may sound a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry, even dipping your toe into eco-friendliness makes a difference.

With each event comes more knowledge and experience, and you’ll no doubt inspire the people around you – colleagues, bosses and suppliers – to take action.

For Sydney Events

The NSW Local Government has published a practical checklist for staging sustainable events, and it’s a great way to get started. Their key recommendations are summarised below.

For State-specific Guidelines on Sustainable Events

Check your Local Council or State Government websites, such as Brisbane City Council and Melbourne Event Planning Guide.

For International Events Guidelines

The Sustainable Event Alliance offers great resources.


14 Practical Ideas for Sustainable Events

  1. Use green energy to power events
  2. Choose venues that have environmental policies and practices
  3. Opt for venues that are walking distance from guest accommodation, or have public transport options
  4. Arrange carpooling for staff and delegates
  5. Make carbon offsets available for purchase to offset any travel required
  6. Use webinars or other teleconference/videoconference methods to minimise travel
  7. Turn off lights not in use at venue
  8. Seek out venues with natural air flow and lighting to reduce the need for air con
  9. Try to reduce, reuse or recycle
  10. Use tap water in jugs and glasses, instead of bottled water
  11. Use washable, reusable plates
  12. Provide clearly marked bins for separated disposal (general waste/recycling)
  13. Double sided printing should be set as default on printers
  14. Use recycled paper eg for event notebooks

Get Inspired: Sustainable Events in Action

Munich’s Oktoberfest, the London Olympic Games and Sydney Festival demonstrate event sustainability in action. Check them out for more inspiration to make your own events kinder to the environment.

Spread the Word

Even if you are just starting to think about how to stage more sustainable events, it’s important to ‘spread the word’ about the work you’re doing. Be a good corporate citizen and share your initiatives with clients, guests, suppliers, industry partners, colleagues and management. People will appreciate your efforts to reduce the carbon footprint.

With each event comes more knowledge and experience, and you’ll no doubt inspire those around you to start taking action too.


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About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

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