Every year, the UK events industry uses (Hopes Solution report 2019):
- 380m litres of diesel
- Costing an estimated £230m
- Contributing to 1.2bn kg of CO2e
Its negative impacts are:
- Environmental: i.e. pollution from vehicle emissions, litter and waste materials going into landfill, greenhouse gasses from use of fuel and power
- Economic: i.e. price increases during events, real estate speculation
- Social: i.e. traffic, congestion, lack of access to community facilities and resources
Approaches to sustainability in the event industry have evolved in the last 2 decades from a desire to create a key differentiator to a need to monitor and report on progress. Sustainable policies and practices are being created against the recognised framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. A lot of large organisations have used the Covid period to launch large scale net zero targets. With the demanding action on climate change, sustainability will be important to events more than ever.
There is opportunity for looking at our event working practices and operations and think about the practicality of how we can do things better and be more responsible in our choices, supply chain, materials and waste management. This means in person events should be running again in a responsible way. It is about educating people about what a sustainable event can achieve.
For the industry to recover post pandemic, event professionals need to redesign the event model using principles from nature to become more inclusive and sustainable. Hybrid events are a start but won’t be sufficient. The live events’ parts need to include sustainable suppliers, reduce energy use and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, reduce materials consumption and waste generation, reduce water use and eliminate single-use plastic and increase the social benefits for all involved. We have to move to a circular economy, it’s an amazing business opportunity.
Responsible Events can help organisations and event companies include sustainability in their events strategy, planning and delivery process so that they can minimise potential negative impacts and influence change, and as such make savings, achieve a positive reputation and bring social benefits.