Sustainability in action
Kate Bullard and Michelle Rees, directors, Eventprofslive, outline how they incorporated sustainability into their FAM trip.
Sustainability has become trendy – the buzz words surrounding it and its connotations. So much has been written about the topic that it can be hard to digest and think about what sustainability means individually and how it fits into the events industry.
We know that we are at a critical point for our planet and need to take urgent action to shift course – future generations depend on it. The crucial question is, what can we do as event professionals to contribute toward this necessary change? As event professionals within corporate organisations, it is crucial to think about sustainability from the outset of the event to be at the forefront of all decisions and not a last-minute add-on.
This could include identifying a venue with a strong sustainability offering when doing the initial venue find. It could include instructing all your suppliers involved in the event to ensure that sustainable options are provided across all F&B. It could also mean considering different channels to deliver your content (i.e. limiting hardcopy resources offered on the day).
When planning an event, emphasising sustainability could also mean thinking about how attendees will travel to the event and choosing the method most aligned to your company’s ESG principles.
Play your part
We all have a part to play individually and within our organisations. For those of us lucky enough to have influence, we need to use that to influence to spark change. We work to do this at Eventprofslive, and for our April FAM, we wanted to incorporate a sustainability focus which we did by:
1. Partnering with a venue that is a leader in this area. We worked with Wyboston Lakes, which has three accreditations
for its sustainability efforts.
2. We offset our carbon footprint from attending the event by planting trees within the grounds at Wyboston Lakes – a unique networking break format as well.
3. We worked with a local charity and O3E to give back to the local community by building bikes, which is great for team-building.
4. All takeaways provided for our attendees at the FAM were made from recycled materials which could be re-planted to grow wildflowers.
Apply your learnings
This FAM opened all our eyes to how we can incorporate elements into every event we manage to make them more sustainable. While on the FAM, we also brainstormed ideas to understand how we are making our events more sustainable individually. We had some great ideas, some of which included:
1. More plastic-free alternatives at events.
2. Going paperless, sending materials electronically or using QR codes.
3. Working with your caterer to ensure the F&B is locally sourced, wastage is limited, with meat-free options etc.
4. Partnering with a venue that has its own sustainable measurements in place.
We have a long way to go, but we are making progress together by having these conversations and putting these actions in place.