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A bridge of sighs

By Simon Maier

Sighing, I read that in a few years’ time, agencies and their clients will more effectively communicate their sustainability strategies. Who knew? Event brands and enterprises will, the piece said, become better at storytelling and, consequently, we will see a rise in sustainability reports. Oh dear. 

We do get hammered with reiterations of the same old guff about sustainability, but few agencies actually put any declared practices into practice. The usual culprit excuses exist, none of which are reasons.

The same applies to agency understanding of compliance and ethics. But, examples such as, say, FIFA or Cambridge Analytica don’t help. Yes, there is a global demand for increased transparency. Yes, associations like IAPCO pledge to rid industry of single-use plastic by 2050. But what does that actually mean? 

There is more legislation in anti-corruption and compliance programmes. However, it’s all so mind-achingly slow and much of agency behaviour is not in keeping with them.

Client procurement departments, the hell on earth for some agencies, usually have people who do a tough job. If these departments police activity once a project has been won as much as they do during the process of an agency winning it, then things will alter for the better.  

All agencies should be obliged to reach and maintain certain standards in a variety of areas, not only the ISO collection, which is not really an indication of much. 

Agencies and clients should insist on measurable standards. And, with government, create them. 

Integrating sustainable principles into initial event design concepts should be the norm, ensuring that event structures are made from materials that can be easily and cheaply reused, recycled or repurposed. 

Will agencies or their clients take any notice? The bridge between possibilities and realities isn’t robust. And, negativity reigns (for a moment) and hence the sigh.