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Anna Ablenoor

For the industry, by the industry

Anna Abdelnoor, co-founder of isla, tells Louisa Daley how its network hopes to drive the events industry towards a sustainable future.

Louisa Daley: What is isla?

Anna Abdelnoor: isla is an independent body that was established to support the event industry’s transition to a sustainable future. Through our network of members, we facilitate knowledge sharing and provide practical guidance and support on environmental issues to help members navigate these key challenges. Our training, tools and reporting, up-skill the industry and track our progress so we can confidently and consistently deliver sustainable events.

LD: How many event businesses have signed up?

AA: isla was launched in September 2020, with 12 founding members including Amplify, Jack Morton and GPJ, and has since grown to over 85, with the collaboration between agencies, brands, suppliers, and organisers at the heart of our strategy. We engage the supply chain, drawing on expertise from across the sector to create a powerful network. Our membership is continuously evolving and, with the post-pandemic resurgence, we do not see this slowing as event businesses prioritise sustainability within business growth and recovery. We are for the industry, by the industry.

LD: What are your guiding principles?

AA: We believe through collaboration over competition, we can create the rapid change we need across the industry.  Sustainability should not be on one individual or business; the climate crisis is a global issue which means we need to tackle it as an industry. Our three core aims are to transition the industry to zero waste events and a circular economy, drive 100% renewable energy sources for events, with targeted carbon reductions aligned with global goals for a Net Zero society.

LD: What is the plan for the next one to five years?

AA: In the short term, we will be releasing TRACE, the event industry’s first real-time carbon impact reporting tool for B2B events. It is designed to capture the emission and waste data from live, hybrid and digital events. Through the membership base and event teams using TRACE, we will capture data at scale. In 2022, isla will use this to release the first carbon report on the industry. This will paint the full picture of our current environmental impact and set out the event sector’s shared sustainability ambitions towards 2030.

Over the next 18 months, we will develop additional technology tools that will enable event businesses to make further reductions, offset and create a positive impact across their event deliveries. We will also continue to evolve our thought leadership and education programme to create transformation, providing us with opportunities to deliver projects that focus on infrastructure improvements. Our ambition is to use this position to represent the industry at government level. We also plan to expand internationally, supporting even more event businesses as the global event sustainability body.

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