If there was ever a time for silver linings, it’s that there have been some positive environmental changes during this year. The lockdowns and a lack of tourists have, as researchers found, made beaches in Mexico, Spain, and Ecuador “cleaner” resulting in “crystal clear waters”. Also noteworthy is the dramatic drop in air pollution in Europe in comparison to March 2019 and March this year. It’s no surprise that sustainability and climate change are on the backburner of everyone’s priorities, but it’s important to continue making positive changes.
Sustainability in conferencing looks at more than just the use of plastics. The International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) is a community of companies to create exceptional meeting venues and experiences. Notably, their Green Star Certification encompasses a wide range of standards and guidelines to ensure venues are sustainable. The “Code of Sustainability” looks at over 60 areas that a venue adheres to for sustainable certification. Making green changes in a venue don’t have to be a huge overhaul of everything, but simple swaps and changes to make a difference:
- Replace bottled plastics with refillable glass bottles
- Source products that use little or no packaging
- Avoid single use plastic cutlery, or choose recyclable products
- Use whiteboards instead of flipchart paper for collaborating projects
- Invest in crockery that can be used and washed instead of plastic
- Look into food donation to manage food waste
What makes sustainability an important aspect of event management is through the ever increasing importance placed on sustainable practices. We’ve seen the changes over the years in everyday ways: reusable coffee cups, green bags replacing plastic, and emails over letters. Our choices and evolution show that in the US alone, 58% of people consider a company’s environmental footprint when choosing companies to buy from. Sustainable living goes hand in hand with environmental, social, and economic benefits:
- Environmental: reducing venue carbon footprint, improving air and water quality of the property and surrounds
- Social: improving reputation in the industry, improving quality of life for future generations
- Economic: cost savings in energy/water/supplies, opportunities to collaborate with other innovative companies
Whether it’s replacing your single use items for meals or looking at how to reduce carbon emissions the changes you make today, no matter how insignificant, are necessary for the future.
Written by: Jessica Hausheer