When asked, “Why choose a sustainable venue for your event?” – it’s more difficult to think of a reason why not. However, this is still something that is not at (or near) the top of a list of priorities for some businesses.
The reason for this begins with not understanding the power and importance of events, or of face to face meeting. Events are a catalyst for change and when people come together, they collaborate, innovate and communicate on a deeper level than can be achieved over a video call or email, and transformations happen. For example, at COP 21 in Paris is 2015, history was made when a legally binding agreement was signed to keep global warming below 2°C. History was made because people came together and were inspired to make world altering decisions.
The Power of Events
Harnessing the power that events hold is something the industry should be taking responsibility for and using to their advantage. An event has the power to change audience perceptions whilst acting as a direct extension of the brand hosting it. There is the opportunity to utilise an event to communicate sustainable values, and spread awareness on sustainability which will only strengthen your brand image and bring marketing value. In particular, to those organisations who are communicating a strong sustainable ethos, it would be detrimental to host an unsustainable event.
For those many people who do understand the power of events, there needs to be more of a business case as to why it’s beneficial to hold a sustainable event and choose a sustainable venue.
Firstly, it is important to start with the aspect that is carefully considered in all corners of business – finance. It’s simple… in the long run, holding sustainable events saves money. If you are using more efficient lighting in a sustainable venue than you would use in a non-sustainable venue, it will cost you less in energy bills. This applies to many aspects of the event including food, water and waste. It really is common sense. Another important consideration is to identify areas where you currently waste money on or spend more than you’d like. A sure fire way to improve on something is to measure and monitor what you have in place. If you’re not aware of something, how can you improve it? This is a huge part of ISO 20121 (the global standard for sustainable event management system) and the Global Reporting Initiative, which is an international initiative to help organisations measure and report on the social, economic and environmental impact they have. Over time, you can analyse and improve on your results in order to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Brand Value and Competitive Edge
Next you have brand value. Adopting these frameworks would mean that your organisation is recognised on a global basis as sustainably responsible. ISO 20121 certification is recognised internationally and requires little translation. It can help an organisation win bids by differentiating them from competition and providing a more responsible and innovative solution. Sponsors are more inclined to support sustainable events as it links their brand name to sustainability, which again, adds value to them. Leadership is an important part of building a successful and competitive business and since sustainable credentials will soon be a requirement for all event businesses, why not create a legacy for your company and become a leader in sustainability in the events industry now?
If you had the option of working for an organisation that operates sustainably, or not, you would be more inspired, more considered and more engaged by being a part of the former. Stakeholder engagement is a huge part of ISO 20121 and sustainability in general. It is required that an organisation communicates and engages with staff and any other interested parties, considering their views. Retention of staff at a sustainable company is going to be higher and the employees are going to be more engaged and committed. We all like being a part of something which represents a bigger picture or working toward building a more positive world. Research supports this: a LinkedIn and Altimeter study showed that when employees feel inspired and empowered, they were 20% more likely to stay at a company. Losing and replacing a good employee costs companies between 70% and 200% of an employee’s annual salary. Enough said.
These reasons on top of improved risk management and of course, doing the right thing is a simple case for why you should choose sustainable venues and commit to creating sustainable events. There is an opportunity out there for event organisations to save money, retain staff, and become leaders and only the fear of something new is stopping them.
For more information visit positiveimpactevents.com
Positive Impact is a global not for profit which provides education and training to the event industry about event sustainability and the international standard for a sustainable event management system, ISO 20121. Our sister company, Sustainable Events Ltd is a bespoke consultancy that works with clients to guide them through the implementation of ISO 20121 within their organisation, whether they’re a supplier, a venue, or a planner.
Written by Emma Owens
Emma is the partnerships manager at Positive Impact and Sustainable Events ltd. Emma works alongside our global team of associates as well as our clients, coordinating the ISO 20121 implementation process and acts as the general liaison contact.