An introduction to event greening: Part 2 of a 4 part series by the Event Greening Forum. Click here to read Part 1.
“The greenest event is the one that doesn’t happen,” says Greg McManus, Chairperson of the Event Greening Forum (EGF). As true as this is, the EGF is not advocating we stop hosting events.
Events offer many benefits, such as stimulating the economy, providing jobs and advancing the businesses that host them. The EGF actively wants the events industry to grow and flourish, and for these benefits to increase. Yet it’s important to consider all of the impacts that an event has, including to the host community and environment. (If you read part 1 of this series, you’ll recall that event greening is about seeking the best outcomes across all three pillars of greening: people, planet and prosperity.)
An event’s social and environmental impacts can be positive, such as creating upliftment opportunities and conserving the local biodiversity. Or they can be negative, for example relying on imported products and generating large volumes of unnecessary waste. As an event organiser, venue or supplier, you determine the type of impact an event will have.
As an event organiser, venue or supplier, you determine the type of impact an event will have.
The benefits of ‘going green’
‘Going green’ isn’t about sacrificing financial benefits for the social or environmental ones. Rather it is about considering them collectively – which often results in improvements across all three.
Practicing event greening also directly benefits your business in many ways:
Cost savings: Event greening is about managing your resources more responsibly. This involves: measuring what you use; monitoring the adjustments you make to your processes; and improving things so that you are more efficient and less wasteful. It also means more conservative procurement policies, such as questioning whether you really need something, or investing in items for the long-term. These adaptations can hugely improve your bottom line.
Positive PR: By communicating your event greening efforts to your clients, sponsors, attendees and the public, your brand will gain positive publicity. This in turn can attract more future business, as others want to associate with your brand. For example, did you know that 51% of millennials will pay more for a greener product? And that 90% of global consumers will switch brands to support one that is operating responsibly?
Attract talent: Following on from the above point, millennials care about the type of impact the business they work for has on the world. By operating in a sustainable and ethical way, you’ll be able to attract the best emerging talent to your company.
Resilience: We need to act sustainably because our planet has finite resources and certain limitations. Event greening adapts your business to this reality. In turn, this makes your company more resilient in a future where scarcity will drive up prices and limit availability. You’ll be a few steps ahead of those competitors stuck doing things the old way.
Greater creativity: Seeking more sustainable solutions challenges complacency and drives innovation. You’ll invent new ways of doing things, discover better products and services, and be able to offer your clients an improved experience.
Return on investment: The above points don’t address the many other benefits to planet and people that are a direct result of event greening. Helping others in these ways can have positive spin-offs for you, such as gaining strategic opportunities and greater influence in your community.