Insights & Takeaways from the 2016 Sustainable Events Summit

We weren’t able to attend the Sustainable Events Summit (SES) in London, UK, this year, however we did make a point of following along as best as we could via Twitter. There wasn’t a whole lot shared online but we did manage to find a few key takeaways that we’d like to share with you below. We also take a look at the venue where it was held and the organizers who put it all together.

The Takeaways:

Naturally there was some excitement to start the day:



The (Untapped) Storytelling Power of Events

The first panel, entitled “How can we encourage event professionals to tell their sustainability stories?” revealed some interesting insights.



For instance, a live poll of the audience during the panel revealed that “media [is] creating pressure for brands to demonstrate [their] sustainability [credibility],” more than other sources:



Interestingly enough, it was then shown that only 18% of events publicly share their sustainability reports:



We agree! In our opinion, only with greater transparency across the event sustainability sector can we learn and progress with the urgency that we need to on this issue. We have to be open with each other about our successes and failures!


Creativity + Sustainable Events

Later in the day was panel regarding the place of creativity in sustainable event planning.



There wasn’t much shared about this panel via Twitter, however based on our experience, sustainability can be a boost for creativity. It’s such a deep and rich topic, and inspires so many people to action.


SES 2016 Research Project

At midday, the findings from the 2016 Sustainable Events Summit Research Report were released:


The research comprised in-depth interviews with 6 corporates and an online questionnaire completed by over 100 corporate planners. It is a snapshot on the state of sustainability in the global event industry.

Here is a snapshot of the report:

  • 61% of respondents think the environment is the most important section of sustainability
  • Only 18% said they shared or published their event’s sustainability reports
  • 81% of respondents said sustainability is not a barrier to creativity
  • 56% measure the sustainability of their event
  • Brands understand that sustainability is vital for their business success but this understanding does not consistently carry through to the delivery of their events
  • Event professionals do not think sustainability is linked to a specific label

You can find more information regarding the research, plus instructions for purchasing the report, on the Sustainable Events Summit’s website.


Responsible Catering, Sustainable Food

The rest of the day seemed to have some interesting presentations and a little humour too…



Which adding some levity to the more serious topic of sustainable food and catering:



Altogether it seemed like a very inspiring day and we sure wish we could have attended ourselves. Maybe next year!


The Venue – 30 Euston Square

The summit took place at the 30 Euston Square special events venue in London, UK. On its website, the venue emphasises its commitment to “CSR & Environment” and does appear to have well thought out corporate social responsibility guidelines and sustainability policies.


Exterior photo of 30 Euston Square in London, UK. A reputable sustainable event that is committed to CSR and the Environment.

We even noticed that within the embedded Google map on their Location page, which shows where the venue is, they have specifically included the locations of the bike docking stations closest to the venue. That’s a very nice touch because, as you may know, transportation to and from a venue is often the greatest single source of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of an event.

The Organizers

Sustainable Events Ltd. and its closely related non-profit offshoot, Positive Impact, partner with creative agency Smyle. Sustainable Events Ltd. and Positive Impact have been leading advocates of event sustainability in the United Kingdom and across the globe for several years.

Of particular note, Positive Impact has been championing the #shareapositiveimpact hashtag on Twitter – “a global campaign for people to share inspirational examples of sustainability  in action in the event industry.”