Key impact areas of sustainable events (Part 1/2)

Roof of the Paulus VI Audience Hall in Vatican CityWhen it comes to planning sustainable events, the devil is in the details. Now admittedly, there can be a lot of those details when it comes to planning any type of event and sustainability can quickly add an additional degree of difficulty. By focusing your attention on certain key areas of concern, however, the entire process can be made all the more manageable.

In the 1st of a 2 part series, I’d like to introduce you to 3 key areas of impact  – event venue, food and beverage, and transportation – and present some of the sustainability factors you are likely to encounter in relation to each of them while planning your sustainable event.

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Sustainable events and the three pillars of sustainability

Sustainable events and the three pillars of sustainability

Before looking into the more specific areas that can affect the overall sustainability of an event (e.g. venue, food and beverage, travel, accommodation, etc.), it is helpful to understand how sustainability in general may relate to an event. Below, we identify a range of factors related to the economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainability – the three pillars of sustainability – and present how they generally pertain to events. Continue reading

What is event sustainability?

Illusration of the Triple bottom-line concept: People, Planet, Profit - SustainabiityIn a number of this blog’s previous posts, I’ve jumped into some of the more specific aspects of sustainable events, like how to manage your event according to ISO 20121, or the pros and cons of using carbon offsets. With a mind for the basics, I’d like to go back and answer the fundamental question: What is event sustainability?

Economic, social, and environmental

Let’s begin with the concept of sustainability first. In broad terms, sustainability (or sustainable development) is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. More specifically, sustainability is about maintaining the long-term health of our economy, society, and environment, while going about our daily business. This combination is often referred to as the triple-bottom-line approach.

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Carbon offsets strategy for your next green event

Photo of a single wind turbineIn my previous post, Sustainable event management with ISO 20121:2012, I mentioned the importance of avoiding any form of “green washing” while planning an event. To this point, it’s appropriate to bring up the concept of carbon offsets and their use (or misuse) in green events.

Carbon offsets are commonly used by green event planners to tout the environmental friendliness of their events. In many cases, they’re used in an honest and responsible manner. Unfortunately, the odd case of abuse can sour the reputation of this well-intended green event strategy.

There are two areas in which carbon offsets are typically misused in relation to events. I will detail them below and provide tips for avoiding the same mistakes yourself.

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An Introduction to ISO 20121: Sustainable Event Management Systems

An Introduction to ISO 20121: Sustainable Event Management Systems

ISO 20121:2012 is an international standard for sustainable event management. If you’re planning on hosting a sustainable or “green” event that is both comprehensive and credible in its implementation, this really is the standard you need to know. Ask yourself this:

  • Do I supply products or services to the events industry?
  • Does my organization plan a lot of events?
  • Do I plan any events myself?

If you can answer “yes” to one of these questions, then you need to know about this International Standard, ISO 20121.

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