Rio2016 Olympics: From Sustainable Event Hosting to Long Term Legacies

Rio2016 Olympics: From Sustainable Event Hosting to Long Term Legacies

The Rio2016 Summer Olympic Games have just finished with a festive finale. No doubt the Games’ workforce, 50,000 volunteers and the many hosting agencies are exhausted and exhilarated for having delivered the array of competitions, celebrations and cultural events – and all for the first time in South America.

Like many visitors, I have a much greater sense of the kindness of the Cariocas (Rio citizens), the region’s generous hospitality and the nation’s beauty, diversity, complexity, and culture. While we await the Paralympic Summer Games, Olympic Games’ followers can begin to consider the difference these Games have made for the city of Rio de Janeiro, the country and the Olympic Movement [by taking a moment to review the event sustainability initiatives – both successes and failures – of Rio2016].

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Growth in the meetings and events industry

upward-graph (small)In a previous post, I described how the events industry was poised for growth. I based this on some research that had predicted a significant increase in the number of event planning jobs across the United States. In this post, I’d like to offer some more direct evidence of this growth.

Twice now, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) has released a report titled, “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the US.” The latest version of it, published in early-2014, presents some rosy statistics.

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Innovation is event sustainability’s call-to-action and a good reason for optimism

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I’m halfway through a really great book, The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, by Paul Hawken. Originally published in 1993, with a revised edition published in 2010, the book presents the harsh reality of a modern economy addicted to unchecked industrial pollution and blind mass consumerism.

Now, I do not wish to be a pessimist (the facts in the book do a fine job of that). Rather, the point I’d like to make in relation to event sustainability is an optimistic one. I’ll let a quote by Hawken set the tone:

“We have the capacity and the ability to create a remarkably different economy, one that can restore ecosystems and protect the environment while bringing forth innovation, prosperity, meaningful work, and true security.” (pp.2)

Take a careful look at the event sustainability industry and you will see the very capacity and ability that Hawken describes. Truth be told, I believe that we’re on the cusp of a major period of innovation and growth in terms of event sustainability. Allow me to explain:

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Event planning job outlook: 44% growth by 2020

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I came across this little statistical gem the other day on the United States Department of Labor’s website: the job outlook for “meeting, convention and event planners” looks great, with a projected 44% increase in employment between 2010 and 2020.

When you compare that with the average growth rate for all occupations, at 14%, you can see how significant that is. The event planning job outlook is excellent!

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Green meetings industry – All together now! Making waves

fiesta negative (a)At Green Meeting Ninjas, we’re new to the green meetings block but we’re confident that we’re going to be making waves. Not the rock the boat, annoy others in the industry kind of waves, but the sweet and harmonious, “all together now!” kind of waves.

Seth Godin, the marvellous creative genius we all (should) know and love, wrote about this notion in one of his latest blog posts, “Us vs. us”. He had a great line that immediately led me to think of the green meeting community:

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