EN asks three event professionals what steps the industry should take to put on greener, more sustainable events.
Tom Revell, sustainability manager, GES EMEA and 2017 EN 30 Under Thirty member
Taking responsibility is paramount when it comes to the reduction and disposal of waste at events. As key industry stakeholders; suppliers, venues and organisers have to prevent events reverting back to the old ‘build and burn’ model of days gone by. Here are a few questions you need to ask:
• Is sustainability embedded within your infrastructure from the bottom up? Does everyone from the ops team on the frontline to the new intern in head office understand the impact of improper waste disposal?
• Have you chosen suppliers that mirror your sustainability goals?
• Are you the on-site ‘do-gooders’? And do you have a clear policy in place for waste disposal and share best practice with your clients and service partners with the aim of phasing out bad habits?
If you answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions, then you’re on the right track.
Just because a graphics panel, a set of chairs or a roll of carpet has reached the end of its usage post event – it doesn’t mean they can’t be put to good use elsewhere. Re-using these materials and products can have environmental and social benefits.
With recycling rates industry-wide often well over 90 per cent and climbing, as an industry we should take pride in this stat. A great example is carpet. As a business we lay around two million sqm of carpet every year and as an industry, that figure is magnified several times over.
James Drake-Brockman, divisional director – packaging portfolio, Easyfairs
Packaging Innovations provides its visitors with the perfect platform to better understand the sustainable packaging challenges that are currently facing the industry, and the opportunities that come with it. These areas of education include the Ecopack Zone, the Big Plastic Debate and the Ecopack Challenge, which all make for a ‘green’ 2018 show. The show will also feature a Sustainability Wall, which will encourage visitors and exhibitors to share their own thoughts on how the industry can continue to develop sustainably.
The show itself is no exception and is, as always, working closely with its counterparts at the NEC to ensure that it operates in the most sustainable way possible. The NEC has a ‘zero waste to landfill’ policy and ensures that no waste sent off-site travels any further than 30 miles, which is an initiative that is fully supported by Packaging Innovations.
Packaging Innovations’ dedication to being more environmentally friendly and producing a sustainable show has taken an extra step forward this year. New for 2018, it will be providing all members of staff with aluminium bottles to use on site instead of disposable plastic bottles, which they will refill throughout the course of the two-day show, in a move that will drastically decrease the use of plastics on site.
Sustainability is a subject close to our heart at Packaging Innovations, with it being a core component of the show for the last ten years. As the leading show of its kind, we are always looking for new, innovative ways of operating more sustainably.
Rebecca Sawyer, event manger, Completely Group and 2017 EN 30 Under Thirty member
Since the launch of Blue Planet II the single-use plastic debate has been huge within the media and has been something I have become increasingly aware of.
I have read a lot on the impact of single-use plastic over the last few months and I made the decision to remove all the plastic bottles from our events moving forward.
At our events we offer all catering included, so all delegates receive free refreshments all day including bottled water and bottled juice. At our London shows alone in 2017 we disposed of 8,000 plastic bottles.
In 2017 we launched our first event in Stockholm in October. where the venue there banned bottled drinks years ago. The Nordic countries are very proactive on recycling and their carbon footprint. This worked really well for us and made a huge impact on the amount of waste we produced.
We will therefore be implementing water coolers around the event and distributing to each delegate a reusable water bottle, which will be theirs for the day. We are also giving one of our supporters the opportunity to sponsor these water bottles and our #plasticfree campaign at our April event.
We also work with the Green Earth Appeal to help offset the carbon footprint by planting trees for every 1,000 paper cups used.
We hope that the example we set at our events is something that can be passed on throughout the whole sector.