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Sustainability top priority for events industry

by Olivia Powell

CWT Meetings & Events, the global meetings and events division of CWT, says that sustainability will be prioritised for the $840 billion industry in 2020.

This statement is made according to the M&E 2020 Future Trends Report bonus feature, The Future of Sustainable Events.

Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey 2019 revealed that climate change is the greatest concern for this generation, and as activists demand action on climate change globally, companies are apparently taking notice.

Senior vice president and managing director for CWT Meetings & Events, Derek Sharp, said: “The sustainability of the meetings and events industry, in fact of the entire travel industry, is at the forefront of companies’ and planners’ minds in 2020,”

“It’s driven by news coverage of climate change but, more importantly, it’s supported by the next generation of travelers – the millennials who are poised to become the biggest group of business travelers globally from 2024 onwards, and the centennials who are right behind them.

“These are people for whom travel has become commonplace and accessible in a way that it wasn’t for older generations. They want to continue meeting in popular destinations, but they are also hyper aware of the need to adopt sustainable practices that respect the environment and local communities wherever they go.”

In response to this evidence, companies and meeting planners are adopting various initiatives, including opting for locally sourced and produced food and drinks, eliminating plastic waste, offsetting air miles with carbon, and choosing ethical suppliers.

Major international initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are also helping to drive home the message to companies that sustainability and responsible business are important, and have genuine consequences for the way a company is perceived, and therefore their profit.

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