Trade shows, conferences and live events are temporary. As a result, they can create a lot of waste and one-time use. However, as we know from our experience of the pandemic, nothing can replace the value of face-to-face interaction. We are naturally sociable and when we get together, exciting things happen and innovative ideas are born.
There are so many ways that the events industry can clean up its act and start to create sustainable events. Some of these actions are simple - like reviewing business travel policies and others are more complex such as encouraging your suppliers to be more sustainable.
Inspired to find out more about starting on your sustainability marketing strategy?
Structures such as exhibition stands, feature areas and stages often generate waste and high energy use. Sustainable events reduce waste and choose eco friendly materials.
Live events involve enormous quantities of food and drink. This creates waste and carbon emissions via sourcing, packaging and food choices. Your event marketing communcation can help to change this.
Temporary events use huge amounts of power. Many physical elements of live events like badging have been replaced by technology to create more sustainable events.
I've already mentioned food and packaging waste. Festivals have often received bad press for discarded items like tents and there are still many single use items which end up in landfill.Again your event marketing can influence consumer behaviour.
International events generate high carbon emissions due to delegates flying to the venue plus the travel and accommodation choices they make during their visit. Share ways to help visitors in your event marketing plans.
Many event organisers use temporary staff who may be paid poorly and required to work long hours. Supply chains used by contractors should also be considered. People are an important part of creating sustainable events.
I spent my early career working in the trade show sector and was fortunate to work for many companies in the UK across a variety of sectors.
I spent 6 years working for the world's leading events company, RX (or Reed Exhibitions as it was known then). I started out organising the special events for World Travel Market and then ran the event marketing for a variety of shows from fashion to publishing, jewellery, hospitality and environmental technology. I worked my way up to be Divisional Marketing Director with a team of marketing staff.
I finished by being an Exhibition Director which meant that I was responsible for all departments involved in running an event, including operations.
Sustainable events were not in our vocabulary then but, looking back, I can see the issues and understand the opportunities there are to make things better. I am excited to be part of creating that transformation.
When I moved on from event marketing, I worked in the fashion industry before joining my husband to run his landscaping business. Alongside this, I worked with corporates to offer them breast health education and freelanced for a number of campaigning organisations such as Fashion Revolution and Breast Cancer UK. I have also run the marketing for an organic and household brand, Greenscents, and developed content including webinars for sustainable tourism company, Wayaj.
This broad experience means that I have seen the best sustainable solutions in a number of different industries. I can share this knowledge and best practice with you.