Why sustainable event management is booming

Posted: 9th October 2019

Last edited: 14 Oct, 2019



Companies are under increasing pressure to both act responsibly and to demonstrate this is entrenched throughout the business operations. As a result, there has been a boom in sustainable event management.

Companies of all sizes are having to ensure their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda meets the expectations of their clients and customers regardless of the sector they work in.

And this means event planners and marketing executives are increasingly expected to ensure that even their off-site conference venue matches their organisation’s sustainability objectives.

Sustainable event management

Selecting an off-site venue can be challenging enough without having to stress-test its environmental credentials. A quick way to identify leading sustainable venues is to enquire about any awards or recognition from relevant third-parties.

Venues verified as sustainable by the International Association of Conference Centres or which adhere to international standards ISO 14001 are actively committed to trying to minimise their negative environmental impact.

Furthermore, beyond clearly visual initiatives such as recycling bins, the credibility of a venue’s sustainability efforts rests on how intrinsic reducing its carbon footprint is to the organisation.

Conference centres where the drive to become more sustainable comes from the very top of the organisation, and is actively filtered down to everyone below, are more likely to succeed in changing how their venue operates. The Møller Centre’s chief executive Gillian Secrett has recently completed a Masters in Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Small factors, big impact

Venues with clear strategic plans in place to improve their sustainability credentials are likely to be the most advanced in their efforts to reduce their environmental footprint but the small things matter too.

Sustainable event management involves identifying conference facilities whose rooms have as much natural light as possible to help reduce electricity usage, while brochures sent via email means no unnecessary printed material is used.

With food and drink, the sourcing of a venue’s produce is an excellent indicator of how seriously it takes sustainability. Simple steps such as having Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade Coffee, sourcing ingredients from the local area and cooking the food on-site are all positive signs of a conference centre’s environmental awareness.

And with the high-profile war on single-use plastic, conference venues serious about the environment should be providing water in reusable glass bottles as well as adopting a ‘Zero to Landfill Pledge’.

Never standing still

Sustainability is something that venues have to constantly strive towards. It is an evolving process and the most conscientious organisations are likely to be those which constantly aspire to improve their existing systems.

Even if a venue appears to have robust sustainability credentials, it is worth finding out what more it is trying to achieve. Is it considering offsetting its carbon emissions through a third-party paid scheme? Or is it seeking to develop an initiative locally that could help offset its impact on the environment, such as planting a certain number of trees for each conference it hosts.

The Møller Centre is also embedding sustainability content into 25 per cent of the executive leadership development programmes designed and delivered by their team.

The motivation behind this is not only to highlight what sustainability measures are being taken at the Møller Centre. It is also to help educate other organisations on how to improve their sustainability credentials and help them ensure they are meeting their stakeholders’ expectations.