A review of any poll on the topic will reveal that meeting planners, suppliers and destinations like very much the idea of sustainable events as a practice and philosophy. Dig a little deeper and many are challenged where to start. People understand the ‘why’ of sustainable events, but so often express confusion–or frustration– on the ‘how’.
Meetings industry response to the interest in sustainability has been a rodeo of disconnected initiatives and convoluted standards. The ‘how’, so often, is coded in dense ‘whitepapers’ or a wearying array of nuance related to carbon responsibility (VERs, CERs, CDM, etc).
With the possible exception of the emerging APEX standards , these documents are often a tangle of stilted language and complex processes. During the resulting training sessions about these standards, the response so often is more “What what that again'” rather than “I can hardly wait to put these standards to use!”
During an enlightening conversation with Joe Oliver he touched on something rather important. “Make the information accessible for the user”. What a concept. Can it be that part of the meetings industry challenge to act on BS89o1 is because we’ve not made it accessible?
There are many examples of new, complex concepts which have not been saddled with the same barriers to acceptance sustainability standards have faced. How about automobiles? The makers of the car didn’t start with showing potential drivers the electrical system and combustion theory. The user was, instead, inspired by the thought of speed, status, efficiency. Sure, they had to learn to drive, but this was a minor inconvenience. Sustainability for the meetings industry, if it is to become mainstream, needs different messaging. Sustainability made simple? Consider this brilliant example from RealEyes:
We’ll be hard at work to make messages more accessible, more relevant for users with the hope of accelerating needed change. Help us get there with your ideas and communication innovations!