Sustainable Events: a novel idea
Authors understand that readers don’t want to know about the mechanics of a books’ construction. They don’t go to pains to explain the manufacture of the paper that made the printing of the pages possible. Instead, they focus only on creating the best story with a goal of delivering a meaningful experience.
Is there a lesson here for ‘green’ and sustainable event planners? Do we get tangled up with trying to deliver a ‘great sustainable event’ instead of ‘a great event which happens to be sustainable’?
Often, event owners pursue a traditional planning approach, then attach sustainable elements as an afterthought. Better to create an event which delivers on determined objectives but in a measured, sustainable way.
Email response to a planner who wanted to create a sustainable event for a corporate client:
“Try not to think of the sustainable elements as an ‘in your face’ thing, but a spirit within the event that gives the participant a deeper connection to the experience. It’s not about having recycling containers everywhere. it’s about :
- finding a cool venue (which is close to public transport and is powered by alternative energy and takes good care of it’s employees)
- with stylish screens & lighting (energy efficient)
- beautiful food & gorgeous cocktails (seasonal cuisine, crushed organic fruit & local beer in real glasses)
- cutting edge event design (high tech networking elements, non traditional sessions, artful elements)
- collaboration with a social entrepreneur or NGO to diversify and give a sense of purpose (CO2 emissions measured and offset to a project benefiting this group)”
Will sustainability-for-events sooner become mainstream if we think of these practices not as a separate list of technical actions which confuse and burden us, but a guide and an outline for the story we wish to tell… for the experience we wish to give?