Director of Conference Care, Chris Peacock, discusses the relationship between sustainability and commerciality as the events industry strives for greener initiatives.
Sustainability has fast become a prime concern for public and private sectors alike, and the events industry is no exception. It is altogether promising to see that most companies in the sector have moved beyond believing that sustainable business practices are not a priority, and together recognise the importance of environmental protection in leaving the planet a little better than they found it.
At a time when delegates are increasingly demanding more social and environmental responsibility from venues, planners, and suppliers, sustainability also becomes a vital factor in achieving greater healthy competitiveness across the industry. Sadly, sometimes the reality for many event professionals that they still think it is all about the trade-offs: how do we implement greener policies at the cost of our bottom line?
In my opinion, we thankfully don’t have to. As it turns out, building sustainable supply chains has been a growing trend for years, and the early adopters are actually seeing a related increase in profits. The events industry has been quick to respond to these changes. Recycling, waste prevention, and reduced energy usage are just a few of many measures venues put into place for events to progressively go green, and major players within the hotel sector including Hilton Worldwide, Intercontinental Hotel Group, and Marriott regularly publish their own sustainability reports to share the latest initiatives taken.
“Sustainable practices can boost profitability in many ways, and today’s industry leaders have a fantastic opportunity to carve out a new future for their business by bringing green principles into their strategy.”
While launching our Carbon Consultancy service in 2021 seemed a natural extension to Conference Care’s sustainable past, it also had to work commercially. But when factoring in the development, recruitment, and pure time costs, the initiative is certainly not a “get rich quick” scheme. Instead, the greater value is in the conversations we can start with event organisers in understanding the carbon impact of events and encouraging positive contributions to addressing climate change.
Between improved efficiencies, a positive reputation, and futureproofing against further regulations, sustainable practices can boost profitability in many ways, and today’s industry leaders have a fantastic opportunity to carve out a new future for their business by bringing green principles into their strategy. Taking the time to review your practices regularly will help source the best methods to implement change and determine the right balance between short-term and long-term priorities to create enhanced value for stakeholders.
While there are hundreds of sustainable practices you can implement in your event strategy, it is important to first start with the smaller steps to embrace these initiatives. Doing so will not only help
you save money by being more energy- efficient, preserving destinations, and bringing people closer together, but also differentiate you from the competition and attract more revenue.
We are now at a crucial and unprecedented moment in the events sector where awareness of the environmental impact of trips for delegates is at an all-time high. But as we slowly start to travel and explore the world again, we all have a unique opportunity to address these concerns by implementing and communicating sustainable practices. Research reveals that more customers are willing to reward the businesses which reveal their green initiatives, proving that sustainability overall equates with profitability and good business sense.
After two immensely difficult years, re- building a business to be both profitable and sustainable is undoubtedly a tough challenge. But if we rethink and reimagine the possibilities, we can achieve anything. Get inspired to treat sustainability with an integrated approach across your operations, product choices, delegates, local communities, and even your suppliers. Just as importantly, communicate what you’re doing. People want to hear about it!