By Flora Wallace
Word count: 1,470
A practical look at running an event, putting sustainability at the forefront of event mangers decisions. Discussing why sustainability is important for a business’s future. How to go about changing business practices and how to communicate this to staff, suppliers and other stakeholder.
Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction 4
2.0 Running a sustainable events business 4
2.1 Existing research into sustainable events 4
2.2 The importance of policies and stakeholders 4
2.3 Benefits of sustainable practices 5
2.4 Alternative hedonism 5
2.5 Venues: saving energy 6
2.6 Transport: reducing carbon emissions 6
3.0 Conclusion 7
“The day is not far off when economic problems will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems – the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behaviour” (Keynes 1945). What Keynes describes is becoming more of a necessity to consider and more likely to happen. As ‘real problems’ like dwindling planetary resources and the globes ever increasing population take over our lives. Businesses and managers that don’t prioritize sustainability is some way will not survive, and it is argued, will not be worth saving. This report considers sustainably in the events industry specifically. Although the area lacks deep analysis, information from existing reports and publications has been gathered here and discussed in terms of and for use within the events industry.
2.0 Running a sustainable events business
Environmental sustainability is described as the capacity for the eco system to endure with increasing use (Goldblatt 1997). As events grow in popularity and number there is a relative increase in the negative effects on the environment, from the waste products they produce to the mistreatment of land they are held on. It is to be noted that while some of the sector recycle on average 50% of their waste, the majority is only at 15% (Wrap 2013). This does show small improvements are possible and are happening within the events industry but his review aims to inspire further action.
2.1 Existing research into sustainable events
While sustainable tourism has been addressed readily (Arcodia and Cohen and Dickson 2012) research and academic discussion on sustainable events is sorely lacking, but with the role events plays in the tourism industry and as a standalone industry ever increasing this is beginning to change. ‘The body of literature published about events and their impact on the environment is steadily growing’ (Arcodia et al 2012, pp212).
2.2 The importance of policies and stakeholders
Events cannot exist independently; from the area and community they are held in or from the people and groups involved in the creation and the duration of an event. This establishes multiple agendas that need to be considered by organisers. A recommendation by Yuan (2009) is to form a framework of policies for staff and managers. Something they can use to decide the ‘right thing to do’ and to help generate an understanding of ethical standards. What these standards are. What is expected of them and what they can expect of employers. Policies like this not only provide guidance but also present values clearly to the people and groups involved in the event, the stakeholders. Understanding your stakeholders is vital for the event success. “Stakeholders are those groups from whom the organisation has voluntarily accepted benefits and to whom there arises moral obligation” (Phillips 2003). Stakeholders have the power to affect the event and with this in mind, like Starick (1995) suggests, the natural environment can be considered a stakeholder too. In a time when we are much more aware of the importance of our surrounding and the implications of reducing