Events industry should shift sustainability focus says research

The events industry is too focused on environmental sustainability at the expense of social and economic aspects, according to research unveiled at The Global Sustainable Events Summit (GSES) yesterday.

 ©iStockPhoto.com
©iStockPhoto.com

The environment is still seen as the most important aspect of sustainability by almost two-thirds (61%) of corporate event planners, with a fifth (20%) stating that the economic aspect is most important, and the remaining 19% choosing social.

The research report, carried out by Positive Impact on behalf of GSES, is comprised of data gathered from six qualitative interviews with Johnson & Johnson, Roche, VMware WWF, Enterprise Holdings and BBC, combined with quantitative data from 102 corporate planners surveyed online.

"By focusing on the environmental impacts of an event, we are focusing on the most challenging pillar of sustainability for the industry to demonstrate results with," said the report.


Events industry needs sustainability focus, says MCI's Guy Bigwood

Sustainability left behind at corporate events


However, the qualitative research revealed a growing trend in events, which have a positive impact on communities and people, showing that the social aspect of sustainability appears to be growing in importance.

"If event professionals continue to focus mainly on the environmental impact of events they are likely to experience failure. Obviously the environmental impact of events should not be ignored but the industry should improve its ability to tell the story of the positive economic and social impacts of events," according to the research.

Two-thirds of corporate planners (66%) said that time and budget are barriers to them implementing sustainability, but a majority (81%) said that sustainability is not a barrier to creativity.

Other key findings were that only 18% of corporate planners said they shared or published their event’s sustainability reports, and just over half (57%) said they would choose a supplier based on their sustainable label (eg ISO 20121 accreditation).

More:

Agencies pledge support for Sustainable Events Summit 2015

IMEX America unveils new sustainability initiative 

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