'The industry needs strong leadership on sustainable change'

Getting back to business as usual is no longer an option, says Selina Donald, founder of The Bulb.

Selina Donald is a sustainability consultant and founder of events agency The Bulb.

Coronavirus could be the catalyst for the radical innovation needed for sustainable change in the events industry. Radical innovation overthrows existing business models, it redesigns processes and production. 

Sustainability requires businesses to use their creative resources to find responsible solutions. The businesses that embrace sustainability in all its forms – social, environmental and economic – demonstrate competitiveness and a commitment to their organisation's long term profitability and growth. This benefits both their bottom line and the planet.

So how do we move forward? We should not expect a return to the ‘status quo’, a sentence most profoundly illustrated through the transformation of events to digital, but instead look towards a new paradigm, one that emphasises sustainability.

We need industry leaders who can create profound change in an exciting and inspiring way. 

Strong leaders

The hallmark of a strong leader is someone who can visualise the bigger picture, understand how to future proof their business and see the opportunity in today’s challenge. Those who prosper will understand the success of events will be measured by bringing people together in a responsible way.

How an organisation produces an event shows what matters to them and what they value. It is a public statement of how conscious they are of their approach to using resources, exceeding employee and customer expectations and creating a legacy.

A shining example of a successful business creating shared value for society is Connection Crew. An excellent crewing company and social enterprise that has employed over 200 ex-homeless people. Connection Crew has mentored men and women back into the workplace and at the same time gained hard-working employees and contributed to solving the ever-growing social problem of homelessness. Makes sense, right?

All too often, businesses are overwhelmed by sustainability and the idea of changing ‘the way things are done’. I sympathise with that feeling. When I founded The Bulb I felt the same, but I soon realised that sustainability simply comes down to putting responsible decision making at the heart of the business strategy. 

That means making responsible decisions across supply chains, processes, people and materials and embracing and embedding these choices into events and your operations as a whole. It’s a win-win-win, for people, profit and the planet.

The positive that we have learned over the last three months is that we can be agile and can transition quickly when needed. We could never have forecasted the impact of coronavirus, but it’s not too late to learn from this and shape a more resilient future.

This article was written by Selina Donald at The Bulb. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of C&IT Magazine.

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