The Brighton Centre recently held its sustainability event, The Future and You, in association with the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers, Conference News and AVT Connect, on 15 May, with the aim of showing how new technology is making it easier to organise sustainable events that appeal to delegates and, in many cases, reduce costs too.
The event, which was attended by 60 conference and event organisers, industry suppliers and venues kicked off with Adam Bates, Head of Tourism and Leisure at Brighton and Hove City Council unveiling news of the new Sustainable Events Programme that helps event organisers make their events more sustainable using the ISO 20121 Standard for Sustainable Events.
A panel session discussing the future of sustainable events followed, featuring Andy Mead, CEO and Founder of Firefly Solar; Shelaine Siepel from Brighton and Hove City Council’s Sustainability Team; Darren Johnson, VisitBrighton’s Conference Sales Manager; and Tey Mossadeghi, Head of Client Services at AVTConnect.
Mead discussed the benefits of renewable power at events, while Siepel outlined the support available to event organisers through the Sustainable Events Programme, as well as the initiatives that have increased recycling and reduced energy and water use at the Brighton Centre. Mossadeghi then showed delegates how hybrid events can widen participation while minimising the environmental footprint of an event.
Delegates were then asked to discuss the big issues they faced across a range of sustainability-related principles, including waste and sustainable materials, culture and community, transport and health and happiness in a roundtable best practice session. Event organisers agreed during these sessions that holding a sustainable event is as much about encouraging positive benefits through initiatives such as using local food and suppliers, as it is about reducing energy use.
“Our aim with today’s event was to demystify what sustainable events are all about,” said GM of the Brighton Centre, Howard Barden.
“I’m pleased that 98 per cent of delegates who attended the day said they would be implementing sustainability actions at their future events.”
Delegates were also taken on a tour of the recent renovations at the Brighton Centre to demonstrate the improvements made to enhance its sustainability. The venue’s conference team showed how new daylight-mimicking LED lighting has reduced electricity at the centre by 85 per cent.
“Our task now is to get the message out to anyone organising an event at the Brighton Centre or across the city that we have a support programme in place that will help them focus on a few key sustainability areas and put in place initiatives that will appeal to their delegates,” said Barden.
A survey carried out by Brighton-based events company AVT Connect during the event revealed that 98 per cent of event organisers in the southeast think that conference and exhibition venues that do not meet sustainability criteria will be disadvantaged in the future.
“These findings show that the writing is on the wall for venues that cannot move forward and demonstrate real progress in adopting sustainable practices in its business model. They are now clearly going to be at a commercial disadvantage,” said AVT Connect CEO, Jon Fox.
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