New research commissioned by Positive Impact and released at the Sustainable Events Summit in London yesterday (21 November) revealed that 61% of survey respondents think the environment is the most important section of sustainability, yet only 18% of event professionals share or publish their event’s sustainability reports.
Other findings included the majority response that eventprofs did not think sustainability was linked to a specific label and that it was not a barrier to creativity.
Another conclusion from the research was that brands understand that sustainability is vital for their business success but this understanding does not consistently carry through to the delivery of their events.
Key lines from the research were discussed at the SES at 30 Euston square, with panels on encouraging eventprofs to tell their sustainability stories through the media and on how sustainability can inspire creativity. The latter session was moderated by Nadine Dereza and included contributions from one of the summit founders Smyle MD Rick Stainton and also from Carol Primett from Anglian Water, giving some insights from a corporate event manager’s perspective. Benita Matofska of The People Who Share gave a presentation on the sharing economy and Julia Palle, sustainability manager at the FIA Formula E Championship joined the discussion via Skype.
The team at Positive Impact, commenting on the research results said: “The event industry, when it comes to sustainability, likes to know it is doing the right thing! The ultimate challenge with implementing a sustainability strategy is that there is no, one, right thing to do. Impact assessments will help you understand the long term impacts of decisions and research into local market capabilities will support your purchasing decisions. However, every event is unique (due to geography, climate, budget, size etc) and the truth is you may not know the impact of your decision until post-event.”
Positive Impact also provides four recommendations for each major report theme.
However, while the report says it is increasingly normal for the event supply chain to champion their own sustainability credentials, the lack of labels and reporting means it is questionable whether the event supply chain always walks its sustainability talk.
“An easy way for a brand to identify ‘greenwash’ is to ask the event supplier for measurements, post-event reports, labels and education,” says Positive Impact.
And the more active corporates quoted in the report underline the same message. “We have a drive to work with social entrepreneur so we will see more evaluation in our selection of event partners in the future,” said Johnson & Johnson.
Positive Impact also attended the recent CN relaunch event in London where 14 surveys were completed. Upon the survey closing, 102 corporate event professionals had completed the survey from the following sectors: Techology (16%), Media (15%), Finance (12%), Pharma (5%), Automotive (4%), Oil & Gas (2%), Retail (2%) and Other 44%.