Turning Measurement into Action on Event Sustainability #SOS23
event:decision is helping the events industry deliver on sustainability
Last week we released the findings of our first annual State of Sustainability report, the aggregated data from the hundreds of events and planners that are using our sustainability tool track to deliver more sustainable and efficient events. But simply measuring the carbon footprint of an event, while a crucial first step, isn’t enough. That measurement must then lead to action to reduce emissions impact.
“TRACK isn’t just about measurement – it’s about action too. Our aggregate data shows that in the last year we’ve helped the events industry save emissions equivalent to 1,000 London to New York flights”.
Matt Grey, Founder event:decision
The illusion of progress
Think about a chef who measures ingredients but then fails to use their skills to create a memorable dish. Or, a doctor diagnosing their patient’s illness but then not prescribing any treatment. In both those cases measuring, or assessing, without follow-up action is fairly ineffectual. The same applies to the measurement of a carbon footprint in the events industry. Measuring provides valuable insights into the environmental impact of an event, allowing event planners to identify the major areas of concern. However, without any accompanying action, measuring alone can create a dangerous illusion of progress. To use yet another analogy; a company that tracks customer satisfaction through surveys and questionnaires but doesn’t take the necessary steps to address any dissatisfaction, may feel they are doing enough by listening but will probably rapidly lose their customers.
Pre and post event measurement highlights action
Our sustainability tool track is unique (we believe globally), in that it allows for both pre and post event measurement which highlights exactly what action has been taken and the subsequent reduction in carbon emissions which have resulted. Findings from our State of Sustainability report across all the aggregated data revealed an impressive 8% average reduction in the carbon footprints of events using the tool. That’s between the footprint projected at the planning stage versus the final footprint of the actual event.
Action taken varies from event to event but typically includes:
- Re-thinking the location of the venue to ensure sustainable travel options are available
- Considering hybrid real and online options where appropriate
- Planning accommodation choices carefully to maximise walking and public transport options
- Offering sustainably-sourced food and a comprehensive waste and recycling plan on-site
Any or all of these choices, together with many other smaller decisions, can make a big impact on sustainability if factored in at the planning stage of any event, as the event planners who use our tool track have been able to demonstrate.
The results of taking action
That 8% average reduction across the hundreds of events that were planned using our tool is equivalent to 1,000 London to New York flights, or a whole two and a half day Europe-wide 450 delegate in-person conference with flights, transfers, accommodation, stage-set, AV and all food and beverage. Or, the same as filling up 3,576 London double deckers! All of which goes to show that when you move from measurement to action you really can make a big difference.
If you’re interested in finding out more about sustainable event planning, you can use track – the tool used by the event planners in our report – to calculate your own event’s projected carbon footprint. Please get in touch, we can give you a demo and show you some more sample reports to illustrate just what it could do for you.