Introducing some of our favourite sustainability champions
In the last (for 2023) of our occasional series on our event sustainability heroes, we’re ending the year in style with eventdecision’s own Track Team Leader, Emma Sharp!
Q: How did you first became interested in sustainability?
“The first time I really thought about and became interested in sustainability was during lockdown. I was an event manager for many years and always too busy to stop – but living in Wiltshire, surrounded by fields and green spaces, when I was on furlough, I finally had the time to stop ‘and smell the roses’ . Looking up at the clear skies with no plane fuel trails criss-crossing it – this was an amazing sight to behold and something I’d never seen before in my lifetime. And this really started me thinking about what we do and take for granted both in home and work life because it’s always been the ‘norm’ – and what impact this was having on the world around us!”
Q: What sustainable habits are important to you?
“There are many sustainable habits that are important, however, since taking up my role at event:decision the impact that has become most important to me is the most predominant ‘non-visible’ one that people don’t often think about especially in the world of events – travel! I was as guilty as anyone, of if I needed to get somewhere just jumping in my car and off I went – but having worked for event:decision over the last year, calculating and reporting the impact of a large number of events, it has made me realise how much of an impact the travel choices we make can have. And whilst travel is a necessity of life, I now think a lot more carefully – ‘Do I need to make this journey?’ and if I do, ‘what’s the most suitable route to the destination? ‘Can I walk, cycle or take public transport?’ ‘If I have to fly somewhere, what class should I fly in – definitely economy?”
Q: Have you any tips or tricks for living a more sustainable lifestyle that you’d recommend for others?
“There are so many things that we try and do as part of our daily lives already, but I think my main tip would be to really ‘stop and think’ about what you’re doing both personally and in your work life, which is especially key in the world of events and event sustainability. Things like do I/my delegates really need that plastic toy/giveaway made ‘en mass’ in China and then shipped/flown over to the UK? Can this be replaced by something more natural, made locally, from a small supplier that would also benefit from the purchase and keep transport impacts to a minimum? Have we picked a destination/venue that is easily accessibly to people with a good public transport infrastructure supporting it, and additional transport support where require such as electric car shuttles? Are we buying/supplying the food or catering with the least impact i.e. a vegetarian menu? And, if there are leftovers what’s going to happen to these, can they go to help someone less fortunate?”
Q: Are there any new areas of focus you might have for your sustainable habits looking forward to 2024?
“I think one area of focus is to expand the sustainability conversation across all areas of E, S and G, so we think about the wider impact rather than just ticking boxes regarding giveaways, vegetarian menus and so forth. However, I think the key is to continue to ‘shout about’ and encourage more people and businesses to do more and think about their wider picture! One person doing their bit diligently will not have a huge impact. However, the more people/companies who get on board, doing the right thing, will start to have an impact. I also think bringing attention to the areas with the most ‘impact’ is important to ensure that any changes they make have the most profound and significant impact. The only way to start having a significant impact is if we change the way we think and what we do ‘en mass’!”
If any of you would like to find out more about how we could work with you to achieve all your event sustainability and ESG goals, get in touch.