How to improve the sustainability of your event management

By Claire Nicholson and Yasmin McLaughlin | Reading time: 3 minutes

“The avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance”.

The definition of sustainability

Sustainability is the ability to continually exist and develop in the without depleting natural resources and in the context of industries, the sustainability of a company refers to the ability to conduct business without negatively impacting the environment or communities. Sustainability is not only an ethical obligation as a company but how sustainable you are can be a key driver of sales and perception. The 2021 Global Sustainability Study by Simon-Kucher found that sustainability and environmental impact are key parameters in global consumer spending habits – with 85% of consumers shifting towards being more sustainable. Environmentally unfriendly business practices can therefore have a lasting, negative impact on your brand reputation and long-term success. In this blog, we’ll detail how you can introduce more sustainable practices to your event organisation and improve your brand reputation and customer perception.

You can also discover the benefits of engaging with an ISO20121 certified event consultant.


The environmental impact of events

Attending events such as scientific conferences is a great way to generate new leads and build relationships within the scientific community, however, events take a heavy toll on resources, society, and the environment — often generating significant waste! With so many attendees and exhibitors transporting themselves and goods to the location of the event, events can put increased pressure on local infrastructure whilst contributing to increased pollutant emissions.

Disposable elements such as stands, branding, and giveaways from events can all contribute to plastic pollution. 

When the Olympics was held in the UK back in 2012, ISO20121 was created to help leave a lasting sustainable events legacy from the games. 

ISO20121: Beyond being “green”

ISO 20121 is a continually developing, international standard for sustainable event management, which aims to help organisations improve sustainability in every aspect of event management by promoting responsible consumption and relieving strain on local infrastructure.
Implementing an ISO20121 management system to event planning can minimises your impact on the environment and improves your brand reputation with customers —customers — it has several other cost-effective benefits. These benefits can include reducing operational costs through the implementation of effective operational controls to manage your impact at the event. Additionally, a full understanding of the legal and ethical obligations for sustainable events can further reduce operational costs and ensure you fulfil and exceed the compliance obligations.


Implement sustainable operating strategies

Transport and logistics accounted for one fifth of global CO2 emissions in 2020 and so developing a sustainable logistics operating strategy for delivery of your items to events and exhibitions is an important area for improving the sustainability of your event management. Road freight alone accounts for 30% of the transport and logistics sector CO2 emissions, whilst passenger and freight air account for 11%.  It is therefore important to implement sustainable operational strategies for logistics that can include omitting air travel for goods and attendees in favour of lower emission rail travel. Many logistics companies are implementing more environmentally friendly road-fleets to combat increasing emissions and so it is important to build relationships with companies that can offer the most efficient and cost-effective logistics solutions, whilst knowing they are as committed to sustainability as you are

Sustainable branding and giveaways

As mentioned, events and conferences have the potential to generate huge amounts of waste with negative implications for the environment and so, practices that reduce waste are crucial for improving the sustainability of your event management.

When designing your branding, consider reusable branding that does not date or make your branding obsolete so it can be used for subsequent or recurrent events. For giveaways, ensure that the items serve a purpose, are multi-use and of high-quality to avoid producing items destined for landfill. Choosing suppliers for your branding and giveaways that are committed to sustainability can be a tricky and time-consuming process that involves knowledge of suppliers’ sustainability policies and manufacturing process.

Ensuring your suppliers are as committed to sustainability as you are will help to reduce the environmental impact of your event whilst improving your brands reputation. 



Engage with an ISO20121 certified events consultant

Implementing more sustainable practices to your event management system can be a time-consuming process involving extensive research of the current legislation and the sustainability policies of your partner companies. Engaging with ISO20121-certified events consultants, like the team here at Minnac Life Sciences can simplify this process and offer a more time- and cost-effective solution. As an ISO20121 ceISO20121-certifiedrtified company, we are continually updating and adapting our sustainability policies to comply with the most recent environmental legislation. Our long-standing relationship with suppliers and logistics partners who are as committed to sustainability as we are means you can be assured that every aspect of your event management has minimal environmental impact and improves your brand reputation. We can also advise on the best strategic decisions, balancing sustainability with your overall event outcome.

To find out more about how our events consultants can improve the sustainability of your event management, visit our events page.


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