As events people, we’re go go go. Organising. Radio wielding. Golf buggy driving. Putting stuff up. Pulling stuff down. Peering into bins. Cajoling good practice. Setting up systems. Whiteboard strategising.
But most of us have been put into hibernation. Of course, we’ve redirected that energy. Gardening. Craft. Home Renos. Over the top homeschooling. A new home gym. Watching everything on Netflix, A-Z. All with an accompanying spreadsheet.
In the meantime, our global collective of sustainable event freaks have been meeting online to keep our spirits high and our intentions solid. Hundreds of us met in April in a hackathon. New projects have been birthed such as the Global Reusables at Events Hygiene Project.
Together we’ve dove into how to tackle the biggest single-use plastic problem at events - our temporary look and overlay. We are all pledging to #buildbackbetter.
Watch out world, we’ve found some workarounds
The lucky amongst us were able to pivot our conferences and even music festivals to virtual.
Never to be put down, events-people's ingenuity is allowing us to try out new CV19-safe event formats - creative souls are mowing squares into fields, staging drive-in concerts, or setting up personal platforms.
And just like you, between manic virtual events planning, Netflix binging and a pathetic attempt to get fit, I’ve had some time to think hard about the future of events and what it means for sustainable event management.
So what of the future for events and sustainability?
Prior to the global pandemic, things were definitely tracking in a good direction, making the argument for sustainability in events all the easier; Fridays for the Future and Extinction Rebellion rallies were building the case for us to commit to climate-responsible events. The global attention on plastic pollution meant a very quick response to single-use plastics in our industry.
And now, as we've seen with the Black Lives Matter protests, even a global pandemic will not stop people coming together for a purpose.
People are getting more vocal, curious, demanding action, and taking action themselves.
Events with purpose are the future
It’s becoming crystal clear to me how we can indeed #buildbackbetter. Apart from being CV19-safe, I think all events must build from these foundations:
Purpose-driven | Circular | Climate Positive | Inclusive, Diverse and Tolerant
And so I can predict that even more so than before, the measure of success for events going forwards will be how responsible and restorative they are for people and planet.
Events must create a genuine social license to operate, be trustworthy and purpose-driven, take a stand, and allow their powerful platforms to be used for good.
That’s all very good to say, but where to start?
Here to give you a helping hand
As you might know, over the past decade I’ve brought my own from-the-field experience in sustainable event management, along with the work of many other stellar experts and events, into my three books on Sustainable Event Management. I’ve also helped events professionals work out what to do, through face to face training, and I've consulted, advised, or worked hands-on with some very special events.
Finding it hard to be in one spot long enough to host face to face training consistently, we decided to move to an online course format, and the first practical topic Towards Zero Waste was released in 2019, as part of the new Institute for Sustainable Events and our ‘Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Course’.
Earlier, in 2017 our training in ISO 20121 was launched, now also part of the Institute.
As the pandemic came upon us, we made the decision, rather than dive into the next topics of energy and transport, we would dedicate these months to creating what I think are the most important foundations of sustainable event management:
- Fundamentals and Strategy (sustainability literacy, executive strategy, getting started).
- Events with Purpose (purpose-driven, social license, partnerships with purpose, purposeful production).
And so we are very pleased to let you know that we now have these new topics available.
ACCESS THE COURSE WEBSITE - ise.world
Join us during this down-time and get future-ready!
With the next six months possibly being a dry spell for many in the events sector and knowing you probably have some energy and brain space to use, we invite you to pull up a cozy spot and take the time to get some deep thinking, planning, and creativity flowing.
We're here to help get you ready to produce future events that are good for you and good for the planet.
Program content is broken down into simple, implementable steps.
Courses include Video tutorials, further reading, inspiring examples, photos and videos, operational templates, how to's, topic deep dives, workshop templates, cohort-based learning, lifetime access.
10% of all enrolment fees go to the Sustainable Event Alliance to help with the development of this, not for profit essential event industry professional guild. The SEA also provides the competency assessment and accreditation for events professionals. Find out more.
Meegan Jones: GreenShootPacific. Institute for Sustainable Events. Sustainability Advisor. The Ocean Race. Sustainable Event Alliance.
I am very happy to share that the newest (online/self-paced) courses at the Institute for Sustainable Events are now ready for enrolment: Sustainability Fundamentals and Strategy Events with Purpose These two new courses join the existing courses: Towards Zero Waste Events Implementing ISO 20121. If you have some downtime and are ready to get future-ready - check them out!