Maria Teresa is Junior Consultant at ENITED business events GmbH in Vienna – she explains her views at sustainability development in our industry as follows:
ENITED’s services include coordination, competence and consulting for corporations, associations and destinations. But if you ask us about sustainability, this is what we have to say:
If you look at our industry from a touristic, traveller and consumer point-of-view, yes, of course, we have a negative effect on the environment and yes, we need to learn, adapt and do better. We do have our responsibility, but we cannot simply stop doing what our Business Events industry does best: meeting in person, face-to-face. No alternative format or channel of communication can fully replace that and we all know it. So, let’s stop being apologetic about it.
However, we can and need to change the current perspective and the ongoing discussion on such an important matter as sustainability. The good news is, the transformation has already started. Several international discussions and projects on the topic of BE legacy & impact, in connection with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), underline its importance. Our business events industry can be a change maker. It’s a unique opportunity to showcase the SMART value & ability of our industry.
Question 1) How open are your customers to consider sustainable options for their programs? What extra miles are walked by your company to convince customers about sustainable options?
Depends A LOT on the client and on the kind of event they want to organize. Sometimes sustainability (or certain aspects of it) is already incorporated into their activities and we walk along with them, while others need to be advised and convinced to take sustainable options. However, we are seeing more and more openness in this regard, even if for now it is only baby steps we are all taking.
What we particularly at ENITED did was to produce one of our Thought Leadership papers on SMART Sustainability and focused on the realistic ABILITY of our industry to contribute to a more sustainable world. We took the UN SDGs as a reference and highlighted the most relevant ones where business events are already making a contribution, not only in terms of ecology, but also in the political, social and economic spheres of sustainability:
# 4 | Quality education
# 8 | Decent work and Economic growth
# 9 | Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
# 11 | Sustainable cities and communities
# 17 | Partnerships for the goals
Question 2) What is your motivation for joining the ecomice explorers group at IMEX?
I want to learn and absorb different ways in which the stakeholders in the business events industry (agencies, venues, destinations, suppliers, etc.) are embracing sustainability and find out what else can I/we as ENITED do to improve in this regard. Again, from a more comprehensive and realistic way than the usual CO2 counting or the giving up on plastic, for example. I would also like to try and find out who is really making an effort and who is falling into greenwashing, so that I can detect it if we encounter a supplier or partner who claims to be sustainable during a project.
Question 3) Can you give an example of a conference, event or other program that you have organised taking sustainability aspects into account?
With our ENITED Coordination services, we design, plan and execute business events, both for associations and corporations. Regarding association congresses and their more complex structures and processes, we advise and support the client in the full circle of sustainability and guide them into the right direction.
In the corporate business events world, e.g., we have been involved in the coordination of The Coca-Cola Company activities at the Vienna City Marathon for many years. As a leading global brand, Coca-Cola is fully aware of their impact on the environment’s and people’s wellbeing, so they are very committed in trying to reduce waste, promote recycling and using sustainable materials in their productions. Accordingly, all matters of sustainability are also a core content for any of their business events activities. Hence, our contribution and services are very much focused on the matter of sustainability.
ecomice is a consultancy and PR / marketing initiative for sustainable legacy and new supply chains in destinations.
It is an initiative of tmf dialogue.
Travelling today means to reduce negative impact as much as possible and to take responsibility for the destination visited. Our collaborative business model at ecomice supports stakeholders and destinations to see MICE offers in a new context. We communicate and connect a destination’s sustainable developments across policies, academics, industry, environment and society, identify new audiences and attract a new generation of responsible events.
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Thanks so much for your interest and support in showing the industry that we can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.