ecomice is the hub to learn about context, experience by yourself, and show practical examples for sustainable solutions in the meetings industry. Our aim is to build a team between “buyers” of all kind and “suppliers” of meetings industry supply chains. Together, we can find solutions for a fast implementation of responsible practise. Everyone truly interested in the topic, is welcome to participate!
Vianei Hermes – is the CEO & Founder of NGO, Climate First. Sustainability Manager at Stockholm-based event agency, Hermes Group AB. He shares his views on the impact of events on our planet here. Climate First is his own initiative to help turning around the massive negative effects of buying up small farmers’ land, destroying the rain forests and mono agriculture for bigger profits.
“Right now, there’s a clear and profound change taking place across businesses around the world – the climate pledge. Companies of all sizes across different business sectors are starting to do their bit in the race against climate change: Apple will sell products with “zero climate impact” by 2030, Amazon plans to have 100,000 electric vans on the road, Volvo will only sell electric cars, Google made history as the first major company to reach carbon neutrality and is becoming one of the biggest corporate buyers of renewable energy. The list of companies goes on, covering different aspects of sustainability and including their own version of sustainable development goals (SDGs).
So, naturally, those companies wouldn’t want to be associated with un-sustainable events. They must stand for their sustainability strategies and goals which, in some cases, are now part of their products, values and culture. It’s therefore more important than ever for these companies to show customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders that they’re truly committed, especially when organizing events.
This was much simpler during the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021, when events were mostly digital. But physical events are back on the rise with a brand-new requirement: they must be as sustainable as possible.
So, how do we go from “the old norms” to “the sustainable”?
What makes an event sustainable or not? It’s certainly not a simple question to answer.
A good place to start is understanding the fundamentals of sustainability, climate change, SDG goals and the main event emissions. Ask yourself questions like: what is it that’s making a negative impact on the planet? How far have my customers come in this area? How can we contribute to their commitments? What about the social & economic aspects?
A combination of both knowledge and sustainability solutions will enable event suppliers to adapt and respond to their clients delivering more sustainable events.
Many of us are stuck on well-established environmental issues, such as the use of plastic straws, plastic in general, cutting down on meat dishes and the idea that flights are always bad. But how unsustainable is selected meat that’s coming from an organic farm nearby the hotel? How dangerous is plastic if re-used or made from recycled materials? Are flights that bad if they can use fossil free fuels? Once you start understanding sustainability, it becomes easier to find and propose solutions. We’re already seeing great leaps in technology – it’s even possible now to capture carbon from the air to become carbon neutral.
What can you do to make a bigger environmental impact at events?
Remember that every individual is responsible for their own CO2 footprint, so providing education on their personal impact is key. For example, skipping red meat at an event might feel like a positive action, but it’s more important to create an understanding about how industrial-scale red meat impacts the planet. This, in turn, could lead to an extended period of better environmental choices for attendees, and the education they gain might even be passed down to their friends and families.
Your environmental efforts could also greatly impact local communities, where events might have a high economic and social impact beyond just the initial event dates. Using more local suppliers and services will leave a positive sustainable footprint.
Don’t hold back on communication! Be transparent and honest with attendees about your event’s footprint. Communicate the actions taken to minimize, reduce and compensate for the emissions caused. The right communication will give credibility to the sustainability efforts and better engage the participants.”
Thank you Vianei, for sharing your valuable views! Good to have you as a supporting agency for sustainable programs in the community!
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. Our collaborative business model integrates all stakeholders to jointly follow the sustainable goals of the UN Agenda. We support building legacy projects (environmental and societal) and creating new programs.
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