Why Sustainable Events are More Important than Ever (Plus 5 Ways to Plan Greener)
The focus on sustainability in the world of corporate events will only continue to increase, according to CWT Meetings & Events. In the new M&E Future Trends Report bonus feature, The Future of Sustainable Events, CWT provides insights into the state of the industry and offers tips on how organizations can embed responsible business practices into meetings and events.
“Having a responsible business approach and company culture is ever more important as employees and consumers want to be associated with a brand that reflects their values,” said Ian Cummings, vice president EMEA, CWT Meetings & Events. “Meetings and events are a great way to articulate that as they can have a very strong influence and social impact on a destination and local communities.”
According to the Future Trends Report, the global meetings and events industry is estimated at $840 billion — and is growing at a steady 8 percent. Between 25 and 30 percent of marketing budgets are spent on live events each year. That provides a significant opportunity for responsible businesses to work towards more sustainable events.
With environmental activism on the rise, and protests being held in many common meeting destinations, it’s impossible to ignore the issues. Initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are also raising awareness. The 17 goals are a call to action to work together to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. With a deadline of 2030, there is just a decade left to meet these goals.
Companies are employing various initiatives, including offsetting air miles with carbon, eliminating plastic waste, opting for locally-sourced and produced food and drinks, and choosing ethical suppliers. But is that enough?
“The sustainability of the meetings and events industry, in fact of the entire travel industry, is at the forefront of companies’ and planners’ minds in 2020,” said Derek Sharp, senior vice president and managing director, CWT Meetings & Events. “It’s driven by news coverage of climate change but, more importantly, it’s supported by the next generation of travelers – the millennials who are poised to become the biggest group of business travelers globally from 2024 onwards, and the centennials who are right behind them.
Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey 2019 has found that climate change is the greatest concern for this generation, and that if their work environment (or, by extension, the events they attend) doesn’t match their beliefs they will find one that does.
“These are people for whom travel has become commonplace and accessible in a way that it wasn’t for older generations,” said Sharp. “They want to continue meeting in popular destinations, but they are also hyper aware of the need to adopt sustainable practices that respect the environment and local communities wherever they go.”
This infographic from CWT offers five tips to help you keep sustainability in mind as you plan your next event.
To get a copy of the full CWT M&E Future Trends Report with The Future of Sustainable Events bonus feature, go here.