Events can be sustainable too!
Sustainability, carbon-neutrality, equity and ESG are very popular topics in our industry. Whether or not your organization has shared an environmental statement or has had to respond to your carbon footprint in a bid for work, these trends continue to show up in everything from vendor selection to ratings on job boards for potential employees. As such, it is no surprise that big events are also looking to showcase their programs to potential attendees.
Case in point is the World of Concrete, our industry’s largest annual trade show, and an event I have attended for decades. Just recently, the show organizers shared via email, “The World of Concrete Commitment to Sustainability.” The email details their pledge to inspire sustainable development, run an environmentally responsible event, as well as operate a socially responsible event. I applaud World of Concrete for taking this step, as it paves the way for the rest of the industry to follow suit.
You may ask how such a declaration applies to you and here are a few ideas:
Reduce paper and waste! It is hard to make a case of sustainability if you killed a small forest with paper handouts. Explore options for sharing information using QR codes or follow-up via email.
Eliminate the trinkets that will likely end up in landfill! Opt instead for giveaways that will be used for a long time or are consumable. Or consider donating to a charity instead of purchasing booth swag and let booth visitors know of your decision.
Be selective about the food you offer. Package it in reusable or compostable containers, select a local/seasonal vendor, and be sure to allow attendees to select their meals, when possible, to eliminate waste. Then, have a plan for donating what is left!
Create options for car-pooling, use of e-bikes, or public transportation to lessen the automobile impact.
Include diversity in your planning committee. Be sure to consider having accessible options for presentations and activities, as well as a forum for feedback related to DEI initiatives.
As a final thought, World of Concrete states on their show site that they are evolving and will play a role in helping the market improve its own sustainability. How will your event help shape our industry?