A panel of experts joined M&IT editor Paul Harvey to dive into what sustainability looks like in The Next Normal on the latest M&IT webinar.
The audience heard from Andy King, co-founder of zero-waste event company Inward Point and widely known for featuring in Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary, Anna Abdelnoor, co-founder of industry sustainability body isla, Anita Howard, founder of the ICE Awards, and Wesley Mendy, founder of The Sustainable Events Show.
The panel discussed the polluting reality of the events industry and conjured solutions and ideas to combat the waste produced by events.
Andy King kicked off the webinar with a reminder that event planners have a duty to direct the sustainability agenda. He said: "It's our job to inspire clients to make better choices."
Anita Howard added that the sustainability agenda is hotting up across the events industry and planners are no longer considering it an afterthought. “The original question was ‘why should corporate planners bother?’ but the question now is ‘how do we do it?’" Howard added.
As the discussion progressed, Anna Abdelnoor made the pertinent point, one that is circulating now more than ever with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) event taking place in Glasgow. She explained that “when we look back at major moments in history, we want we were on the right side of it.”
She added that sustainability is equal to efficiency. On a global scale, it may seem like it's costing a lot more, but sustainability starts with reducing what we currently use, reusing and recycling; all of which are alternatives to spending on new materials.
“There is absolutely going to be cost with addressing global sustainability, but we need to reframe it as ‘making the sustainable choice is making the efficient choice.’ We talk so much about alternative materials that cost more, but actually, it’s just looking at how we can be more efficient in our planning, stripping back our budgets and saying, ‘what do we actually need?’”.
Check out what else the panel of experts had to say here.
A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.