By the end of the Sustainable Events Summit, which took place at 30 Euston Square in London, 18 February, over two-thirds of delegates surveyed (70%) said that sustainability is now non-negotiable in order to achieve a better business and more responsible events strategies.
“Sustainability is part of a concept called trust and it’s for this reason people buy from us,” said one of the speakers Dan Germain, head of creative at Innocent.
Other brands represented at the summit included Hewlett Packard, Cisco and Nestle. Around 200 events industry professionals heard Fiona Pelham, co-founder of the Summit and MD of Positive Impact, review the progress the events sector has made since last year’s inaugural event.
Pelham then launched the ‘Share A Positive Impact’ campaign, designed to encourage people to share what inspires them about an event’s approach to the economy, environment and society.
“The more we can all learn about the event industry’s impact, the more we can collaborate for the greater good,” said Pelham.
A series of morning breakout seminars then dealt with the key reasons why companies implement sustainability. These included building brand.
Inder Poonaji, Nestle’s head of safety, health and environment sustainability, said: “At Nestle, we focus on the mantra of ‘Shared Value’. Part of that means working with our supply chain to ensure positive collaboration. In Scotland for example, 64 farmers produce all the milk for the KitKats we eat. That means that 70 per cent of a KitKat’s ingredients are locally sourced”.
Other sessions discussed included driving culture change within businesses, reporting systems and measurement, and how to speak to clients about the importance of sustainability.
The Summit closed with a plenary session featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Etienne Stott MBE and Lucy Siegle, Presenter of The One Show.
Rick Stainton, MD of Smyle and co-founder of the Sustainable Events Summit 2014, said: “We are absolutely delighted by the response and engagement shown by events professionals towards driving a more sustainable industry. The Twitter feed during the Summit has been red hot and delegates have shown a real passion and understanding of the issues and their importance. The challenge now is for companies to implement what they’ve learned and drive a cultural change within their organisations. The will exists for more sustainable thinking. By next year’s Summit, we would like to start seeing real results across the industry.”
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