Association Event Manager March 2019 - Page 8

ABPCO 8 March 2019 The road to a more sustainable future Through a close working partnership with Positive Impact, ABPCO is taking a leading role in the conference industry’s battle to become more sustainable ustainability is a very broad topic with all manner of definitions, opinions and potential solutions. This in turn means that although the principal of sustainability is considered a good thing by the majority of people, it also means it can be quite a decisive topic. Any gathering of individuals will have opinions on what should be the top priority and how each issue should be solved. Some will want to start with the financial elements believing there is no point working on others until we can afford them. Some will want to sort the education elements ensuring there is global understanding of sustainability, without which change cannot occur. And some will have a single issue that they see as the silver bullet, an issue that needs resolving this week if we have any chance of long-term survival on this planet. ABPCO’s work with Positive Impact has been looking at these issues, working together as a membership-based organisation to see where we can create genuine change for the good of all. Our executive team have attended major educational events such as the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) workshop in Paris, where attendees focused on @Leveraging Sustainable Procurement Practices to Transform Tourism Value Chains.” We have sought advice and knowledge from the likes of Positive Impact and we have done our own research. Most importantly though we adhered to our core values of belonging, excellence and learning, we brought our members together and debated issues to create priorities and a sustainability road map for our industry. The first and most important concept that came from our work on the subject of sustainability was our industry’s potential impact and ability to reach wider audiences. We can make changes to our own practices and attitudes – such changes will not happen overnight but making our events more sustainable is in effect a process. It requires us to look closely at each element of what we do, consider it in terms of the wider sustainability needs of the event itself, the organisers, the industry and ultimately the planet. However, our work cannot and should not stop there. An event is one of the most powerful learning and educational opportunities available to us. Therefore, we shouldn’t just do the sustainability work in the background. Instead we need to shout about it, let our delegates understand what we are doing but most importantly educate them as to the reasons why. Every event that works with sustainability in mind should inject a session, discussion, round table debate or presentation on sustainability to create a legacy and wider understanding of the issues at play. Through our own activity and our ability to create change amongst others we believe our industry can and should make significant changes in the following three areas. It is worth noting that these are just three of a much wider list of goals identified by the UN. However, these are three where changes can happen fast and effectively whilst maximising our strengths: Responsible production and consumption – from travel and accommodation to food, av, lanyards and exhibition stands events consume a disproportionately large amount of resources. As organisers we need to question everything we consume, identify whether it is needed in the first place, whether it can be sourced more