Insight: Issue 70 (10th November)
COP26 rages on and we’ve got sustainability on the brain!
Today we’re sharing: a COP26 round-up; a podcast proposing a unified plan to cut carbon across the events industry; 3 things to know about engaging employees in sustainability initiatives; all the details about the upcoming Sustainable Events Show; insight into Lady Gaga’s hybrid concert, streamed to 21 locations worldwide; and a sustainable substitute for single-use set dressing (spoiler alert: it’s plants).
COP26: mistakes made and lessons learned
First up, the obligatory COP26 update! We’re entering the last three days of the climate summit now, and the mood among those involved in the talks is said to be generally positive – but away from the negotiating rooms, activists and grassroots delegates are telling a very different story. The most visible issue has obviously been the huge queues that have formed outside the SEC as delegates attempt to get into the conference venue.
The difficulty and expense of getting to Glasgow in the first place – combined with the prohibitive queues faced by those who did make it – has meant many people (and, indeed, entire countries) have been absent from the conversation. Add COVID to the mix, with 25,000 delegates having to show proof of negative tests to security guards, and progress slows even further. Organisers started to encourage delegates to access events remotely wherever possible, although many complained about experiencing technical problems with the remote viewing system, too.
The UN Climate Change Secretariat has apologised for the ‘inconveniences associated with accessing the venue of COP26, both physically and virtually’ – encouraging people to bear in mind that the summit is taking place under ‘exceptional and unprecedented’ circumstances because of COVID. More on the story here.
Events industry needs unified plan to cut carbon
As governments and industries from around the globe discuss the strides they’ve made towards reducing their carbon footprints, you may be wondering – where does the events industry stand? EVENTSBASE spoke to Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact Events, for their latest episode of Eventful: The Podcast for Meeting Professionals, to discuss progress made to date and the challenges that lie ahead. Among the topics covered were:
- What is COP26 and why should it be important to meeting professionals? (1:50)
- What net zero means, and the significance of pledging to achieve net zero by a given date (3:00)
- How the Race to Zero lets small- to medium-size businesses make a commitment and provide the resources needed to get there (6:00)
- Where meetings industry associations stand on unifying members behind climate initiatives (8:20)
- How simply making a commitment helps the events industry at large (11:35)
- Why this is a difficult topic for the travel and events sector (12:10)
- How to help us advance as an industry by asking your suppliers to make the net-zero pledge (21:13)
- Why sustainability awards and designations don’t do anything to raise the profile of our sector in business and government (22:25)
- What needs to happen for in-person events to exist in a net-zero future (25:10)
You can listen to the full conversation here (or read this summary article if you’re in a hurry!).
3 ways to engage employees in sustainability
As if protecting the planet wasn’t enough of a motivator – according to a recent study by the National Environmental Education Foundation, almost 90% of employees who are engaged in their company’s sustainability actions say it enhances their job satisfaction and improves their overall feelings about the company. It can be challenging, however, for employers to know where to begin with getting staff more involved in sustainability initiatives. TriplePundit has three suggestions:
- Foster cross-departmental communication to build employee engagement. By creating ‘green teams’ – composed of employees from across the organisation who are passionate about supporting the company’s environmental efforts – you’ll be giving a voice to employees, providing an outlet to share their concerns, and driving change internally
- Keep your employees informed. As interest in climate and environmental justice grows, it’s important to keep your employees in the know. Make sure to shout about the sustainability work you’re already doing, as well as asking for their input on how you can improve together.
- Meet your employees where they are. By this they mean – be flexible, and avoid a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Not everyone has the same strengths and interests, so it’s vital to match your sustainability programming to the specific passions and skillsets of your people.
The Barbican to host Sustainable Events Show
Now, something for the diary! The Sustainable Events Show – an exhibition showcasing the wares and services of 80 eco-conscious event companies – will take place on Thursday 25 November at the Barbican in London. The carbon neutral show will have exhibitor rooms split across three zones – event venues, event services, and event tech – alongside a programme of seminars run by industry experts. All in, the expo will be a wealth of insight and guidance on producing environmentally friendly events that align with Isla, the industry’s advisory body on sustainability.
If that sounds like your kind of thing, you can register for the event here.
Lady Gaga hybrid concert streamed worldwide
Next up, what’s more sustainable than a world tour?…A streamed one! A Lady Gaga concert has been streamed to 21 shopping centres worldwide, in a partnership between the singer and shopping centre operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
As part of the partnership, shoppers were able to access her new album, Love for Sale, before its official release; celebrate at ‘Fan Zones’ in 21 Westfield centres in 12 countries (across the US, UK, and Europe); and interact with Gaga-inspired content displays on massive media screens. The concert required video signals to be transmitted from the US to the various event locations, with live images also streamed from one event location to another via satellite. Ahh, the healing power of hybrid events.
Plants = the best sustainable decor choice?
And a little bit of inspo to finish us off – Conference News shared this article on why plants are the best sustainable event decor choice. It might sound obvious (plants = sustainable…duh!) but it’s easy to overlook the fact that single-use set dressing is one of the events industry’s biggest sustainability sticking points. So this is your gentle reminder that live planting displays are an easy and eco-friendly substitute – with the added benefit of making your event instantly Instagrammable.