Event sustainability under the spotlight in new report


Corporate, conference and entertainment events are an overlooked contributor to climate change, a new report shows.

The new report – ‘a temperature check 2022-2023: an exploration of sustainable progress in the UK event industry’ – is the first of its kind globally and is aimed at helping the industry make sense of where event emissions come from and highlights how the industry can harness rich data to support businesses. This is essential knowledge to thrive in a changing climate and an evolving regulatory landscape. 

Key areas in the report include trends in event carbon emissions from TRACE; practical actions the events industry can take today, to ensure a brighter tomorrow; why the concepts of climate literacy and carbon instinct are key to business transformation against the backdrop of the climate crisis; how organisations can reframe key challenges on the path to event decarbonisation as opportunities and the rewards these can present to businesses, and how the events industry can work together to harness the power of collaborative advantage.

“The climate crisis is happening now, and action to address it must continue at pace,” Anna Abdelnoor, isla CEO & founder said. “The industry has been crying out for the insight and guidance it needs to take meaningful action to address climate change. Achieving Net Zero faces a myriad of challenges ranging from a lack of coherent policy to perceived barriers to moving from ‘business as usual’ to businesses fit for the future. This report will act as a beacon for the industry.”

isla climate strategist and report lead, Rebecca Lardeur, said: “This report breaks new ground in event data. It is so much more than a collection of facts and figures. It is a coming together of an industry that has collaborated to put sustainability into practice and ask hard questions. The report shows where we stand, potential bold steps to take and how we can start defining a future tomorrow. I feel excited to see how much progress has been made, and I am confident this report can push this dial further for the industry.”

There are different ways to approach defining your measurement boundaries and these will vary from business to business. As measurement practices become more established within teams and businesses, measurement capabilities will improve. As they do, insights will also grow, enabling organisations to improve their operating practices and reduce their emissions – the primary and most important reason for measuring.

Carbon measurement should be compliant with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol which means emissions need to be reported as Scope 1, 2 or 3. When it comes to measurement more is better. More data means more insights, which means more chance of developing meaningful impact reduction strategies. If it isn’t measured, it’s a business blind spot.

As an event owner, areas like audience travel data, material use, food choices and waste impacts would be included. As a venue, things like energy used by tenants, waste generated on-site and from any additional services offered. As a production company, things like production and packaging materials, equipment and other sold services. This requires pro-activity to improve data capture systems to incorporate measurement needs. This area is also ripe for collaboration as the same data is often required to meet the different reporting needs of each stakeholder.

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