Environmental awareness in the event industry is on the rise! 🌱
In a recent whitepaper on sustainability for the events sector published by Unique Venues of Great Britain in cooperation with MASH Media, it was revealed that 94% of event organizers and suppliers believe that sustainability will become a key component in their decision-making strategy over the next few years.
However, the findings also show that only 48% considers their organization sustainable, and more than half of respondent states that the event industry isn’t doing enough to be sustainable or effectively prioritizing sustainability.
All in all, the desire to be more environmentally friendly is there, but when it comes to implementing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices in the event industry, there's still a lot of work to do.
In this article, we will shed some light on how the event industry is impacting the environment, and how we at Brella are currently working on giving back to our planet and offsetting carbon emissions one meeting at a time!
But before we start, let's take a closer look at what we mean by sustainability for the event industry.
94% of event organizers and suppliers believe that sustainability will become a key component in their decision-making strategy.
Sustainability for the event industry
Sustainability is commonly defined as the "development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Brundtland report, 1987)
The modern notion of sustainability is based on three dimensions - or pillars - which are known as:
- Environmental (also known as planet)
- Social (also known as people)
- Economic (also known as profits)
In the event industry, these pillars of sustainability are emphasized in the four principles of event sustainability by The Event Industry Council which provides the following description:
"Sustainability for events means taking action towards preserving our natural environment; promoting a healthy, inclusive society; and supporting a thriving economy." (Event Industry Council, 2022)
As stated above, when it comes to sustainability in the event industry there's still a lot of room for improvement, and the following numbers show exactly why.
The carbon footprint of in-person events
Studies like the Environmental Footprint of an Event have shown that the event industry is far from being carbon neutral.
Major sources of waste and greenhouse gas emissions at in-person events are - among others - transportation, food waste, energy, procurement, plastic, and paper waste.
To put this in numbers, it was calculated that a 3-day in-person conference of 1,000 attendees can produce up to 530 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
Moreover, the average in-person event wastes between 15%-20% of the food it produces, while a 3-day conference for 1,000 attendees can create up to 5,670kg of waste (out of which 4% ends up in landfills).
To top that off, based on a study conducted by MeetGreen an average on-site attendee produces around 170 kilograms of CO2 emissions per day.
The good news is that event organizers have become more environmentally aware and they're now willing and ready to take all the right steps for a greener future of events.
So, how can event organizers plan more sustainable events that will encompass all three pillars of sustainability?
In one of our previous articles, we covered 4 effective strategies to plan sustainable in-person events every event organizer should be aware of. However, the current state of the climate crisis calls for bolder and louder actions from organizers and event suppliers alike.
This was our response!
Meetings that bloom into trees
At the beginning of June 2022, we announced our partnership with One Tree Planted.
One Tree Planted is a nonprofit on a mission to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees through partnerships with local communities and knowledgeable experts. One Tree Planted operates all around the globe to rebuild forests after fires and floods, provide jobs for social impact, and restore biodiversity.
Brella's partnership with One Tree Planted is designed to involve event organizers and all Brella’s users in global reforestation one meeting at a time - the rules are really simple: for every 10 meetings scheduled through our networking tool, one tree will be planted.
10 meetings = 1 tree 🌳
Our reforestation project takes place in South East Asia where we are working with One Tree Planted to restore the local mangrove forests.
But what are mangroves and why are they so important to the environment?
Mangroves are tropical trees that thrive in salty waters and play a vital role in tropical and subtropical Asian ecosystems. They grow where the ocean meets land and, thanks to their dense roots, protect the coastlines by filtering pollutants from the water and reducing coastal erosion. Moreover, mangroves protect vulnerable communities from rising sea levels and storm surges.
Since June, we have accomplished incredible results with the joint effort of many amazing event organizers and networkers - but before we get to our outstanding achievements, we want to share a few words on why reforestation matters and why it is crucial to counteract climate change.
Did you know that mangroves are the only species of trees in the world that can tolerate saltwater?
The importance of reforestation
With the latest record-breaking heatwaves and natural catastrophes devastating the environment and communities around the globe, bolder actions are now more urgent than ever.
Reforestation is unanimously recognized by scientists as one of the top solutions to the climate crisis and as an impactful way of supporting each of the three pillars of sustainability (environmental, social, and economic).
Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, therefore contributing to the environmental pillar of sustainability.
Trees also provide tremendous social impacts by creating jobs for over 1.6 billion people, empowering women in underdeveloped nations, and supporting communities devastated by environmental damage, therefore contributing to both the social and economic pillars of sustainability.
A forest born from networking
Last August, we published a video update on the state of our reforestation mission.
It was a memorable moment for us as in less than three months we were able to restore 552,000 sq. ft of forest (10 football fields) and offset over 1,100 metric tons of carbon emissions.
If you haven't watched it yet, don't miss the video below! 🎥
But the best is yet to come!
For the past months, we've held our breath as the number of 1:1 meetings scheduled through Brella rises every day.
And today, we're beyond proud to announce that, since June 2022, over 53,000 1:1 meetings were scheduled through Brella for a total of +5,300 trees (807,293 sq. ft of new forest)!
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the help of our clients. In the past months, we were blown away and humbled by the enthusiasm and commitment of the tireless event organizers who have gone above and beyond to boost intent-based networking and promote the importance of sustainability & reforestation at their events.
Their phenomenal work has paid off, and we couldn't be any happier to see them celebrate their stellar achievements with their audience post-event!
You can take a look at the example below by our partner TechBBQ.
4,560 meetings at TechBBQ will bloom into 456 new mangroves, so big congrats to the wonderful event team and their keen networkers!
When it comes to ESG practices in the event industry, there's still a lot of room for improvement and, given the current state of the climate crisis, the situation calls for bigger and louder actions from event organizers and suppliers alike.
At Brella, we've decided to give back to the planet as we do best: by facilitating networking and turning 1:1 meetings into trees. So, for every 10 meetings scheduled through our networking tool, one tree will be planted.
We're still amazed by the incredible results we were able to achieve since June 2022. Thanks to the joint effort of event organizers and enthusiastic networkers, +53,000 meetings will give birth to +5,300 mangroves in South East Asia (a total of 807,293 sq. ft of new forest), and this number is rising every day.
Are you dreaming of hosting a successful event that will give birth to plenty of meaningful connections and trees?
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