Looking to get ahead of the curve and plan your roadmap to producing more sustainable events in 2024? Look no further, here are our team's expertly informed predictions for the year ahead.
Environmental sustainability prediction: more measurement of emissions and waste produced through event delivery and business operations.
When it comes to environmental sustainability, emissions and waste measurement will become far more expected of businesses. From a competitive advantage perspective, your clients want to see a tangible commitment to sustainability, which means understanding your impact and how you can reduce it. According to a study by SmartestEnergy, 81% of people prefer to buy from sustainable sellers.
The sooner that emissions and waste measurement begins in your business, the better. Every business will produce some sort of emissions or waste, and it's important that event planners and suppliers start to understand where their emissions come from to be able to plan to reduce them. For corporate event planners, your organisations are likely setting sustainability targets now, if they haven’t already, and your event emissions will be a big part of that measurement capture process. For agencies and suppliers, it is more likely that your customers, both current and prospective, will be making their own sustainability commitments, and expecting you to work within their requirements and goals for sustainability, as it will be part of their organisation’s emissions.
This means that your business needs to understand their current standings, goals for the future and exactly how they will achieve these goals. When working with our clients, after auditing their business, we formalise their sustainability policies, goals, and the action plan to achieve them. We then work to create some sustainable stories to tell that do an excellent job of communicating sustainability activities to clients, new business, and their wider industry to showcase their commitments.
Social sustainability prediction: higher expectation for inclusivity and accessibility.
In the last quarter of 2023, we saw an increased number of events, discussions, and articles focussing on the social element of ESG (environmental, social and governance sustainability) with great importance. This re-focussing is going to be key to us achieving worldwide sustainability goals, with many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals focussing on social issues like hunger, poverty and the provision of quality education that is accessible to all.
The consideration of social sustainability will be a much more prominent feature when analysing an event’s sustainability credibility. Delegates want to attend events, and it is paramount that an event is accessible to them. We must start with understanding our audience's needs and expectations to be able to design an event that considers the people first.
Some ways that you can start being more accessible with your events is by better spacing out your event programme to ensure adequate processing time is available between sessions, providing quiet rooms away from busy exhibition halls, investing in providing captioning and transcription services, and ensuring you do a full walk-through of your event from the perspective of different attendees with different needs. We predict that this year, we will see a lot more innovations in this space, and an increased uptake of these considerations being insisted on by clients, as awareness of neurodiversity and accessibility is at an all-time high.
Governance sustainability prediction: new policies and standards.
We predict that with governmental influence, carbon emission measurements and waste measurements will become vital to the next stage of managing climate change. Company policies have been set, statements have been made, and 2024 will be the year where businesses prioritise their measurements. When your clients or your business leaders come to you as the event planner to start measuring the emissions of their events, they will lean on you for expertise and knowledge in this realm to know that they can trust the data being recorded. For event professionals though, this is a lot of responsibility, which is why we recommend chatting with a sustainability consultant for guidance, at any stage of the journey.
With coalitions like the Carbon Accounting Alliance lobbying policymakers for more robust standards to be set, 2024 will be the year that businesses, on a much bigger scale, make commitments to measuring their emissions and taking the time and making the investment in understanding it.