Archive for May, 2010

Steering Committee Meeting

Monday, May 24th, 2010

We had a very useful meeting with members of the Greening Events Steering Committee  last week.  It has been the first time we have been able to get the group together so a large part of the meeting was updating on progress to date.  The project has two main strands 1. A prototype systemic impact analysis methodology to assess the sustainability impacts of events 2. Use of technologies to help minimise the negative impacts.

There were some interesting discussions about the nature and value of  events (both physical and virtual).  Paul Shabajee (project analyst) has noted a seeming lack of research on academic events as a subject in its own right – if anyone is aware of any research literature in this area please let us know.

Phil Cross (technical researcher) gave a demonstration of the software tools being used on the project.  The  tools are currently being tested with JISC Digital Media workshop delegates and will be iteratively developed based on feedback from these delegates.

The  committee provided really useful feedback on possible future directions for the project and dissemination channels.

Sustainable Events Summit 2010, London

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The Sustainable Events Summit 2010 was held in London on Monday (19 April 2010). It’s an industry event “for industry professionals to discuss and debate the current state of play in sustainable events”. Paul attended and has written up notes of the meeting.

sustainable events summit

A few high level points from those notes:

  • There is a lot of activity around sustainable events, exemplified by the development over the last few years of BS8901 (BS standard for Sustainability Management Systems for Events) and its movement towards becoming an ISO standard ISO 20121 (Sustainability in Event Management) and the growing business ecosystem around providing sustainable events services
  • Large events and associated organisations who are talking sustainability seriously like the 2012 London Olympics are driving a lot of innovation in practice and thinking across and down their supply chains. Public sector (and other Corporate) procurement processes and requirements may increasingly play a part in moving the industry forward in the direction of sustainable practices.
  • The use of video conferencing and other virtual presence technologies in the context of larger events is still relatively poorly supported and understood. The point was made by Paul Dickinson of the Carbon Disclosure Project that we have only really just started to use and develop even long standing technologies like video conferencing and have a lot to learn about how we can use it effectively. [The event itself was streamed live (for free) for the first time, although there was no Wi-Fi for delegates.]
  • While there is a good deal of interest in making events more sustainable amongst some events organisation companies, venues, etc. from the events industry. However in general customers, i.e. those commissioning the events, are not asking for sustainability as a key selection criteria – a point that correlates with our conversations with other venue managers.
  • It was clear throughout the event that more sustainable practices were in general associated with financial cost savings, be it less waste to dispose of, less material to purchase or lower energy bills.
  • While climate change and measuring carbon footprints were key issues the social and economic sides of sustainable development were also well represented.

Overall – A good event, especially for getting an overview of the state-of-the-art and thinking in the UK (it was a UK centric event) and as a congregation place for people with interests in sustainability issues and events from (primarily) the events industry.

Overarching thoughts? Sustainability issues are increasingly being taken seriously in the context of events but still by a relatively small number of people and organisations, are we on a cusp of a dramatic upturn in interest and development of good practice? I’d like to think so.