Industry must 'wise up' to key sustainability prongs, says events expert

The London 2012 Olympics galvanized the prospect of a sustainable events industry, meaning companies must now consider how social, environmental and economic factors will affect their brand.

This was stated by Rick Stainton, a managing director at events management firm Smyle, who urged his industry to “wise up” to sustainability at‘s Guide Live conference.

Mr Stainton said LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) had done more for the industry than some people may think, mainly through displaying how businesses can conform to a set of strict sustainability guidelines without this hindering their activity.

As always, one factor that could stand in the way of future planning is finance, although Mr Stainton says eco-friendly investments made by his own firm had actually saved money.  

“You may have to invest to make some of these things happen, but it pays to do so,” he said. “We reduced wood waste from our workshops and are now spending 30 per cent less on skips per month.” Mr Stainton claimed that Smyle had saved “£1,000s” by making this change.

Another change that could be made to venues for hire is a switch to energy saving lightbulbs, but there are other areas to look at when making these investments, Mr Stainton added. 

“Sustainability has three major prongs – social, environmental and economic. It affects every part of a business and provides framework within which companies can implement change and benefit financially.”

In an effort to raise awareness of this issue, Smyle has partnered with fellow event agency Sustainable Events Ltd to launch the Global Sustainable events community.

As reported by, Mr Stainton says the green forum will advertise the benefits of sustainability through online and offline campaigning in the hope to inspire “continuous development of a global sustainable event industry”. 

The first summit will take place on 24 January 2013, featuring support from key industry organisations including Eventia and London & Partners.