Young professionals expect sustainability in the events industry

It was agreed during the European Forum on Sustainability that more education on sustainability at events and conference centres is needed in the events industry.

As reported by Conference & Incentive Travel, during the event held in Bruges last week, experts argued that more education was needed to highlight the benefits of sustainability to the events and conference industry.

In a video interview published on C&IT, Fiona Felham from MPI said that the big issue surrounds a lack of awareness about what sustainability actually means. “Sustainability is about good business practice, it’s about return on investment, it’s about increasing your brand reputation and your client’s reputation,” she said.

She continued: “As well as there being lots of standards, lots of checklists, lots of ways that you should be behaving, it’s really important that people understand the business benefits of sustainability.”

It’s something the industry can’t afford to ignore anymore, said Rob Davidson from the University of Westminster. He explained that there’s a generation of young professionals who have grown up with sustainability as standard. Davidson believes that a growing number of young professionals “expect to see all those things in the meetings they attend”.

“There is a perception that more sustainable meetings are more expensive meetings,” said Guy Bigwood, MCI group. According to him, people believe sustainable events are complicated and don’t have the time to implement them. Bigwood added: “Those are our two biggest challenges we have at the moment.”

Felham believes this is a growing area of interest for the industry: “I think over the next two years we will see a big difference around the level of sustainability that’s shown in events, and it’s not just around green things, it’s also around return on investment and community involvement.”