The UK Events Summit, taking place at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester on 15th December, in the shadow of the COP26 Summit, is placing a major focus on the sustainability (or lack of it) of major events. A survey, conducted by event organiser, Major Events International showed that 62% of UK event organisers and their suppliers felt that the industry was “behind the curve” when it came to addressing sustainability issues.
“This surprised me a little” explains COO Andy Rice, “I had always felt that sports and music event organisers were ‘on the ball’ when it came to trying to be sustainable- perhaps they are more self-critical than I thought, or perhaps they are ‘aware’ of the issues, but are unhappy about what the industry is doing to address them. In order to play our part, we are working hard to address the issue at our own event. We have joined the Shambala co-founded Ecolibrium Group to help raise awareness that it is actually ‘travel to the event’ that creates the main carbon footprint of an event. Ecolibrium provide a web travel carbon calculator. Fans and Festival-goers select their destination event from a dropdown list and plug in wherever they’re travelling from to calculate the associated carbon emissions from that journey, as well as the cost for balancing that journey with Ecolibrium. The travel carbon calculator app is available to download for free from Google Play or the Apple store - just search for Ecolibrium.
Tim Smith, managing director of event impact and legacy specialists EventID reiterated the importance of building momentum "Hosting major events in an ethical and sustainable manner has emerged as top priority for host cities and event organisers. The industry is moving forward but we are still some way off achieving truly sustainable event organisation at scale. We look forward to discussing this crucial topic with delegates at the UK Events Summit."
The Summit has a dedicated panel devoted to event sustainability, featuring the new E-Bike GP Series and the Eco-friendly Shambala Festival. It is sponsored by Cube Modular. CEO Brandon Kelley explains “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Summit’s panel devoted to event sustainability. One of our company missions includes helping to find solutions for the events industry to reduce carbon emissions from travel and transport. Through our modular, multifunctional portable buildings, which includes the award-winning Continest containers, we offer one of the most, if not the most, mobile and sustainable temporary portable building solution in the modular accommodation industry. We are continually focusing our activities on devising solutions to protect the environment, reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the challenges presented by climate change, thus making sustainability a natural and integral part of our business.”
‘You. Smart. Thing.’ which enables venues and events to provide bespoke routing and personalised guidance on accessible and sustainable travel, currently working with Coventry UK City of Culture and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, is also sponsoring a panel to raise the profile of this issue. CEO, Chris Thompson commented, “The promotion of pop-up cycle hire hubs on the UK City of Culture’s online travel assistant helped us influence visitor behaviour. We achieved a shift from the national average for cultural events to 55% of people opting for active travel modes, a step-change that benefits us all.”
“We’re doing what we can” explains Rice- walking the walk, as well as talking the talk, “we have even partnered with Pokito re-cyclable cups and will be asking our delegates to wash their own cups to avoid unnecessary waste!”
Details of the event, which is free for rights-holding event organisers, can be found at www.meisummits.com
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Figure 1: ‘Coventry UK City of Culture visitor modal split to Q3 2021’ - Data chart which can optionally be used to illustrate the article