Let’s face it – the corporate events industry is not the most environmentally friendly sector, particularly when it comes to overseas events. There is a clear lack of discussion of Asia’s event industry’s ‘carbon footprint’ and ways to reduce it.
It is clear that unsustainable patterns of behaviour, whether by individuals or corporations, cannot continue at the current rate. However there is much confusion about what to do about it and where to start. The answer of course is: somewhere! Anywhere!
At EventClicks we’ve decided to look at ourselves first. Are we recycling enough? Do we say ‘no’ to the unnecessary use of plastic? Are we politely declining the piles of sales kits offered by hotels, pointing out that the information is readily available online? Despite our request for the building management company to introduce a recycling program or reduce the central air-conditioning leve, we were met with a very clear and firm: “Cannot!”
On the upside however, there is often a ‘different’ way to do things in Asia; our cleaning lady for example was delighted with the opportunity of making a few extra dollars through selling our recyclable paper!
The next step is to ask ourselves if there is a ‘greener’ way of doing things at the events we’re producing. Can we re-use more items or encourage recycling of garbage? Use non-toxic construction materials? Introduce creative ‘green’ packaging solutions? Consider more energy efficient forms of transportation? Are we making full use of on-line channels for such tasks as: registration, housing management, delegate invitation and communication, and pre- and post-event surveys?
The last step, and in some ways the most challenging, is to take such ideas to our clients, providing them with the opportunity to ‘opt-in’ to greener practices. We are currently looking at how we can provide clients in Asia with the opportunity to purchase carbon credits to offset the emissions from air travel to their event. The funds from such credits are then in-turn used to support energy efficient projects and research.
It’s not about ‘getting it right’, or about appearing hypocritical given the industry we are in. It’s about admitting that we are part of the problem – particularly those in developed economies. We simply need to acknowledge that it’s in our best interests to just jump in and ‘do our bit’ as part of the solution.