Pioneering Sustainable Events with Technology and Expert Insights
Jul 5, 2023 8:45:09 AM
6Connex recently hosted a thought-provoking webinar, "Raising the Bar: Achieving Sustainable Events through Innovative Technologies and Expert Insights," co-hosted by MUSE (Members United for Sustainable Events). It brought a distinguished panel of industry experts and thought leaders together to explore the intersection of technology and sustainability in event planning. Passionate advocates for sustainability in events who shared their valuable knowledge and insights to help viewers create greener, more impactful events.
The webinar featured a lineup of esteemed speakers, including Michele Fox, Founder of MUSE, Lara Mehanna, Founder of Why Not Sustainable, Eduardo Lebre, Founder of Circular Unity; and our very own Luiz Martins, CMO of 6Connex. Together, these experts shed light on the importance of adopting innovative strategies and leveraging technology to achieve sustainable event goals.
Throughout the webinar, participants gained access to cutting-edge strategies, innovative tools, and real-world best practices that demonstrated how technology can be harnessed to create sustainable events. The panelists engaged in an interactive Q&A session, addressing specific questions and challenges, ensuring that attendees left the event equipped with the knowledge and inspiration to raise the bar and make a positive impact on the environment through their future events.
But before we get into the technical stuff, let’s cover some basics…
Sustainability is a principle that involves balancing our current needs with those of future generations. It's about creating an equilibrium between environmental protection, economic growth, and social equity. Strategies for achieving sustainability include adopting renewable energy, reducing waste, promoting plant-based diets, and implementing policies to control population growth. The goal is to ensure that the resources and conditions we enjoy today remain available for future generations.
In the context of sustainability, these three pillars are interdependent, meaning that they need to be balanced and considered together to achieve truly sustainable outcomes. These pillars are also known as profits, planet, and people.
It's all about taking care of our world so it can take care of us, now and in the future. It's smart energy use, like choosing wind or solar over fossil fuels. It's eco-friendly farming that loves our soil and biodiversity. It's saying yes to recycling and no to unnecessary waste. It's driving less, biking more, and cheering on electric vehicles. And it's policies that care as much about our environment as our economy. Simply put, sustainability is us being the best stewards of our world for today and tomorrow.
Being sustainable comes with a host of benefits, including:
For instance, 6Connex partnered with WSP and conducted a study on the environmental impact of pivoting from an in-person event to a virtual one. In one case, a customer converted their 1-day, 9,000+ attendee event into a virtual event format, resulting in a total saving of 3,406 carbon emissions. This is equivalent to saving 4,173 acres of US forest—a significant achievement.
Our event technology platform and in-person mobile event apps have helped many businesses save on carbon emissions and minimize their environmental impact while still providing an engaging event experience to their attendees.
Sustainable technology refers to technology that can harness the power of nature with renewable energy tech. They're all about making the world a better place.
We gained some top tips from the sustainability expert Michele Fox, Founder of MUSE (Members United for Sustainable Events as she answered some of our attendees' top questions during the webinar.
The issue is with “single-use” plastics. It’s okay to use reusable plastics, like reusable cups, of course (like TURN). Have a water station instead of water bottles like Wallop Water. Some great plastic alternative ideas include single-use cutlery or plates made of bamboo, fallen palm leaf, or bagasse. Ensure to compost or recycle any materials that can be instead of throwing them in a landfill.
Other plastic alternatives include reusable straws, biodegradable organic cotton bags, borosilicate glass bottles, reusable sandwich and snack bags, and reusable cotton tea bags, just to name a few. These items are great alternatives for reducing single-use plastic waste.
One of the main reasons often cited is the need for more time faced by busy event producers. Juggling multiple responsibilities and tight timelines can make it challenging to prioritize sustainability efforts. However, the key is to recognize the importance of starting early in the planning process. By incorporating sustainability from the beginning, event producers can overcome time constraints and seamlessly integrate sustainable practices.
In our e-book, "How Sustainability is Shaping the Future of Events," Michelle provides valuable advice, emphasizing the significance of acknowledging that most people are new to sustainability and that we all begin at a similar starting point. An easy first step is engaging in conversations with vendors and suppliers to explore the sustainable options they already offer, such as reusable dishware instead of single-use plastics.
Another significant obstacle is the need for more awareness about available resources. Networking with other event planners within the industry can be tremendously beneficial in this regard. In our sustainability e-book, Mercedes M. Hunt, Ph.D., Director of Energy and Sustainability at Marriott International emphasizes the abundance of amazing resources at our fingertips. Connecting with experienced professionals in the field allows for learning, idea-sharing, and avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel.
Here at 6Connex, our technology is designed with sustainability at its core. As a fully remote company, we have already reduced the environmental impact of daily commutes. Our platform further extends this commitment to sustainability by enabling organizations worldwide to host virtual, hybrid, and in-person events, thereby significantly reducing the carbon footprint associated with each event format.
To quantify the positive impact of our sustainability efforts, 6Connex has partnered with WSP, an ISO 14001-certified earth and environmental science firm, to estimate the carbon emissions avoided by using our platform. This commitment to sustainability is not just about reducing carbon emissions but also about promoting environmentally friendly practices in the event industry. In essence, our technology is a powerful tool for organizations looking to make their events more sustainable and reduce their overall environmental impact.
MUSE serves as a valuable hub of sustainable resources, offering a wealth of content and a Sustainable Vendor Directory with over 550 suppliers. This directory consolidates various sustainable options, ranging from reusable drinkware to carbon offsetting and sustainable venues. By joining MUSE, event producers gain access to a comprehensive array of resources conveniently gathered in one place.
Overcoming these challenges requires a proactive approach and a willingness to explore available resources and networks. By starting early, engaging with vendors, and leveraging the support of organizations like MUSE, event producers can confidently embark on their sustainability journey. Together, we can drive change and shape a future where sustainability becomes an integral part of every event.
By implementing these low-hanging fruits, you can make immediate strides toward a more sustainable event. Remember, even small changes can have a significant cumulative impact. By starting early, engaging with vendors, and aligning with sustainable-minded partners, you will be on the right path to creating an event that reflects your commitment to sustainability.
Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires collective efforts and social collaboration. By engaging in collaborative initiatives, events can make a significant contribution to the attainment of SDGs. Here are some ideas on how to achieve SDGs through social collaboration:
Exploring collaborations with non-profit organizations can yield invaluable insights and success stories. For instance, the interview with the Executive Director of the Council for Responsible Sport delves into major sports events collaborating with non-profit organizations. Learning from these experiences can inspire event planners to develop similar partnerships and create meaningful change within their own events.
By leveraging social collaboration and embracing these ideas, events can make tangible progress toward achieving SDGs. Through collaboration with local organizations, schools, and nonprofits, events can contribute to sustainability, social well-being, and community development.
Sustainability can yield significant returns on investment (ROI), as shown by several compelling case studies found on MeetGreen:
These cases demonstrate that sustainable practices can both protect the environment and benefit businesses. To learn more about how sustainability can drive ROI, read more here and be sure to click "Read the Case Study" to see the full PDF versions.
Conferences for Women, a female-led leadership company based in Philadelphia, PA, USA, made significant strides in reducing their carbon footprint when using the 6Connex event management platform. Their one-day event, which attracted 8,796 attendees, demonstrated the potential of virtual events in terms of both environmental and cost savings.
The virtual event resulted in a total emission of 84 mtCO2e, a stark contrast to the 2,331 mtCO2e that would have been emitted by a physical event. This means that the virtual event saved a total of 2,247 mtCO2e in emissions.
To put these savings into perspective, transforming this event from in-person to virtual is equivalent to preserving 2,753 acres of US forests. This demonstrates the significant potential of virtual events in reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future.
As a result of these staggering statistics, the company has decided to continue offering virtual components in their future events. Read our full report here.
Find more valuable resources from Lara Mehanna, Founder of Why Not Sustainable, and Michele Fox, Founder of MUSE.
“By replacing or removing just 1 kg’s worth of plastic products/day from your sales, you would be diverting the equivalent of 10,000 small plastic water bottles from landfill/year!”
Here is a challenge you can join for Plastic Free July as a business or individual to measure your plastic footprint and take steps to replace placing plastic. Free group coaching calls will be available for assistance, sharing your experience, and suggestions.
By embracing sustainable technology, collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations, and implementing best practices, we have the power to transform the events landscape and contribute to a sustainable future. Let's carry forward the inspiration and lessons learned, working together to create a brighter, more sustainable events industry together.
Ready to explore how 6Connex’s sustainable technology can revolutionize your events? Schedule a consultation with us and discover how our innovative solutions can help you achieve your sustainability goals. Let's make a positive impact on the environment and create unforgettable, sustainable events.
Missed the webinar? No worries! We have made all the content available on demand here or click below to learn more from the experts that are pioneering the sustainability industry.