Why sustainability is so important
What is sustainability really?
All of these examples on the left are correct; with the common thread being that our sustainability impacts everything around us. It impacts our daily lives, our transport systems and our access and availability of food and water. It impacts both our own direct environment and those of other people, communities and countries. It impacts the climate, weather, extreme weather intensity and frequency and species extinction rate. Above all, it impacts the future generations.
What organisations and businesses sometimes forget is that sustainability and the effects that it has, also impact them and their business. The sustainability of an organisation impacts customer attraction, event participant attendance, business deals and the cost of running the business.
Your customers and event participants want sustainability
Sustainability is a major trend and increases company attractiveness. For customers and employees, being part of an organisation that is invested in sustainability, gives them that feel-good feeling (Houlihan & Harvey, Entrepreneur, 2018). It shows that the organisation cares about people and the environment. According to Eventbrite (2020), in 2019 only 6% of respondents said that “environmental responsibility impacted their events”; versus an increase to 59% in 2020.
In the past, having environment, social and governance (ESG) as an aspect of your business, was usually only for competitive differentiation (Gianfranco Lanci, Forbes 2021). However, prioritising both the people and the planet are now a necessity in today’s world.
COVID-19 shifted the working culture, showing that it was possible for people to work from home without affecting their productivity (DeMers, Emailanalytics, n.d.; Fitzell, 2022). One of the major outcomes of the pandemic and our forced shift to working from home, is the increased awareness of mental and physical wellbeing (Fitzell, 2022).
Fitzell (2022) mentions that it is important to have the ability to work from home so that those who are for example, neurodivergent, introverted, disabled or work better outside of the office, have the ability to do so. This means that you are helping to create an inclusive environment.
Aside from home working being more inclusive, it is also a solution for those who have to commute long distances. Rather than spending 2 hours+ traveling to work/ event, they can get more rest, have breakfast with their family, go for a walk etc. Working from home or attending an event can give someone the opportunity to have a healthier lifestyle.
Choosing the right location for your event is also part of the conscious choices you should make when planning. Your supply chain is a part of your business and impacts your level of sustainability. It also impacts how much your attendees need to travel.
But how can you save costs?
If you tackle sustainability in the right way, you can save costs in the long run. Thinking that sustainability will only cost you more is a common misconception (D’heur, 2015; Hegwer, 2019). Indirect costs, such as the effect on the environment, are much harder to see. The event attendees’ mode of transport can heavily impact the level of emissions that an event produces.
‘On average, about 70% of the emissions of a classic event on location is the result of the mobility of visitors/participants’ – FORLIANCE.
An organisation might think that the level of emissions produced by an event is not any of their concern; however, countries, such as the Netherlands, are introducing a carbon tax to stimulate organisations to produce less emissions (Rijksoverheid, 2023). On the right are some more examples and considerations of cutting costs for events with sustainability in mind.
What is Savvy Congress doing in terms of sustainability?
Savvy Congress, like many other companies, is working hard to improve its level of sustainability. One of the projects is Save a tree, plant a tree. For every hybrid event with Savvy Congress, a tree is planted for the customer and one for the company. Savvy also has created a Sustainability Menu for both its customers and itself, which helps to make an event more sustainable.
Savvy Congress employees regularly work from home and meet in its online environment. This allows the employees to work from any location and save travel costs. Besides, the company recycles waste, has its own solar panels and uses biological and local products.