Early engagement vital in sustainability certification process

At MEETINGS 2023 at Tākina two people stand in the middle of the venue surrounded by exhibition booths.

Business Events Industry Aotearoa took big strides forward this year to make its flagship event MEETINGS more sustainable. Following the June event at Tākina, it has achieved Toitū net carbonzero event operations certification.

For those keen to embark on a similar journey, MEETINGS event manager Chris Peak shares his tips.

Plan early

When participating in a certification programme, capture data early and incorporate it into existing touchpoints. Include details like distances and modes of travel for attendees during registration. This will help streamline the process and ensure you gather a complete set of data.
Early engagement with venues, caterers, and other suppliers is also vital. It allows you to alert them of any data you need and ensure they can provide you with it soon after the event ends.

Consider the costs

Build the costs of a certification programme or other initiatives into your budget. Include an allowance for the costs of credits for carbon offsetting.

Ask your certification provider if they offer different carbon credit pricing options. Be sure to check this in advance.

Communicate with stakeholders

The people involved in your event will want to know it is contributing to more sustainable outcomes. You will need their support to ensure your initiatives are effective.

Provide information on changes you have made to the event, what they can expect, and how they can help. It may be as simple as encouraging the use of reusable drink bottles and returning name badges. Or it may be more complex, such as setting building requirements for exhibitor stands.

Review and analyse

A benefit of working through a certification process is having an accurate and detailed breakdown of your event’s carbon emissions. You will see the effectiveness of certain initiatives.

If your event is annual, use this opportunity to drill down into the numbers. Find opportunities for the biggest gains and take action in the following years to further reduce your carbon footprint.