Greener Gatherings: 10 Takeaways on Event Sustainability

April 22, 2024
greener gatherings

In celebration of Earth Day 2024, we want to share highlights from our latest podcast interview with Honeycomb Strategies CEO and ASM Global Chief Sustainability Officer Lindsay Arell. These 10 takeaways highlight the multifaceted approach to sustainability in events, encompassing operational changes, partnerships, transparency and a broader industry shift towards sustainable practices.

1. Integration of Sustainability Practices: Natural Products Expo West is one trade show that’s leading by example. The trade show has successfully integrated sustainability practices into nearly every aspect of its operations over the last 10 years. Find out more about the show’s sustainability program here.

2. Efforts to Reduce Single-Use Plastics: Informa Markets, event organizer of Natural Products Expo West, has made a significant effort to implement alternatives to single-use plastics, such as reusable cups and sampling containers.

At the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, Natural Products Expo West 2024 launched a zero-waste sampling pilot program that aimed to reduce trash and related carbon emissions by replacing 10,000 single use paper and plastic cups with a reusable alternative.

3. Partnerships for Sustainability Goals: Finding partners to achieve ambitious sustainability goals is crucial, and transparency about these efforts attracts more stakeholders to join the cause.

4. Transparency and Credibility: Openly sharing sustainability initiatives and challenges, and being credible in claims, are essential for building trust and progressing in sustainability efforts.

5. Personal Journey in Sustainability: Arell's journey into sustainability started from her personal experiences and observations of waste in events, leading her to pitch a sustainability-focused role.

Honeycomb Strategies CEO Lindsay Arell

6. Role as Chief Sustainability Officer: Arell's role involves developing and implementing sustainability practices across ASM Global's venues worldwide, focusing on environmental metrics like energy, waste, water and food.

7. Challenges in Establishing Baseline Metrics: Gathering accurate data and establishing baseline metrics for sustainability performance across diverse venues and regions is a complex but necessary process.

8. Corporate Sustainability Goals: ASM Global has set ambitious sustainability goals, including achieving renewable energy consumption, waste diversion, eliminating single-use plastics and reducing water consumption and food waste.

9. Behavioral Shifts for Sustainability: Emphasizing operational practices, such as turning off lights and proper waste disposal, plays a significant role in achieving sustainability goals.

10. Trends in Sustainability for 2024: Trends include a shift towards reusables instead of single-use items, increased focus on water bottle filling stations and the importance of certifications like ISO 20121 and Event Sustainability Standards from the Event Industry Council.

Want to know more? Listen to the full interview here.


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