Why the Events Sector Needs to Prioritize the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

April 3, 2024

Danielle Bounds

As Sales Director of ICC Wales, Danielle Bounds is responsible for driving the organization’s commercial strategy. She has a wealth of experience in the industry and has helped to deliver events including the 2010 Ryder Cup and 2014 NATO Summit. Danielle has been a driving force in educating the global events sector on Martyn’s Law, which will formalize the responsibilities and actions that publicly accessible locations in the UK must take to mitigate the risk of a terrorist attack. 

Events have the power to shape opinions and behaviors, and by aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), the sector can play a significant role in promoting global sustainability and societal well-being, both within itself and among the industries it serves.    

By prioritizing the UN SDGs, events can raise awareness, facilitate dialogue and drive action towards achieving these important goals. Events provide a unique opportunity to engage diverse audiences and inspire positive change, whether it’s promoting responsible consumption, gender equality or climate action. 

By embracing the SDGs, the events sector demonstrates its commitment to social responsibility and contributes to a more sustainable and equitable future.

What are the UN SDGs?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, established by the United Nations in 2015, aims to achieve peace and prosperity for all through 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

These goals call for action from all countries, developed and developing, to address poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, promote economic growth, combat climate change and preserve natural resources such as oceans and forests. The SDGs emphasize the importance of addressing multiple challenges together to create a sustainable future.

Ecological impact

Events are a huge driver for the global economy, but they can also generate a lot of waste, whether that is food, exhibition stand materials and giveaways or energy, so it is important that we, collectively, look at how we can reduce our impact on the environment and local communities by making changes behind the scenes.

ICC Wales
ICC Wales

There are many ways that that this can be achieved, whether that’s opting for a venue powered by 100% renewable energy and robust sustainability practices or looking to reduce your carbon footprint by subsidizing public transport for delegates and exhibitors. It is all about making that first step and committing to change.

At ICC Wales, sustainability is at the heart of what we do and even the basis of our venue. We also have a range of partnerships, which benefit our clients and their delegates, including reduced travel rates on trains operated by Great Western Railway. ICC Wales recently partnered with Event Cycle, a charity which turns unwanted items left by delegates or event organizers into donations to benefit community projects. Our venue also partners with FareShare Cymru to donate surplus food to homeless hostels, community groups and refugee centers, and all food waste is converted into renewable energy. 

These partnerships encourage a more circular economy within the sector, and reflect findings from the venue’s most recent report, Event Power: A Force For Good, that events can create a strong sustainable impact and lasting social legacy.  

Inclusion and Accessibility

Fostering inclusion and accessibility in the events industry is crucial for creating diverse environments that ensure equal participation for all. By prioritizing these principles, the industry aligns with the UN SDGs, particularly Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities. 

Inclusive events make conscious efforts to accommodate individuals of varying abilities, ethnicities, genders and socio-economic backgrounds, enhancing the overall experience and contributing to a more equitable society. Additionally, aligning with the SDGs reinforces the industry's role in advancing global initiatives to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunities, fostering a sense of belonging and unity within the community.

Driving sustainable economic growth

As a major employer and revenue generator, the events sector must focus on enabling sustainable economic development. 

Driving positive global change is a key objective in aligning the events industry with the UN SDGs. By implementing sustainable practices, supporting local businesses, and prioritizing fair labor practices, the events sector can contribute to societal well-being, address inequalities and minimize environmental impact. Emphasizing responsible economic practices not only reinforces sustainability commitments but also becomes a catalyst for broader positive change on a global scale.

Together, if we use the UN SDGs as a framework, we can ensure our industry’s viability and contributions to driving sustainable economic growth and positive global change. By embracing the SDGs, the events sector can lead the way in establishing a sustainable and responsible future for the industry and the world.


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on LinkedIn!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
One of the most iconic names on the Las Vegas Strip just got an upgrade. Mandalay Bay has everything that your business needs from a refreshed convention space designed to inspire productivity and creativity, to an impressive selection of world-class restaurants and amenities. If you're looking for a venue that's both inviting and innovative, you have to be here.   New Wave Experiences Mandalay Bay continues to invest in a new wave of enhancements both in the convention space and within the resort as a whole. New restaurant openings including Orla by Michael Mina, more