Countdown to 2030: The joint mission of three organisations to help the events industry reach its sustainability goals

There are just six years left until the deadline for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Earth Day is a stark reminder of this important deadline, and an annual snapshot of how much work remains to be done.

As three sustainability leaders within the events space, The Bulb, isla and Event Cycle strongly believe that a collaborative approach is our best chance of ensuring our sector reaches its sustainability milestones.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a call to action and a crucial checklist to safeguard future sustainability for people and the planet. This ambitious plan of 17 goals was adopted by all United Nation Member States back in 2015 and encompasses the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental, recognising that each pillar depends on the other to succeed.

Every industry, business and individual has a role to play in ensuring that we meet our deadline. The event industry has a unique set of challenges, ranging from the high emissions generated from transportation and travel, to waste impacts and energy use. Events must also be delivered within a short timeframe and often under pressure.

The Bulb, isla and Event Cycle complement each other to provide a solution to the challenges faced and often collaborate to form a closed loop of sustainability best practice.

The Bulb provides strategic and operational consultancy, supporting agencies to embed sustainability considerations at every step of both their project delivery and within their business culture to provide a positive legacy for their clients. isla uses its cutting-edge technology, TRACE, to measure an event’s impact and identify areas for improvement based on actual activity data. Event Cycle helps event organisers to close the loop on event waste with its innovative approach to the circular economy, social value integration and impact.

Selina Donald, founder and CEO, The Bulb, says: “Behind every successful sustainable event, is an effective collaborative effort. To truly accomplish the goals of a sustainability strategy, we need to work with our peers. It’s this combination of expertise that ‘closes the loop’ on an event, ensuring success at every stage, from planning to legacy.”

Anna Abdelnoor, CEO and founder, isla, says: “At isla, we champion collaboration over competition, especially when steering towards a sustainable future. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but to identify existing gaps in sustainability and forge robust, solution-oriented partnerships to bridge them. In alliance with Event Cycle and The Bulb, we embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly. Collaborating in this way allows us to leverage each partner’s strengths, amplifying our collective ability to offer robust and impactful solutions to the industry. By trusting our partners to excel in their specialities, we can strengthen isla’s unique contributions to the industry’s sustainability transformation.”

Chantal Kerr-Sheppard, founder of Event Cycle, says: “Event Cycle firmly believes that collaboration is the cornerstone of progress in event sustainability. By working in unison with isla and The Bulb, we’re not just addressing the current sustainability gaps; we’re championing an era of collective action within the industry. Starting with education, then strategy, through to measurement and closing the loop, together we’re reshaping the way events are designed to ensure a sustainable future for our industry.”

Since Earth Day was established in 1970 it has evolved into the largest civic event on earth. It is the perfect opportunity to highlight the great work and collaborative effort taking place in the event industry to make events truly sustainable, but there is so much more to do if we are to reach our goals.

As the Earth Day slogan states however, ‘It’s not a day, it’s a movement’, and by approaching every event with sustainability at the forefront and by working together with our peers, educating our industry, and supporting stakeholders in their sustainability journey we can ensure that our efforts are not a one-off – it’s what we do every day and on every event.

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