A new approach to materials management

Last month, isla's first Materials Library Action Group met at Sustainable Ventures for a collaborative session aimed at improving our approach to material sustainability in the events industry.

Introducing our vision for the Materials Library 

The Materials Library is envisioned as a pivotal resource—a free, accessible database that assists stakeholders including designers, fabricators, venues, and brands in making informed decisions to positively impact both climate change and biodiversity.

Our goals for the library are clear:

  • Facilitate quick and easy access to better materials.
  • Combine knowledge and experience from across the events sector for a practical, effective tool.
  • Encourage material suppliers to develop and offer more sustainable choices.
  • Maintain a platform focused on equitable information access, stripping back commercial biases.

With these objectives, the library aims to revolutionise material use within our industry, providing insights that significantly reduce environmental footprints.


The session kicked off with an enlightening talk by Rebecca Lardeur, our Climate Strategy Advisor, who addressed the complexities of material impacts on carbon emissions and biodiversity.

Rebecca’s insights set the scene by emphasising:

Set clear expectations: Know your priorities for material use.
Balance benefits against environmental costs: Navigate the trade-offs inherent in material selection.
Remain adaptable: Stay flexible to integrate evolving sustainability insights.

Leadership and discussions

Megan Harris expertly led the meeting, supported by JJ Ryan from Woodfashioners, Connor Robertson from Smyle, and Chantall Kerr-Sheppard from Event Cycle. Their guidance and knowledge of materials were instrumental in steering the group towards actionable insights and collaborative strategies.

Key discussion points included:

  • Tailoring material choices to diverse project needs while maintaining flexibility.
  • Overcoming the challenges of recyclability—acknowledging that the ability to recycle does not guarantee it will happen.
  • Focusing on promoting sustainable alternatives rather than demonising less sustainable options.
  • Ensuring transparency and integrity in how material sustainability credentials are assessed.
  • Managing current limitations in sustainable alternatives with transitional solutions.
  • Prioritising local materials to minimise transportation emissions and utilise regional resources.

Gratitude and future directions

A massive thank you to Sustainable Ventures for hosting this pivotal session and heartfelt gratitude to Megan Harris, JJ Ryan, Connor Robertson, and Chantall Kerr-Sheppard for their collaborative approach to leading it. Our members’ commitment is essential as we advance toward a more sustainable future.

As we continue to refine the Materials Library and engage with more industry professionals, we invite everyone in the sector to contribute and collaborate. Together, we can reshape how events are materialised for a clean, green fair future.

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