The relationship between sustainability and events is a complex one.
On one hand, event management choices can have a massive impact on the environment – in the UK alone, the events industry emits 1.2 billion kg of CO2 emissions every year. But that’s only part of the story.
It’s a relationship that we focus on in the first episode of Totem Talks, a new podcast we’ve launched that brings in-depth discussions about the value of virtual and blended events.
The episode features a discussion between Alex Hughes, Co-founder, Totem, and Isobel Peck, Chief Digital Officer, Informa Connect, as they get under the skin of the trending topic of sustainability and events.
“There are so many aspects of events that contribute negatively to the environment,” says Alex. “Be it flying delegates to events, to the collateral, the stands, the soft toys and the printed matter. but there’s a lot of opportunity to change that as well.”
Isobel adds that the networking opportunities brought by physical events can be a hugely effective way to enable change.
“There is a value in bringing people together, and yes, there is a climatic impact to that, but there are ways that that can be offset,” she says. “COP26 is a great example – would it have been as impactful if it was all online? Possibly not – there’s something about bringing people together and having a moment.”
Alex and Isobel discuss how events need to blend the virtual and physical to maximise their impact. By giving delegates an event that builds their engagement for months before the physical moment, the personal impact becomes wider and deeper. This allows for networking that is as fluid and friction-free as possible – while minimising the impact on the environment.
Listen to the first episode of Totem Talks now: https://wearetotem.io/podcast/