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Sustainable Events Summit 2015 leads call to action

There’s power in sharing; Everyone can lead; and Change starts with making a commitment.  These were the key themes that came out of this year’s Sustainable Events Summit which took place on Monday 6 July at the QEII Conference Centre.
Over 130 event industry professionals listened to and were inspired by speakers and presenters who shared their experiences and gave hands-on advice in a mix of plenary sessions, presentations and workshops. 

Two high-profile projects from Australia and Denmark showed delegates what their colleagues overseas are doing to embed sustainability into their working practices.  Chelli Easson from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Organising Committee talked about the importance of sustainability and how it is central to the planning and legacy of this major sporting event. Ulrika Mårtensson outlined the goals and successes of the highly successful Wonderful Copenhagen ‘BeeSustain’ campaign.   

Chris Hines, founder of Surfers against Sewage and former Director of Sustainability at The Eden Project, gave an inspirational presentation around the theme that change starts with making a commitment.  At a lively panel session hosted by Nadine Dereza, guests that included Bel Sadgrove from Samsung, Meegan Jones from Green Shoot Pacific, Andrew Walker from MPI, Katie Deighton from Event magazine and Heather Salmon of the Positive Change Initiative agreed that brands with sustainability as part of their identity are leading the charge in the field of brand experience.  This was followed by a head-to-head with Jane Culcheth Beard from Hewlett Packard who discussed the company’s approach to sustainability.  

Throughout the day, delegates were polled on a number of questions the results of which are below:-
• 82% of delegates learnt four new practical actions for implementing sustainability
• 59% of delegates felt that sharing information is the most important thing the industry needs to do to for the future of the sustainable events industry
• 42% of delegates want to become an ambassador for change and promoting a sustainable events industry
• 50% of delegates see communication as the most important next step in their sustainability journey  

SES 2015 delegates were also able to hear, first hand, how the earthquake in Nepal has affected not only the travel industry, but also the people who work in the sector.  Furba Sherpa, from Sherpa Brothers Treks, spoke live to delegates and a further interview with him will be uploaded on the Community website shortly.  

Following the Summit, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sustainable Events Ltd Fiona Pelham said: “The Global Sustainable Events Summit gives the opportunity for event professionals to meet face to face to collaborate on creating a sustainable events industry. This year a clear outcome voiced by summit attendees was the intention to share more, so I am looking forward to UK leaders becoming Positive Impact Ambassadors, sharing their actions via Twitter using #shareapositiveimpact and causing a noticeable shift in the industry.”   

Rick Stanton, Smyle Managing Director and SES Co-Founder echoed this: “The vibrant discussions led to a very dynamic networking forum at this year’s Summit; there was a real sense that this third year had gained some serious momentum in both engagement and understanding from the previous two years’ events.  The delegate feedback and social media statistics both clearly underline this, which reassures us that this event has an increasingly significant place in the live comms and events educational and networking diary.  We are really pleased with its growing success and the impact on real action and behavioural change will ultimately be the test of its continued legacy.”  

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