Many companies have adopted ESG not only for their business but for the events that they hold or attend. But what does an ESG strategy look like for events managers and teams? Here we discuss the practical implications of ESG and how adopting a more virtual mindset can improve events for sponsors, attendees and speakers.
This is the big one for events as they can significantly impact the environment by choosing the venue and resources used at the event and the travelling to and from it. The best thing businesses and organisations can do for the environment is to minimise travelling with a wholly virtual event or a congress/conference with virtual elements (such as a large portion of speakers appearing via Zoom).
For in-venue events, many sustainable options can be considered, such as:
- Developing stands and hand-outs with recyclable materials
- No single-use plastic at the venue
- Better food estimation to limit wastage
- Investing in power from renewable energy sources
- Picking a venue that has a green seal of approval for their sustainability practices
- Rewarding, or making free, alternative modes of transport – i.e. cycling schemes or a free shuttle bus
But these can be seen as cosmetic and are far outweighed by domestic and international air travel to the venue and the inevitable environmental costs of putting on a sizeable in-person event.
Reports by BeaconLive claim that travel accounts for anywhere between 70%-90% of an event’s total carbon emissions. The average event attendee has an impact of about 400 pounds of CO2 a day but can reach up to 2,000 pounds when extensive travel is needed.
Transitioning to virtual events is the most tangible and effective way to reduce carbon emissions when organising any event or large gathering. A recent energy report by Nature shows that transitioning events to a virtual platform will reduce related carbon emissions by 99%.
So, to be truly sustainable, events need to seriously consider their impact from a purely physical event and reconsider how events are held.
Adding a virtual aspect allows for a more inclusive event as speakers and attendees can come together from everywhere to attend and network at the event. Congresses and conferences can also become more attractive to sectors with a limited travel budget or less time to attend a 2 or 3-day event. For example, the International Liver Congress saw far more nurses and junior doctors attend their events in 2020 and 2021 as they had time to drop in virtually. It also allows speakers who may not have originally been able to present an in-venue talk to pick their time and present without leaving their office.
Often, virtual can also help people speak up as those who feel intimidated at asking questions to speakers outright feel a sense of anonymity when asking them in chat – this can diversify and enrich panel discussions and Q&As.
By adopting a virtual event, your client shows that they listen and make changes to improve the environmental costs of holding their annual congress or conference. They can also create an atmosphere for more inclusive discussions surrounding their speakers’ research and presentations. This is good for their stakeholders, board members, and public perception.
Virtual events also allow for far more transparency on how successful the event was with in-depth speaker and attendee analytics can be used to shape better events for the future to make them more cost-effective and productive for the speakers, attendees and sponsors.
GoRemote’s ESG policy
GoRemote has been monitoring the rise of ESG concerns with our clients and prospects; we practice what we preach by being an international team connected by virtual technology. We also want to ensure that we are doing our bit for the environment – we have already invested in tree plantation with www.carbonfootprint.com. This year we are taking part in 1% for the planet, where we are giving 1% of our turnover to offset carbon – we have also ensured that an optional one per cent is also written into the contracts we develop with our clients.
GoRemote offers virtual and hybrid events total control over their speakers with our event management tools, people and processes. We can make transitioning to a virtual or hybrid event easier through dedicated speaker management that works for various high-profile events, from large congresses to critical internal meetings. To learn more about how virtual events can support your short and long-term ESG goals, contact our team below: