In the May issue of Hospitality & Events North, Andrew Harrison discusses why sustainability in the events industry urgently needs to adopt an industry-wide standard to become truly sustainable

Our industry consumes a significant amount of natural resources and generates a significant amount of waste. Whilst we can each implement our own sustainable initiatives, to become truly sustainable, all parts of the industry need to be conversing now on the topic and not acting in isolation. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing too many companies across the sector acting first, then consulting which will never achieve the optimal result we are all ultimately striving to achieve.

Broader consultation and the adoption of an industry-wide standard is needed as a matter of urgency. Jumping on a single issue or topic does not solve the problem, but rather clouds the bigger picture and what really needs to be done. We need to plan more and force less, ensuring economic sustainability as part of the process. Only when we collectively work towards the same predetermined goals and adopt the same means of measurement and benchmarking can we truly know that we are universally on the right path towards sustainable success.

We are well beyond the stage where sustainability is optional. Any business in the events industry not taking it seriously is in danger of being left behind. Whilst sustainability is a complex topic, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming but the growing misinformation that exists in the industry is of paramount concern and is only designed to act as a barrier to success.

This is where ESSA is leading, investing and supporting. We introduced a comprehensive sustainability module to the ESSA Accredited scheme in 2021, followed by a Sustainability Awareness training course last September. Focusing on all key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, the training is designed to enable members to build their sustainability roadmap with ease whilst dispelling the myths surrounding how complicated it needs to be. The important thing is to make a start, understanding that you cannot do everything at once - it’s a marathon, not a race.

Sustainability success is about getting the right balance between its three pillars - people, planet and profit - and implementing in a sustainable way with consideration for the impact on businesses and the supply chain.

Published in the May 2023 issue of Hospitality & Events North

Published i


Sign up to our newsletter find out what ESSA and our members are up to


The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) is a trade body representing the very best contractors and suppliers of goods and services to the UK’s thriving events industry.

About us>>

Contact Us

119 High Street
Herts HP4 2DJ

Tel: 01442 285812

Contact us>>

Our Partners

Insurance Partner


Marketing Partners