With sustainability at the top of everyone’s agenda, it can sometimes be easier to look to others as the main culprits inhibiting progress when they are in fact part of the solution says Andrew Harrison in this month's Hospitality & Events North magazine.

Face-to-face events are here to stay which means we all have a part to play in implementing sustainable practices if we are to meet government targets.

Disappointingly,  the supply chain is  often seen as the problem rather than part of the solution, with many opting for the blanket removal and banning of certain items.

Take the current narrative around event flooring where the consensus is simply to ban specific types of flooring without consideration for the significant impact this will have on suppliers of such items and on the look and feel of our events.

It’s damaging to single out certain parts of the supply chain as the problem, implying they are the reason preventing us from achieving sustainable goals in our industry. It not only ostracises certain suppliers, but it also has a detrimental knock-on effect on exhibitors, organisers and the end customer.

We also can’t hide behind reuse and recycle - we must all look at better alternatives. Most areas of the supply chain have been working on more sustainable solutions for years, some for decades, flooring being one of them.

Most importantly, let’s all agree to join this conversation because effective sustainability can only work when there is a consistent and unified understanding between suppliers, organisers and exhibitors. We each have a responsibility to measure where we are currently using an agreed framework that works across the board. Without this, we will continue to be at odds with what we compare making it impossible to arrive at a mutually agreeable and sustainably beneficial solution.

Instead, let’s be united and collectively develop a strategy that moves us towards a more sustainable future together.

Published in the January 2024 edition of Hospitality & Events North


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