Event Sustainability Live first edition a huge success

Event Sustainability Live (ESL) ran down the right-hand side of the big London ExCeL space it shares with Event Tech Live (ETL) with green thinking throughout, from the Trees Not Tees campaign logo to the Main Stage housed in a spectacular Evolution Dome and sponsored by GES.

Of course, the show benefits from the practice, proximity and renown of organiser Event Industry News, which has run Event Tech Live for 10 years, so the ESL aisles were equally full of expectation and realisation.

Co-founder Adam Parry started day one campfire chatting to isla founder Anna Abdelnoor. With doors just open at the first-ever ESL he committed to do better next year. That’s why this model works. You’re only as good as your next show…

In the same interview, Parry flagged up The Better Stands Programme and Vision 2025 – What is good when talking green? as two, second-day sessions to look out for.

Chaired by Reset Connect co-founder Duncan Reid, the Better Stands panel is another that bristles with big names: Ellen Osborne, ESG manager at Clarion Events, Lucy Hurry, head of commercial event logistics at Shoptalk Europe, and Kerrie Kemp, who’s global programme delivery manager at Informa.

Reid has so much to say beyond the subject it’s a while before he brings the panel in. Key takeaway? “The event industry has got quite a lot to be optimistic about.”

A concept started by Informa eight years ago, Better Stands’ was derailed by the pandemic but the drive has come back over the last 18 months. Tracking and fostering the transition from disposable to reusable, Better Stands pointedly doesn’t specify one specific solution, there are so many to choose from, but it’s a proper bridge, a road map, to getting there.

It’s mad to think how much show kit went straight to landfill – but the sense of aghast that reminiscing flushes from the capacity audience highlights how far we’ve come. 

Speakers at ‘A Greener Future: The carbon footprint of festivals and events, and what you can do about it’ – first session on ESL’s Main Stage – is a real Who’s Who of names and brands, Claire O’Neill, CEO at A Greener Festival, Sam Booth, director of sustainability at AEG Europe and Vikki Chapman, head of sustainability for Live Nation among them.

Shambala man, Powerful Thinking Founder, Vision 2025 chair, Chris Johnson, hosted ‘What is good when talking green? Exploring industry standards for outdoor events’, putting questions to Alex Camacho from isla and Andrew Lansley, innovation manager for Cheltenham Festivals. A broad discussion enveloping what best practice looks like, the session took in the 1.5° global warming target, net zero, the disconnect between politics and science, measuring, reporting and greenwashing.

All speakers, a perfect mix of ideal, theory, planning and execution, are qualified optimists, leaving the audience with a sought-after sense of ‘we can do this’.

So, Event Sustainability Live 2023 was an education for all, just as the organisers intended.

All of the sessions were recorded and will be made available on-demand soon. Event Sustainability Live returns in 2024 on 20th & 21st November – save these dates and keep up to date with all show news here.