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[Quick notes] Green events, professionals and common rules

When we talk about sustainable events, we often use a lot of different definitions. A large part of sustainable events organizers usually focus on waste reduction and recycling and it’s not unusual to participate to events where you can find reusable cutlery. Often these events also offer the opportunity to meet experts who can explain and talk about specific issues related to sustainability.

These are, more or less, the bases of a low-impact event as it has also been said recently in a conversation on a Linkedin group, when a girl asked about tips for the organization of green events. All the answers were good, but I think that there is still confusion when we try to describe these kind of events, also between the professionals. In facts, the things listed are only the minimum that you can do if you want to organize something green. In some cases (if you look at some of the huge number of green events in the world) it seems that there is not shared vision, probably because we’re still trying to set a list of “common rules” widely recognized.

Of course there is someone who is trying to give a common base to the professionals (such as the explanations and the check-lists that you can find in the last book written by Meegan Jones, “Sustainable event management”) and there are courses and meetings and also people who’re working on a specific certification for sustainable events (probably ready in 2012), but, at the end, to date we don’t have a unique way of thinking and acting. Looking at the complexity of all the issues related to sustainability, I hope that we’ll arrive soon to a shared vision, that is what we need to give credibility to these kind of events.

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It’s just the beginning…

During the last years sustainable events saw a huge growing also in Italy. Before that, it was possible to mention only few big experiments, such as AzzeroCO2 and Eventi Sostenibili, but now you can find, also in the Italian scene, a lot of minor attempts and initiatives. In general, this growth should lead us to think about what’s the real meaning of organizing of a “zero impact” event.

Obviously there are many ways to conceive and organize a sustainable event. There is who prefer to concentrate on the waste separation, those who thinks that it’s better find a way to compensate the CO2 emissions, those who puts the sensibilization on first place. Everybody works according to different methods and the results are often very different.

Usually none of these events will be 100% CO2-neutral, but probably this is not the point. What’s really important is to find new ways to organize sustainable events and to have a look on all the realities involved (from big Festivals to small events, from concerts to fairs), in order to understand which are the most common methods and which of them are replicable, how and where.

The important thing is that these events try to be “a bit greener”. Or maybe we can say…Just greener.