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.