How to add value to a corporate event with sustainability

How to add value to a corporate event with sustainability

Sustainability. An essential concept in today's world, closely related to business activity, but often misunderstood by both companies and their clients and customers. Luckily, we have professionals like Raquel Seiz, our Sustainability Manager, who will help us shed some light on this topic, help us structure our knowledge, and, why not, explore how to add value to a corporate event with sustainability.

Hello, Raquel. How are you? The first question is easy. How have come to play this role?

Well, it’s been quite a natural evolution. First, I started working in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) area, which eventually led me towards sustainability. Its social component has always appealed to me on the professional level. Additionally, thanks my background in event management and organization I had already been exposed to sustainability matters applied to events.

At first, it was more of a collateral function that I combined with my responsibilities in marketing and communication. However, today it takes almost all my time. Actually, we are gradually expanding the department to tackle the workload.

Currently, my role is to lead the company's sustainability plan, and coordinate and monitor the actions we want to implement with our employees, clients, suppliers, and stakeholders to ensure we provide an proper response.

What has been the evolution of the sustainable thinking in our industry? And what’s the current situation?

Sustainability has been closely related to some industries such as energy and fuels. From there it spread as a trend to the events industry as well. So, there were companies that started working on it with the long-tern perspective in mind, paving the way for the rest of us. And there were others, who saw it as a passing fad that didn't deserve any further development. The latter have ended up falling behind. Nowadays, sustainability cannot be treated as a trend. It’s the only way to act in general, and particularly in events.

At 4foreverything, we began working with sustainability in mind in a very natural way. As a company heavily involved in production, we were pretty much aware of waste and excess. That's why we started exploring alternatives such as more sustainable materials and solutions for reuse and circular economy. Over time, it has become a philosophy deeply ingrained in our company. We strive to apply it not only in our own operations but also in the events we create for our clients.

Raquel Seiz, Sustainability Manager at 4foreverything

Sustainability is not only about planting trees. What other elements does it include?  

Well, there is a widespread belief that sustainability only refers to the environment. But this is a misconception that seriously limits the perspective. Sustainability also encompasses an economic aspect, which seeks to ensure fair working conditions, access to employment, sustainable tourism, and so on. And the social aspect that aims for accessibility, equality, inclusion, and other goals. This is known as the triple check, and without addressing all these areas, the process remains incomplete.

And which of these aspects (that we’ve mentioned in the previous question) can be applied to corporate events?

There’s plenty of possibilities. The good news is that they are not so difficult to put in practice. The bad news is that there are few companies that understand that sustainability is also about creativity.

It's not just about using sustainable materials (that's something already taken for granted). For example, we can provide opportunities for employees from special centers to participate in the event engaging them in various activities. We are talking about inclusion, which is often misunderstood as only related to people with disabilities. Of course, they are indeed part of this context. However, inclusion also encompasses single parents facing difficulties in accessing the job market, individuals from different ethnic backgrounds, young people struggling to get their first job, etc.

Economically speaking, we can contribute to local jobs’ creation by sourcing event merchandise from local businesses. In the end, there are certain basic things that need to be done, and doing them creatively is one of the ways of how you add value to a corporate event with sustainability, among other things.

In terms of communication, how to correctly manage the information about your sustainable commitment?

I think, this is one of the most challenging tasks. The main issue is that there’s a lot of mess with the terminology, and lack of unified criteria. Moreover, there’s a lot of vague information circulating in the industry about the sustainable commitment of event companies. This information lacks substance and is not accompanied by concrete actions, which contributes to the overall negative perception of the industry. As a result, in companies where significant initiatives are actually taking place, there is a fear of communicating them because it may seem something fake or manipulated.

Certifications that prove 4foreverything's sustainable commitment

There are still many clients who lack sustainability education. They hear concepts here and there, and then demand them from you without truly understanding their meaning. We are happy to help them understand the importance of sustainability, not only for our planet in general but also as a competitive advantage for their businesses.

In summary, I would say that, as with any form of communication, it is essential to be honest, transparent, and convey both what is being done and what is not being done.

And finally, some words on certifications. Most readers know that we are a certified company. But they can't imagine the effort it takes to obtain these seals. Tell us a bit about what lies behind the certifications we hold.

Anyone who has been involved in managing any other type of certification can understand the process involved. It goes through a number of critical phases which, to put it very simple, can be summarized as follows: ensuring the understanding at the executive level, instilling it in all other levels, and, from those levels, performing the necessary actions to ensure compliance.

The ISO 20121 certification we obtained in April 2022 means that we have a system in place to carry out our events sustainably, and that this system is known, respected, and applied by everyone.

The Level 1 and 2 certifications from Miteco, which is another certification we have, prove our commitment to reducing the emissions generated by our activities. It shows that we not only measure these emissions but also actively reduce and offset them.

In essence, every certification is a commitment and, of course, a guarantee to our clients of our sustainable practices.

Want to know more on our sustainable commitment?

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