By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 11 October, 2019

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s (EEAA) sustainability initiative has reached another major milestone after successfully delivering two special workshops with industry in Sydney and Melbourne.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio said that the workshops were another step closer in the development of a sustainability framework for industry and followed an extensive consultation phase conducted by Edge Environment.

“The workshops were a critical opportunity for the industry to help co-design solutions specifically suited to the exhibition and event sector.” Ms DiMascio said.

Leighton Wood, Chair of EEAA’s Environmental Sustainability Working Group, EEAA Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has played a key role in the initiative.

“Our recent EEAA Sustainability Workshops provided evidence of a common will within our industry to play our part in the sustainability of the industry and our planet. I am very proud to be a part of this collaborative effort.

“We are leading, not following or being forced to take action.

“The Edge Environment methodology will ensure that the industry is engaged in the process and will also ensure buy-in on the solutions proposed to reduce waste.” He said.

“Our sector produces many kinds of events from small scale dinners to large scale trade and consumer exhibitions and conferences – so it is important that we produce a framework that can easily be applied across many platforms and that we focus on the areas in which we can have the maximum impact.” Ms DiMascio said.

Edge Environment has identified the top eight eco hotspots that the industry should focus on addressing. These include areas such as attendee waste, food and catering and build materials.

The project will not target air travel and venue energy-related infrastructure as these were deemed beyond the direct control of industry. These are important areas but outside the remit of the brief.

The workshops have been designed and run by Edge Environment, a specialist agency that creates tailored, innovative and evidence-based solutions around sustainable business practice.

Over the past three months Edge Environment has met with a range of Members from across the industry to identify current practices and map the lifecycle of events.

Max Van Biene, Head of Project Delivery for Edge Environment said: “Collaboration will be the key to minimising the long-term environmental impact of the events sector.

“The consultation and workshops will help inform some short-term commitments and targets for the sector as well as lay the groundwork to develop some longer-term technology, procurement and education-based solutions and resources that can help create systemic change.”

Edge Environment was appointed by the EEAA in June 2019 to develop guidelines for the industry in relation to reducing waste and building on the good work done so far around sustainable practices at business events.

Tourism Australia announced their commitment to the EEAA Sustainability Program in June this year at the EEAA Leaders Forum and Conference in Melbourne.

Penny Lion, Executive General Manager Events, Tourism Australia said: “As the founding partners of EEAA’s Sustainability Program, we look forward to the first two workshops to collaborate with our industry colleagues on addressing environmental challenges and supporting a strong and sustainable future of the business events industry.” She said.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) released its 2019 Pulse Report on 17 September 2019. The report provides further hard evidence that the community expects business to be responsible for environmental and social impact, with more than 72% of respondents believing that business should place equal importance on economic, environmental and social performance.

“The release of this report highlights the timeliness and relevance of our work,” said Joyce DiMascio.

Representatives from EEAA member organisations, including Organisers, Association Organisers, Venues and Suppliers took part in the workshops at ICC Sydney on Monday 30 September and Thursday 3 October at MCEC in Melbourne.

Source: Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia