The events industry is getting serious about sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), according to American Express Meeting & Events’ recently published 2023 Global Meetings & Events Forecast.
The report is based on a survey of 580 meetings and events professionals from around the world and interviews with industry leaders.
Four in five respondents (80%) say their organisation takes sustainability into account when planning meetings and events. Of these organisations, over three quarters (76%) of them have a defined sustainable meeting program strategy in place.
“Many organisations have publicly committed to it, and they now need to cascade their sustainability goals to their meeting programs. We can expect the levels of climate reporting on meetings and events activities to grow. From choosing destinations that promote sustainability, to selecting sustainably certified venues, organisations are implementing robust strategies and processes to minimise their event emissions and report on their progress to internal and external stakeholders,” the report says.
From a regional standpoint, Europe continues to be the leader in sustainability practices, according to the survey. Seventy-eight percent of European respondents said their organisation takes sustainability into account when planning meetings and events; 66% say there is a defined sustainable meeting strategy in place.
The report says that technology platforms are essential to provide stakeholders with the emissions data needed to track and communicate progress. “Education is also key for engaging meeting planners and teaching them about sustainable event planning tools that can provide them with the right processes to plan sustainably and take into account everything from location choices with the smallest carbon footprint, to certified venues, to food and beverage choices that avoid emissions.”
Improving DE&I continues to be an important goal for meeting owners globally, according to survey respondents (87% say their organisation actively strives to incorporate DE&I into their meetings and events).
Using minority-owned suppliers is the number one way globally that organisations incorporate DE&I into their meeting programs, as well as choosing destinations with active outreach to multicultural groups and booking venues that are 100% accessible.
The business case for increasing DE&I is clear, according to Patrick Rush, senior regional director of Asia Pacific, American Express Meetings & Events. “For organisations to maximise return on investment including attendance, they need to be inclusive and have a clear charter in terms of diversity. It is one of the key criteria that meeting owners and delegates will consider in the future – if they’re not already today.”