Vivid Event Group

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Is it safe, is it it sustainable?

18th September 2019

As environmental impact from events is discussed at the recent Exhibition News race day at Sandown Park, our MD reflects on the discussion.

None of us can avoid the talk and column inches about sustainability and neither should we.

Sustainability is defined as 'avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance', but as an industry, we are so far away from this that it is frightening, but step are beginning to be taken.

Last week I attended the Exhibition News #ENRaceday at Sandown Park, where sustainability in the event and exhibition industries was tackled head on. Understandably there was not one person in the room that was willing to put an argument forward as to why sustainability is not a problem for everyone, but there were very few that could wholeheartedly say they had embraced the mantra of ‘save the planet’ within all they do. Unfortunately commercial pressure still drives our businesses and as sustainability often has a price it is discussed but often ‘sidelined’.

In the long-term sustainability needs to be something that is embraced within every aspect, element and facet of a business from the way that an office is run to the way that products are made. It needs to be authentic, visible and upheld with accountability – is there a case for legislation or some kind of industry standard or self-governance?

Bob Bejan CVP Global Events, Microsoft states:

"companies have a duty to reduce their impact and follow best practice at all times"

and I believe these simple principles to abide by are true:


  • Sourcing food locally when possible
  • Partnering with local food banks to donate unserved food when possible


  • Optimisation of resource conservation where possible
  • Energy efficient solutions such as light sources, procedures for energy conservation, etc.
  • Partnering with venues for optimization of resource conservation where possible
  • Seeking out energy efficient venues that are LEED certified , have energy efficient solutions such as light sources and procedures for energy and resource conservation


  • Donation of excess event items to local schools / organizations
  • Reduction of one-time use materials including paper.
  • Use of compostable materials and service ware
  • Back of house sorting at venues to maximize diversion rate on recyclables

Sustainability should be something that is seen as a positive movement and perhaps we as event professionals should be adding to the simplest of question we ask ourselves; Is it safe, is it it sustainable?

Charlie Hepburn, Founder & MD, BE Vivid

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