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The events industry in the United Kingdom has witnessed significant progress in integrating sustainability practices. As the world acknowledges the urgent need to address environmental challenges, the events sector has recognized its responsibility to minimize its ecological footprint. This article explores important developments in the events industry with regards to sustainability in the UK, highlighting key sustainability accreditations and measurements. Furthermore, we delve into why these initiatives are crucial to the events sector and how they pave the way for a sustainable future.

Sustainability developments in the events industry

Sustainable event management systems: The implementation of sustainable event management systems, such as ISO 20121, has gained prominence in the UK. ISO 20121 provides a framework for sustainable event planning, considering social, economic, and environmental factors. It guides event organizers to identify and address sustainability issues, reduce waste, promote resource efficiency, and engage with stakeholders effectively.

Carbon footprint reduction: The events industry has become increasingly focused on measuring and reducing carbon emissions. The adoption of carbon footprint assessment tools, like the Event Carbon Calculator, enables event organizers to quantify the environmental impact of their activities. This data can then inform strategies to minimize emissions through measures such as energy-efficient practices, transportation optimization, waste reduction, and carbon offsetting.

Waste management: Effective waste management strategies are gaining traction in the events sector. Initiatives like the zero-waste approach and circular economy principles are becoming prevalent. Event organizers are prioritizing waste reduction, recycling, composting, and responsible disposal, ensuring that events generate minimal waste and maximize resource recovery.

Sustainable procurement: The events industry is increasingly prioritizing sustainable procurement practices. This involves sourcing eco-friendly materials, promoting local and ethical suppliers, considering the life cycle impacts of products, and reducing waste from packaging. Sustainable procurement not only minimizes environmental harm but also supports local economies and socially responsible practices.

Sustainability accreditations and measurements

The global sustainable tourism council (GSTC): While primarily focused on tourism, the GSTC offers criteria and guidelines applicable to the events sector. GSTC-accredited events demonstrate adherence to globally recognized sustainability standards, covering areas such as environmental management, cultural heritage preservation, and community engagement.

The A greener festival (AGF) award: This accreditation recognizes festivals and events that demonstrate commitment to sustainability. AGF assesses various aspects, including waste management, energy efficiency, transport, and social impacts. The award encourages organizers to continuously improve their sustainability practices and provides recognition for their efforts.

The British standards institution’s (BSI) sustainable events standard: This accreditation provides a comprehensive framework for sustainable event management. It covers areas such as carbon emissions, waste reduction, energy management, and stakeholder engagement. The BSI standard enables event organizers to implement robust sustainability practices and gain recognition for their achievements.

Importance of sustainability in the events sector

Environmental responsibility: The events sector holds a significant environmental impact, with large gatherings consuming energy, generating waste, and contributing to carbon emissions. Embracing sustainability practices mitigates this impact and fosters environmental responsibility, helping preserve natural resources and combat climate change.

Reputation and branding: Events that prioritize sustainability differentiate themselves in a competitive market. By demonstrating environmental consciousness, event organizers enhance their reputation, attract eco-conscious attendees, and align their brand with positive values. Sustainability becomes a valuable marketing tool and a source of competitive advantage.

Regulatory compliance: The UK government, alongside international bodies, is increasingly emphasizing sustainable practices in events. Compliance with sustainability accreditations and measurements ensures alignment with legal requirements, helps meet governmental targets, and safeguards against reputational and financial risks associated with non-compliance.

Long-term viability: Incorporating sustainability into the events sector is vital for its long-term viability. As public awareness and demand for eco-friendly events increase, sustainability becomes an integral part of event planning. By adapting to evolving expectations, the events industry secures its relevance and profitability in a sustainable future.

The future of sustainability in events

Sustainability is no longer an option but a necessity in the events sector. As environmental concerns grow, event organizers must adapt to meet changing expectations. The incorporation of sustainability accreditations and measurements creates a roadmap for achieving eco-friendly practices, reducing waste, and minimizing carbon footprints. By embracing sustainability, the events industry can enhance its reputation, comply with regulations, and ensure its long-term viability in an increasingly conscious and environmentally aware society.


The events industry in the UK has made remarkable progress in prioritizing sustainability. Through sustainable event management systems, carbon footprint reduction, waste management initiatives, and sustainable procurement practices, the sector is embracing its environmental responsibility. Sustainability accreditations such as the GSTC, AGF, and BSI Sustainable Events Standard provide guidelines and recognition for sustainable practices. As sustainability becomes integral to the events sector, it lays the foundation for a future that is environmentally conscious, socially responsible, and economically viable.

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