Earth Day is a global event celebrated on April 22nd. More than one billion people in 192 countries take part in a day of civic action. In 2018 the theme of “End Plastic Pollution” focused on a global effort to eliminate single-use plastics. Earth Day 2019, the 49th year, campaigns to “Protect our Species”. The world is facing a mass extinction of species due to climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides.
The Events Industry carbon footprint is significant and it is projected to grow. As a Production Agency, right at the heart of things, it can feel our impact is impossible to avoid. We produce global events. Audience travel accounts for huge amounts of carbon dioxide in the air. We design event environments. Printed material and stage sets are often one-off makes and go to landfill. We use a lot of power. As much as our technical equipment is operated in an energy-efficient manner, depending on where we are, the venue may not be sourcing renewable energy.
Energy is the glue that holds an event experience together. We are Event Planners and have an important role to play in understanding event energy and how it might be reduced and made more efficient. There are practical steps that can be taken. Remote attendance via a live stream provides a low energy engagement alternative. Sourcing a green venue will increase energy, water and waste efficiency. Using recycled materials for print and eco alternatives for standard event items such as lanyards for name badges. We can also offset the event energy we use directly, investing in renewable energy projects such as wind power, or energy from agriculture.
But in terms of a bigger picture, the impact of sharing a powerful message with a wide audience is huge. The final episode of the BBC’s ‘Blue Planet II’ has been heralded as a key moment for sparking the war on plastics. Sir David Attenborough’s most recent film ‘Climate Change – The Facts’ aims to shift attitudes and spur action. At the COP24 United Nations climate change summit and the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, Greta Thunberg gained global attention for her scathing words to the leaders she was addressing.
At Broadsword everyone knows our ‘Why’. To bring to life thoughts, ideas and dreams so that they can be shared by others. Being entrusted to stage special and significant events is something that is taken very seriously by everyone in the team. For several years we have delivered The Economist’s Sustainability Summit which brings together industry leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and researchers from around the world to assess what businesses need to achieve and chart a path for getting there.
The part we play, in enabling the sharing of these ideas and bringing them to life, and the deep level of care and respect that we approach our projects with, is the best way that we can drive action and increase global ecological awareness.