About green golf balls and drinking beer out of bioplastic cups

Sustainability will become a key element of future events
About green golf balls and drinking beer out of bioplastic cups
Publ. date 20 Sep 2010
Events need to focus more and more on the aspect of sustainability in order to hold their position in the market. However, the main question is: What makes an event sustainable? Offering fair trade coffee and compensating carbon emissions is not sufficient.

Sustainability needs to be visible in the entire organization and it is a continuous story that includes sustainable drinking cups, electricity and energy use, logistics and the multiple use of venues. For instance, some of the stadiums that were used during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa are not used anymore after the event.

A transition is needed in the acting of people, whereby thinking sustainably becomes a second-nature. Nowadays, we find waste management very normal, whereas twenty years ago we did not take this into account. Acting sustainably needs to become part of our daily lives and by using cradle-to-cradle techniques, eco-efficient cycles could emerge. These techniques are already applied in the Dutch running event ‘de Zevenheuvelenloop’, where suppliers and other stakeholders are obliged use cradle-to-cradle products.

Lessons learned from the Olympics

Mega-events could also make a transition towards sustainable events. Already in the early nineties, the IOC acknowledged sustainability as a key element of the Olympic Games. However, by using an insufficient planning or a short-term focus on the event only, the aspect of sustainability was not always recognized as an important one. The city of Athens is still paying 100 million Euro per year on maintenance costs of empty Olympic venues. An event that is sustainable therefore includes the planning process, the event itself, and the legacy of the event. To emphasize the importance of sustainability, the organizing committee of the London 2012 Games is collaborating with the WWF and uses the term”One Planet Olympics”. Also the Holland/Belgium Bid for the FIFA World Cup in 2018, and the Dutch Olympic Plan 2028 have a strong focus on sustainability.

Sustainble Event Monitor: benchmarking sustainability

An important aspect of sustainable development is that organizations could learn from each other. To achieve this, Finch & Beak initiated a partnership with the NHTV Academy for Leisure to develop a monitor that could serve as a benchmark for other events. This Sustainable Event Monitor (SEM) measures the sustainability level of an event. The first pilot was held at the prestigious golf tournament KLM Open.

For more information on the aspect of sustainable events and the Sustainable Event Monitor visit www.sustainablegolfproject.com or contact Jan van der Kaaij at jan@finchandbeak.com or +31 76 5222 817.

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