While a sustainability strategy may present challenges to those in China’s event industry, there are also opportunities in the form of reduced costs and potential revenue growth, noted Glenn Hansen, BPA Worldwide President and CEO during a recent presentation at China Expo Forum for International Cooperation (CEFCO) in Kunming, China.
CEFCO 2015, supported by UFI, the international exhibition association, was held January 15-17 and attracted hundreds of representatives from the Chinese exhibition industry.
“Why should organizers and venues care about sustainability?” Hansen asked. “Your CEO cares; investors care; customers care; and the government/regulators care.
He added that the benefits of a sustainability strategy based on international standards and guidelines include reduced costs in the form of efficiency, waste reduction, productivity gains, risk mitigation and higher employee retention. Organizations can also grow their status in the marketplace through enhanced reputation; ability to differentiate their offers; and better respond to customer requests and requirements.
For those event venues, organizers and service providers that do not yet have a sustainability plan in place, Hansen explained, UFI has developed a simplified entry-level reporting template using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) model as its basis. The template identifies the recommended standards for each segment of the industry, and also includes the 10 indicators that appear as a “top priority” for venues, organizers and vendors that UFI recommends the exhibition industry report at a minimum.
“A sustainability strategy for CEFCO participants has a number of benefits,” Hansen said. “Adhering to and reporting based on global standards improves overall organizational performance; adoption of standards will help the China exhibition industry meet a sustainability commitment; and independent certification of standards assures the industry’s claims are credible.
“The events industry must decide its sustainability commitment,” Hansen concluded. “I urge you to be a part of the solution.