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Green Events in the Time of Covid-19

At this moment in history when the world, the country and yes, even meeting and event planners have  hit the Pause button, we are all hoping and waiting for the time when we can hit Play and return to business as usual. In the interim, some event planners have been able to substitute virtual platforms for face to face – in person meetings, conferences, and trade shows. However, we think when life does get back to normal most people will want to return to the face to face experience that can’t be replaced with a virtual platform.

We have seen some unintended consequences of the Covid-19 directed shutdowns in the effects they’ve had on the environment. These effects have been largely positive; less air pollution, fewer resources used, wasteful consumption down.

The virtual meeting platform has contributed and can continue to contribute to easing the strain on the environment, resources, and communities. But this doesn’t mean we can’t still be green and practice sustainability when it comes to going back to face to face meetings and conferences. Maybe you haven’t had the time in the past to consider all the possibilities for sustainable events and how to go about being a sustainable event planner, so let’s take a look.

There are several organizations both domestic and international which have developed and published standards for sustainable events. Adherence to these standards is voluntary but can be formalized through a certification process. Some organizations like the Events Industry Council (EIC) offer sustainability certification based on the standard they have developed, others like the International Standards Organization (ISO) have developed a standard which can used by external certification bodies to evaluate businesses, organizations, and individuals for sustainability certification or by an individual or organization to self-certify.

The ISO International Standard, ISO 20121:2012, Event sustainability management systems-Requirements with guidance for use is a practical tool for managing events in ways that contribute to the three elements of sustainability- the environment, the economy, and society.

ISO has a proven record of establishing a range of management system standards which have been implemented worldwide with great success. This management system approach provides the flexibility to address the needs presented by the diverse organizations which make up the events sector.

Other users may include regulators who have regulatory responsibilities related to events and local communities and nongovernmental organizations which could have concerns about events held in their cities and countries.

The ISO 20121:2012 Standard thus provides a common ground for managing the expectations of all the parties involved in sustainable event planning and implementation.

The ISO management system consists of  foursequential phases; Plan, Do, Check, and Act. These phases are broken down into manageable steps and tasks which can be performed by individuals and teams.

Steps may include the following:

  • Define governing principles of sustainability
  • Identify and engage involved individuals and parties
  • Establish policy
  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Identify issues and set objectives
  • Provide the right resources and information to customers and participants
  • Maintain communication
  • Establish and implement controls for operations and the supply chain
  • Monitor performance
  • Identify problems and take corrective actions

The ISO 20121:2012 Standard was first published in June 2012 and is reviewed  every 5 years, the first review was confirmed in 2017. The standard was developed by the event industry for the event industry with leadership from members of the event industry worldwide who have the experience of both event management and sustainability initiatives.  Members of national standards institutions from 25 countries developed the standard with representatives from 10 other countries observing. Eight event industry organizations with strong interests in sustainability also participated in the development process.

The ISO website provides several resources for information on sustainability and sustainable events including a brochure, Sustainable events with ISO 20121 which presents a concise overview of the ISO 20121:2012 Standard. The standard is available for purchase on the ISO website.

Now is the time to take advantage of this pause in business to become better educated and informed about sustainability and sustainable events and to decide what guidelines work best for you, your business or your organization. It’s a good time too to set goals and look for the resources that will help you meet those goals.

KLEERTECH® has had an interest and commitment to sustainability and green events since we began developing our first patent for a biodegradable plastic badge holder in 2008. We have maintained that commitment to this day and in 2019, we were issued a third patent for a biodegradable lanyard attachment. In addition, KLEERTECH® had the honor of representing the United States in the 25 country committee that developed the ISO 20121:2012 Standard.

KLEERTECH® has a wide selection of event supplies which provide you the choices you can make to meet your green event goals. Starting with our patented biodegradable Bio-D badge holders, we also offer sustainable and biodegradable paper inserts for badge holders and badge ribbons. We have products made from recycled materials such as lanyards and totes, and reusable products made from sustainable material such as our wood lanyard tree and badge tray.

KLEERTECH® is here to help you get ready for getting back to business and planning your first post shutdown green event.

Just call us at (877) 552-2343 or visit our website.


One thought on “Green Events in the Time of Covid-19

  1. Nadeem Ahmed

    Very interesting post.
    I think, across the world, companies are already thinking about creating a sustainable work environment away from work. There is going to be a substantial requirement for remote events and meetings.
    I personally think, considering that we created so much ecological imbalance that we created, it is going to be much beneficial in the long run.

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