How to plan a socially sustainable event
We predict a key event trend for 2024 will be increased demand for socially sustainable events.
Socially sustainable events go much further than simply being ‘eco-friendly’ – and also have a positive impact on all the people and communities involved.
Founder of Kina Events Alex Palmer says:
It’s no longer enough to just employ local suppliers and workers in an effort to ‘give back’ to the community.
“Organising a socially sustainable event requires thoughtful planning, a commitment to inclusivity and a genuine dedication to making a positive impact.”
Here are the key areas to think about if you want to plan a truly socially sustainable event:
Define your purpose and values
It’s essential to take the time to define the purpose and values of your event at the start of the planning process.
Ask yourself what impact you want to make and what social issues align with your objectives.
Whether it’s promoting diversity, supporting local businesses, or raising awareness about a particular cause, a clear purpose will guide your decision making throughout the planning stages.
To ensure your event is socially sustainable, ensure your event is accessible to a diverse range of participants.
Consider accessibility for people with disabilities, diverse programming that appeals to a broad audience, and an inclusive language policy.
For example, you could provide ramps, sign language interpreters, alternative formats for information and accessible transport options.
Creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and represented is an essential step in creating a socially sustainable event.
It’s also vital to respect the cultural heritage and traditions of the place you’re holding your event – and the people who live there.
Ensure you avoid cultural appropriation and actively promote cultural awareness and understanding.
Collaborate with local businesses and communities
Supporting local businesses not only stimulates the local economy, but also strengthens community ties, so source catering and other services locally if you can.
You can also engage with local community groups, charities or not-for-profits and see if they’d like to be involved in your event.
This not only adds authenticity, but also creates a sense of community involvement and shared responsibility.
Treat people well
For an event to be truly socially sustainable, it’s essential to ensure fair treatment of all workers involved in your event.
You can provide codes of conduct, fair wages, safe working conditions and opportunities for professional development.
It’s also important to ensure the health and safety of your workers and event attendees.
This can be done through detailed safety protocols, offering first aid on-site, and having emergency plans in place to address unforeseen circumstances.
Minimise environmental impact
While social sustainability is a key focus, it’s important not to overlook environmental considerations.
For example, you can minimise waste by opting for reusable or compostable materials, encourage recycling, and ensure proper waste disposal.
You should also consider factors such as fair trade and well-being of workers in the supply chain.
Provide learning and networking opportunities
A socially sustainable event should go beyond entertainment; it should also offer opportunities for learning and networking.
Consider adding workshops, panel discussions or keynote speakers addressing social issues relevant to your event’s theme to your event programme.
You could also facilitate networking sessions to encourage meaningful connections amongst event attendees, creating a sense of community and shared purpose.
Measure and communicate achievements
After the event, it’s important to assess the impact of your socially sustainable initiatives.
Measure key metrics, such as community engagement, local business involvement and environmental impact reduction.
Communicate these results to your audience, showcasing the positive outcomes achieved and encouraging a culture of responsibility within your community.
By prioritising social and environmental responsibility when planning your event, you not only create an enjoyable and memorable experience for attendees – you also contribute to building a more sustainable and connected future.”
If you’d like to talk to us about your plans for business events in 2024, please contact the Kina Events team on 0207 205 7901 or send us an email.
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