Events sector calls for sustainability legislation as COP27 gets underway

Shaun Hinds, CEO at Manchester Central.

Around 90% of events professionals believe that sustainability legislation including tax breaks and benchmarking are needed because the industry collectively isn’t doing enough, according to a survey commissioned by Manchester Central.

As the world looks to COP27 over the next two weeks, Manchester Central, one of the UK’s largest events venues, has published its Shaping a Sustainable Future whitepaper, which surveyed more than 150 events professionals to understand current and future priorities; as well as what’s needed in the future.

The biggest challenges highlighted by respondents across the events industry – which is worth more than £70bn to the UK’s economy – include costs, lack of clarity and training, as well as greenwashing. The report highlights that 87% of event professionals believe that the government needs to introduce sustainability legislation to help the industry to achieve collective targets and overturn these issues.

Believed to be the first of its kind for the events sector as a whole, the whitepaper also outlines how 94% of people working in the events industry believe sustainability will become a bigger part of their decision-making process. However, half of respondents don’t believe the industry is doing enough at this stage.

Whitepaper headlines include:

  • 96% of respondents said sustainability has become more important to them in recent years;
  • 87% said that the government needs to introduce legislation. Suggestions included tax breaks, industry legislation and benchmarking;
  • 94% believe sustainability will become a bigger part of their decision-making process in the next few years, yet, more than half of those surveyed don’t believe the industry as a whole is doing enough to be sustainable;
  • The biggest reported challenges for the industry include costs, lack of clarity and training, as well as greenwashing;
  • Only 26% of respondents have signed up to the Net Zero Events pledge so far;
  • Just 61% of organisations have a sustainability policy in place currently.

Manchester Central CEO, Shaun Hinds, said: “Sustainability is an incredibly important area for our business and for many across the sector. As COP27 gets underway, we are reminded of the critical need for change in order to address the climate crisis. This can only be achieved by collective targets which every business sector signs up to.

“The results of the survey and conclusions drawn in the whitepaper outline an overwhelming desire for the industry to be more sustainable and help the UK meet Net Zero targets. There is a clear call for industry-specific legislation to make sure that we all play our part. We now need the Government to sit up and listen to our industry’s challenges and innovative ideas to address these issues and make change happen. We are ready to do all we can to help the events sector move the dial and make a difference.”

Hinds added that the hosting of COP27 in person also demonstrated the power of the events industry. He said: “As leaders from across the globe convene, in person, in an attempt to drive the agenda forward, it also highlights the importance of ‘being in the room’ and the role events play in affecting meaningful change.”

With over 23,000m² of space and a capacity of over 10,000, Manchester Central hosts a unique array of events from intimate small business meetings, to high profile, large scale conferences, sporting competitions, public exhibitions, political party conferences and large-scale international trade shows.

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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