The Sustainable Event Awards Celebrate Excellence in Event Sustainability.
The judging panel for the inaugural awards is a stellar line-up of experts and we’d like to introduce them to you in our Meet the Judges series, this week we introduce you to Meegan Jones.
- What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the SEAs?
I have been specialising in Event Sustainability for 15 years, working hands-on at events (such as Sustainability Manager for festivals like Glastonbury, Reading, Latitude, Peats Ridge.) I have compiled my in-the-field experience along with many other specialists into three editions of my book Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide. I have developed training courses for the topic and consult to a roster of international events.
- How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?
All of my career, so more than 30 years now! I love the fast moving pace, the firefighting and problem solving, the deadlines and pressures, the travel and creating of temporary settings and nests, the continual challenges, and above all working with a huge network of others in our tribe that thrive in this stimulating and fast-paced working environment.
- Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?
I imagine everyone will say when all their best laid plans go to shit is both a good and bad moment. Solving the bloopers is part of the gig, but I’ve had to go and have a lay down when some things are just out of my control, like marauding drunk masses destroying your lovingly crafted recycling stations. The best is when you see your plans work out. Like moving a festival from knee deep single-use cups in the arena to an almost golf course type cleanliness through a cup return system working!
- What was the last event on which you worked?
My big gig at the moment is The Ocean Race.
- What does sustainability mean to you?
It all comes down to how we use the precious resources the earth gives us, how we do that in a way that is equitable across all people and across generations, and ultimately, how each of us, companies, countries, cities, events, choose to spend our money, and that we do it mindfully and consideration of the upstream impacts of those decisions.
- When did you first become interested in sustainability?
I think before it became a thing. I remember thinking as a kid how there was no ‘away’ when it came to waste. I could imagine in my mind, that thing I ‘threw out’ sitting buried under a massive landfill and being fascinated by that idea. I have always been a nature and animal lover much happier outdoors than in. I thrived in coastal geography at high school but didn’t realise there was a career in such matters until 20 years later. It all started to crystallise when there was a merging between my personal values and my profession, when I was working on community events and solving sustainability challenges in a very DIY fashion.
- What do initiatives, such as the Sustainable Event Awards, mean to you?
The awards are perfectly timed as there are now enough events that have seriously considered sustainability both in their operational impacts and in using their platform for good.
- What are your hopes for event sustainability in the future?
I believe that the ‘housekeeping’ side is just is going to become business as usual. That means that the professionals working in the industry know what to do, the companies have this as their standard operating procedure, and importantly, our entire supply chain is geared up and ready to provide us the solutions and services we need for sustainability success. Then the next piece, using the power of the event for good, comes with the elevation and build up of ‘purpose’. Those events, sponsors, artists, sportspeople that care, are bringing what they care about to events platforms. We also can use our events as living labs and immersive environments, so that we get people to test drive new concepts, behaviours, experiences and through this they begin to bring this into their daily lives. Normalising sustainability behaviours, values and concepts via events is where it’s at as far as I am concerned. I’m treating the ‘event production management’ as a given now and turning my sites much more heavily towards how our events can be catalysts.
- What is one thing we can all do on a daily basis to help make us more sustainable?
Consider the backstory of every purchase you make. What have you been complicit in, even though you can’t see it? Envision that item sitting in that landfill for hundreds of years as a wasted resource. Remember the future!!!!!
If you are leading the way in event sustainability then get the recognition you deserve, enter today www.sustainableeventawards.com