A smiling Faye Priestley - ID sustainability article

Our latest blog comes from Identity’s Executive Project Director, Faye Priestley, who ensures sustainability is woven into everything we do. Faye has been elected as a member of the Advisory Board at the event sector’s leading sustainability forum: isla. This is a monumental achievement, a credit to her commitment to sustainability, and our planet.

Below, she discusses why tangible progress hinges on a new form of responsibility for individuals, agencies and clients.

Talking (and taking) responsibility

Sustainability is evolving in the global live events industry, catalysed by a growing sense of urgency. There is no room for staying still. Responsibilities need to be embraced and each event should contribute to our society and environment positively.

With this evolution comes the need to establish a ‘best practice’, which is key to the existence of isla. There is a desire to combine great ideas and outstanding performance, establishing a path we should strive to follow. The three key drivers for this are:

  • Collaboration: sustainability in events is a huge topic spanning many disciplines, and requiring our collective minds, passion and determination to master – a challenge far bigger than any one agency
  • Cross-industry insight: sustainability is also a challenge far bigger than any one industry, making it essential that a platform exists for sharing success and challenges from across different markets and audiences
  • One voice: now more than ever, event professionals need to sing from that same proverbial hymn sheet when it comes to being socially responsible

Wearing different hats

Organisations like Identity are on a journey. As this journey unfolds, we find ourselves wearing different ‘hats’:

  • From wearing the ‘influencer’ hat where the emphasis is placed on detailing the environmental and social impact of a client’s decisions (waste, energy consumption, emissions etc.), as well as the different choices available for reducing an event’s carbon footprint
  • To wearing the ‘authority’ hat where only sustainable options are ever presented. A no-compromise position where all recommendations contribute towards a unified commitment to full event sustainability

This change demands a shift in mindset, and we must be proactive in our sustainability efforts. We should adapt our approach with clients, deliver options that merge budget and creative expectations with minimising carbon footprints and the impact on the communities we work in. It’s important to highlight that these are not mutually exclusive and are united under a common purpose: building a powerful legacy.

Practice what you preach

Becoming an authority on sustainability places Identity in a position to evaluate our business relationships. If an organisation does not hold the same values as us, we might consider if Identity should be aligned with them.

The issue arises if we find an organisation resistant to prioritising sustainability, and this is an area that will require attention from the business. Success is a collective endeavour, one that demands consistency across the board. It takes time to cultivate a reputation, and this can be irreversibly compromised if the wrong commercial decisions are taken.

This speaks to the ambition event organisers and brands must display to achieve real progress, and where sustainability exists as a shared aspiration.

Summing it all up

Advancing sustainability discussions can only be fuelled by asking questions of your business and the wider market. Creating the environment for discussion is paramount to placing sustainability as the priority.

The relationship between the live events industry and sustainability is evolving for the better. For Identity, facilitating these changes has been a company-wide endeavour. Our sustainable event agency promise and social responsibility framework, as well as recently winning an award for Sustainability Pioneer of the Year at the Conference News Awards, are clear examples of our efforts, but by no means the end.

To find out more, please get in touch.

Date: Oct 2022