On 14 December 2011, the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and UNEP/MAP’s Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production (CP/RAC) co-organized a Mediterranean workshop on how events can be organized in line with sustainability principles. Both the EU funded Horizon 2020 CB/MEP and the Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (MedPartnership) supported the workshop as well as the development of the main tool used, the Sustainable Events Toolkit for the Mediterranean.
Targeting relevant staff from inter- and non-governmental organizations, private enterprises (travel agencies, hotels, event organizers) and even some public institutions, the workshop brought together 42 participants from Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
The workshop introduced participants to the notion of sustainability in events’ management, presented the impacts and benefits of holding a ‘green’ event and outlined concepts such as the ‘Life Cycle’ approach and carbon and water footprints. Given that most of the trainees are involved in events management at a professional level, the course was delivered mainly through exercises and the Sustainable Events Toolkit for the Mediterranean. The latter is a web-based tool which provides a useful selection of means, resources and examples to help make all types of meetings (from small workshops to large scale international conferences) more sustainable. Here a step by step checklist takes the user through the key elements of organizing an event, examples of sustainable events are posted, as well as a selection of sustainable events guidance and standards and an interactive map to find sustainable suppliers in the region.
Summing up the essence of the workshop, Professor Scoullos, Horizon 2020 CB/MEP Team Leader, stated “The main message and achievement of this workshop is that all participants are now considering the factor of sustainability when planning events. However, it is not easy, especially when you want to address issues in depth. Although you can no longer do ‘business as usual’ in events planning, greening needs to follow a case-by-case approach”.
Recognizing the practicality and benefits of the course, participants and organizers alike renewed their commitment towards a follow-up workshop to go deeper into some of the tackled matters.