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First sustainability roundtable challenges event management supply chain to hit net zero by 2030

How we engage with our suppliers is central to our ESG strategy here at BeaconHouse Events, and this month we hosted the first in a series of Sustainability Supply Chain roundtables, bringing together our key regional events industry suppliers to discuss how we can work together to reduce our event carbon and meet our sustainability targets.

The event, hosted by The Glasshouse International Centre for Music in Gateshead, brought together some of our fantastic North East supply chain to discuss how we can achieve more together. Rather than move away from those suppliers who haven’t quite nailed their sustainability strategies yet (who has?) we want to work with our community to support them, to learn from each other, and to inspire others working in the event space to do the same. The energy, ideas, and discussion in the room were fantastic; we talked about everything from energy, transport, eco-scoring supplier databases, menu carbon labeling, food waste, materials second use, navigating red tape, data collection, and carbon reporting and certification.

BeaconHouse is on a mission to drive sustainable change in the events industry, starting in the North East and with our own organisation. We are motivated to collaborate and encourage our team, clients, suppliers – and our audiences – to make positive changes. Attendees came from a host of different organisations across the region, including venues, audio visual partners, and print solutions and the discussion centered around the fact that global carbon emissions are at a critical point globally, with the events industry being responsible for up to 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Where are we now

Between November 2023 and January 2024, we surveyed businesses within our supply chain to discover what they believed to be their biggest challenges when it comes to sustainability. Energy was found to be the biggest concern for those surveyed with Transport and Mindset & Habits both identified of secondary importance when it came to the organisations’ event challenges. Together the group discussed areas in which they can influence delegate choices with many of the venues sharing tips for nudging behavioural change such as carbon calculating menus and management systems that award points to delegates for greener travel. Ingram AV, a trusted partner offering Audio Visual Solutions, also shared their movement towards greener energy via their solar-powered NRG innovation which has already resulted in a huge reduction of carbon at large-scale events.

What’s next?

This isn’t a quick fix or big promise, we all know that there is a lot of work to do. This roundtable event marked the start of our five-step plan to reach Net Zero by 2030. Over the rest of 2024, we aim to share our vision with as many of our suppliers as possible and engage with them to understand how we can make progress together. By the end of the year, we will share a draft code of conduct for input, and ask our supply chain to commit to making considered and consistent change together. From here we aim to improve our data collection processes to make it as easy as possible for our suppliers to share accurate data with us. We will be moving towards collecting evidence of sustainable practices from the fantastic supplier teams that we work alongside.

Between now and 2030 we will continue to track our events’ carbon footprint using the TRACE tool and explore an eco-scoring system, both so our suppliers can monitor their performance and as a method of creating a preferred supplier list to take into consideration their sustainable credentials. But we know that environmental focus around sustainability is only one part of ESG, so as well as adjusting processes to make sure that as a supply chain we are ethically lowering carbon across our events, we will also be looking beyond carbon at how we can add social value too. That means looking at how we, and our suppliers treat people within our businesses and support people in our local communities to thrive.

This first discussion was an exciting first step towards creating a sustainable and future-focused event supply chain in the North East, that can have impact more widely across the UK. The next meeting will take place in May where participants can update on the success in tackling these challenges and discuss further measures that can be taken to reach our goals.

If you are interested in hearing more or taking part in the next roundtable event email