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EEAA reaches sustainability milestone

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s (EEAA) sustainability initiative has reached a major milestone following two special workshops delivered in Sydney and Melbourne.

EEAA Chief Executive Joyce DiMascio described the workshops as “another step closer in the development of a sustainability framework for industry”. The workshops followed an extensive consultation phase conducted by Edge Environment.

“The workshops were a critical opportunity for the industry to help co-design solutions specifically suited to the exhibition and event sector,” DiMascio said.

Leighton Wood, Chair of EEAA’s Environmental Sustainability Working Group, EEAA Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, has played a key role in the initiative and added: “We are leading, not following or being forced to take action.

“The Edge Environment methodology will ensure that the industry is engaged in the process and will also ensure buy-in on the solutions proposed to reduce waste.”

“Our sector produces many kinds of events from small scale dinners to large scale trade and consumer exhibitions and conferences – so it is important that we produce a framework that can easily be applied across many platforms and that we focus on the areas in which we can have the maximum impact,” DiMascio said.

Edge Environment has identified the top eight eco hotspots that the industry should focus on addressing. These include areas such as attendee waste, food and catering and build materials.

The project will not target air travel and venue energy-related infrastructure as these were deemed beyond the direct control of industry.

Over the past three months Edge Environment has met with a range of EEAA members from across the industry to identify current practices and map the lifecycle of events.

Max Van Biene, Head of Project Delivery for Edge Environment said:

“The consultation and workshops will help inform some short-term commitments and targets for the sector as well as lay the groundwork to develop some longer-term technology, procurement and education-based solutions and resources that can help create systemic change.”

Tourism Australia announced their commitment to the EEAA Sustainability Programme in June this year at the EEAA Leaders Forum and Conference in Melbourne.

Penny Lion, Executive General Manager Events, Tourism Australia said: “As the founding partners of EEAA’s Sustainability Programme, we look forward to the first two workshops to collaborate with our industry colleagues on addressing environmental challenges and supporting a strong and sustainable future of the business events industry.”

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) released its 2019 Pulse Report on 17 September 2019 and provided further hard evidence that the community expects business to be responsible for environmental and social impact. More than 72% of respondents said business should place equal importance on economic, environmental and social performance.

“The release of this report highlights the timeliness and relevance of our work,” said Joyce DiMascio.

Representatives from EEAA member organisations, including organisers, venues and suppliers took part in the workshops at ICC Sydney on 30 September and 3 October at MCEC in Melbourne.

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