JOYCE DiMascio, Chief Executive, Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia
Over the past 12 months our Association has had a renewed focus on improving the sustainability practices within our industry. It’s been a fascinating journey which has shed light on some excellent work being done in our sector.
It has also served as a big reminder that we still have a long way to go towards embedding a proactive waste management culture across our industry.
What has emerged from the work of our Environmental Sustainability sub-committee chaired by Leighton Wood, the Chief Operating Officer of the MCEC, is that there is a massive appetite for change.
The issue is how can we help the industry tackle the low hanging fruit and take steps which will make a real difference in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.
The EEAA recently road-tested our sustainability framework with 84 younger members of the Association in forums that were held in Sydney and Melbourne.
This is now going into the implementation design stage — and that’s really exciting.
Australia’s business events industry was leading the way in 2008 and 2009 — we came out strongly with programs designed to reduce the business event industry’s ecological footprint. Venues were designed to outstanding “green” standards and organisers were working hard to design events that reduced, reused and recycled.
It was the period when Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was launched — and the Garnaut Climate Change Review — led by Professor Ross Garnaut — was first commissioned by Australia’s Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. The latter created an economic imperative for tackling climate change.
And soon after, things went pear-shaped in what is described as a policy “muddle”.
Fortunately, the need to tackle climate change and change behaviours in relation to waste and consumption is back on the agenda and the EEAA is pleased to be championing its importance.
At our Leaders Forum and Conference to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 5 and 6 June, we’ll be updating the industry on our work that will help our members reduce waste, what goes to land-fill and other environmental impacts.
Our members are passionate about it — especially the emerging leaders of our industry. It is quite fitting that we take the messages about “sustainability” into the advocacy campaign of Global Exhibitions Day which is on 5 June. This is a world-wide initiative of The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and Australia will play its part to ensure we spread the message about our collective responsibility to protect the environment and community.
Our job is to make every effort to design our events around a stronger and bigger commitment to reducing waste.
If you’d like to join the EEAA in this mission — join our conference. Check out www.eeaa.com.au for details.