EIBTM ICCA Spanish Seminar

EIBTM ICCA Spanish Seminar

Sustainable events on trial

With the slogan “Are we green or what?” the ICCA Iberian Chapter organized its traditional seminar in Spanish at the latest EIBTM, on this occasion to pass judgement on sustainable events. The debate was organized on the lines of a court hearing, with a judge, jury, prosecutor, defence counsel and witnesses… … In short, to examine the pros and the cons of sustainable events and to pronounce sentence, within a friendly and participative format; which is just as it happened.

Two experts on the subject, Guy Bigwood of MCI and Alberto Gómez of Ephymera Sostenibilidad played the roles respectively of defence and prosecution lawyers. Each of them organized a group to discuss the theme and reach conclusions. Taking their turn as “witnesses”, putting forward their own experiences, were: Manuel Macías, of Sevilla CB; Javier Lacunza of the Baluarte conference centre in Pamplona; Mark Martínez of Servisferial and David Berrocal of Unit Elements. ​

The subject of the seminar interested many professionals at EIBTM

The subject of the seminar interested many professionals at EIBTM

Spain is still “green” when it comes to green events

The conclusion was that Spain is still “green” on the subject, although the sector is aware that it’s a matter still pending and one that will inevitably have to be fulfilled because it brings benefits: “We have won an event for the simple reason that we demonstrated our membership of the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) and because we proposed bicycles as the official means of transport for the congress”, said Manuel Macías of Sevilla Convention Bureau. “Even if Spain is still not a destination that’s 100% sustainable, it is becoming increasingly so. So now is not the time to stop”, he added.

Concurring with his views were two suppliers of specialized services for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “Our clients end up adopting 90% of the suggestions we put to them for making their events more sustainable, in particular when it involves support for a social cause”, said David Berrocal of Unit Elements. In six years the communications and events agency has generated 1.6 million Euros of direct aid for 16,000 people. For his part, Marc Martínez Pujol-Xicoy of Servisferial (fairs services) regretted that the sector was still not prepared for sustainability: “Spanish clients don’t so much as ask their suppliers if they are sustainable. Spanish companies need to introduce sustainable management models; to educate clients on CSR matters and to do away with the belief that what is sustainable is expensive”.

Opinions were put forward in favour of and against sustainable events

Opinions were put forward in favour of and against sustainable events

The sentence

Having considered all the declarations and testimonies, the court passed the following sentence:

“It is clear that the sustainability of events must be linked in with a global strategy for a destination or region.

It is clear that in times of economic crisis there is little sensitivity on the part of the client to accept new solutions that could cost more.

It is clear that we need to reduce consumption and environmental impact and to develop policies that are more socially responsible.

It is clear that this is an ongoing process that involves people and businesses.

It is clear that we don’t have much time to change our behaviour, given that the planet is already showing signs of reaching its limits, especially where climate change is involved.

Because of all this, the verdict is a double one:

We get our act together or the planet will turn us green…

Or the alternative will be to transfer to planet Mars, where they are all green.”

The court, the prosecutor, defence lawyer, witnesses and organizers pose at the end of the trial.

The court, the prosecutor, defence lawyer, witnesses and organizers pose at the end of the trial.

The judges listen intently to the proceedings

The judges listen intently to the proceedings