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On Earth Day, Some Attendee Perspective on Event Sustainability

While many employees pay attention to it, the youngest employees are notably more aware of their companies’ successes—and failures—in implementing sustainable elements for meetings.

A recent survey of more than 2,000 corporate employees in the United Kingdom by venue-selection platform HeadBox found that 80 percent believe their organizations are not running events that would qualify as “sustainable.”

The industries where the most employees say their company does run sustainable events: accounting/banking/finance (42 percent); agricultural and environment-related (39 percent); creative arts and design (31 percent); and charities (29 percent).

On the flip side, the industries seen by employees as most lacking in event sustainability are property and construction, public services and administration, insurance, education, and hospitality and events.

While 26 percent of respondents age 25 or older say reducing travel-related carbon emissions is their top reason for preferring that certain events be held virtually, the percentage jumps to 44 percent for employees under 25 years old.

Another element, the sourcing of food and beverage from local vendors, is among younger attendees’ top concerns. About 20 percent of those age 25 or older want to see this happen, but 37 percent of respondents under 25 said this is desirable to them. Also, 40 percent of those younger attendees want healthy options at each meal during events, versus 20 percent of all other respondents.

“Employers should take note that they may be letting themselves down on their sustainability targets when it comes to company meetings and events, and their staff are noticing,” says Sheridan Roberts, HeadBox’s director of events. “Even 26 percent of employees working event management don’t think their events are sustainable!”

HeadBox’s full research report can be found here.

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