As we’re slowly booing COVID-19 off the stage, live festivals and other in-person events are going viral again. Although this is good news, climate change hasn’t stopped its threatening performance during the pandemic. Yet, implementing effective climate actions can still save our planet while unleashing new business opportunities. That’s why events organisers should get ready to run carbon neutral festivals, conferences, and the likes.
Having said that, with more eco-conscious people and ever stringent sustainability requirements, you don’t want to risk catching another virus: Greenwashing. For this reason, Circular Unity has come up with an antidote to heal the sustainability of your events in Europe and the UK.
Before unveiling further details on how to make an event carbon neutral through our tool, let’s look into the dangers of greenwashing for the events sector.
Why greenwashing is a problem for your events
According to Vision: 2025, only 30% of companies running outdoor festivals in the UK have put in place a net zero strategy so far. Well done, if you’re one of them. Nevertheless, boasting a sustainable events policy is not enough to stick a carbon neutral label on your events banner. And that’s because you’ve got to prove the efficacy of your CO2 reduction. Otherwise, you’ll fall into the greenwashing trap.
As you can imagine, greenwashing and events’ sustainability don’t go hand in hand. In fact, by definition, you greenwash whenever making false or misleading claims about the sustainability of your events. In other not-so-fluffy words, you can’t use zombie data. And nope, The Cranberries concerts have nothing to do with that. When talking about zombie data, we just mean information and numbers that cannot be easily understood or verified.
But what are the greenwashing consequences for the events sector?
One of the main negative effects of greenwashing is to discredit your reputation. And we’re not just talking about shaming on social media. Someone could sue you. Ever heard of climate washing? That’s pretty much the same as greenwashing but with a climate change touch. You’re guilty of that when your carbon reduction plans are up in the CO2-filled air. Well, the number of businesses being taken to court for deceptive climate communications are rising worldwide. With upcoming stricter laws against greenwashing, failing to clarify your sustainability credentials may turn tribunals into your regular events venue.
To promote anti-greenwashing, the European commission will soon release some new rules. Based on these laws, you’ll have to provide reliable, comparable and verifiable claims in line with Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) methods. Quick translation: you’ve got to use life cycle assessments (LCAs) to measure the carbon footprint of your events.
In the UK, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) published a green claims code last September. If you’re planning to organise events in Britain, make sure you tick all the 13 boxes in their checklist. When breaching CMA anti-greenwashing rules, you could face fines, lawsuits or even pay redress to your events’ attendees. Although most of their requirements are crystal clear, events organisers should pay particular attention to the following two points:
- Your eco-friendly claim should reflect the whole life cycle of your event and be backed by evidence;
- You should compare your events in a fair, accurate and easy-to-understand fashion.
Keep these in mind as we’ll tell you how we can address them for you in a minute.
How to avoid greenwashing your audience
By now, you should have a clearer picture of your enemy: Scarce or meaningless information on your events’ carbon impact. Which means that the best way to prevent greenwashing from accessing your event is to start measuring and collecting credible carbon emission data.
While this can be challenging, Circular Unity is coming to the rescue. We’re introducing you to the most eco-friendly guest who will ever attend your event. It’s called impactALL, the world’s first comprehensive carbon footprint management tool for events.
Unlike other products on the market, catering to carbon accounting & management only, our sustainability solution for events gets you covered on all environmental sustainability aspects you should consider in your events. These include the measurement of all three carbon emission scopes, circularity, and economics & social key performance indicators (KPIs).
Remember the key points about the anti-greenwashing regulations?
impactALL tackles them by:
- Assessing the sustainability of your event over its entire lifecycle (i.e., planning, execution, post-analysis);
- Relying on LCAs for carbon accounting;
- Comparing the sustainability metrics of your event with those related to its previous editions or to other events in shareable and straightforward graphics.
Doing so, complying with EU and UK laws will be way easier.
Achieving profitable net zero carbon events
Aside from keeping you away from law courts, our SaaS will also increase your sustainable events’ bottom line. Leveraging IoT sensors, our system automatically collects data about your resources (e.g., energy, water, waste) usage. Besides saving you time, this feature will let you flag inefficiencies.
By minimising your waste production, you’ll slash your festivals’ environmental impact while maximising its turnout. When surveying 4,000 festival-goers across the UK in 2019, Ticketmasters found that two thirds of them put waste reduction on top of their priorities. Another study revealed that around 50% of festival audiences would be happy to buy a more expensive ticket to take part in more sustainable festivals in the UK.
Finally, our software is one step ahead along the race to net zero. Working as your personal carbon neutral assistant, impactALL will provide you with suggestions on how to reduce the carbon footprint of your next events. To add to that, after applying any carbon reduction tactics, you can check and track their effectiveness through impact forecasts.
Because of a lack of trustworthy carbon data and smart insights, sustainability and events have been two parallel universes so far. Harnessing our intelligent science-backed technology, these two worlds can finally come together. From now on, proving net zero events will not only be easy but also profitable.
Ready to run greenwashing-proof cost-effective events? Send us a meeting invite!