What's the biggest change that will affect event planners in 2020? That's the question we put to Will Curran in this third and final installment of our recent interview.
Here's what he had to say about the biggest change on the horizon for event pros.
G2Planet: One final question. What's the biggest change that event professionals need to deal with in 2020?
Will: "Good question. The biggest change is that sustainability is no longer a talking point, it's an action item. It's no longer about bouncing ideas around, it's about execution, turning ideas into activity. It's no longer something cool to discuss, it's now the obvious choice.
"Make the Impossible Burger the default, and let people ask for beef but pay a little extra. Eliminate single-use plastics. Don't hand out straws. Get rid of tchotchkes. Don't hand out plastic swag bags, and don't allow vendors to bring knick-knacks that just end up getting left in the hotel rooms.
"It can't be about seeing a cool idea and deciding you may try that some time, or proposing to set a sustainability goal for next year. You don't have to be afraid to piss anybody off anymore, because we're in this new age. Just see the change that needs to happen and make it happen. The biggest change that needs to happen is that no longer is it about the past, we have to move forward."
But Wait, There's More
Will isn't alone in his position on sustainability in the events industry.
Earlier this year, the Events Industry Council launched its Principles for Sustainable Events. As Tina Wehmeir, chair of the EIC board of directors, stated:
“Developed with extensive global input and derived from an examination of industry standards, global sustainability frameworks and alignment with the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, we are confident these principles will serve to unify the events industry’s commitment to a more sustainable world.”
The principles have been endorsed by more than 60 global industry associations and enterprises from 13 countries.
More recently, the Event Manager Blog published its Sustainable Event Management Guide to Better Green Meetings, featuring 33 easy green meeting ideas such as issuing e-tickets, using real china, providing solar-powered charging stations, utilizing LED lighting, and replacing real flowers with reusable artificial floral arrangements.
Finally, Skift has reported on the burgeoning popularity of Costa Rica as an event destination, thanks to the country's "state-of-the-art accessibility and connectivity, lush natural environment, and...sustainability initiatives which can help meetings stand out and offer a transformational and eco-conscious experience."
Taken together, these sources indicate that the transition of sustainability from a future trend to a current reality may just be the biggest change event professionals will need to deal with in 2020.