Sustainable thinking is transforming decision-making in business

A sea change, including the way ROI is measured, is transforming the business events sector.

Sustainability is no longer viewed as a source of risk management but as a new driver of returns for major companies.
Sustainability is no longer viewed as a source of risk management but as a new driver of returns for major companies. Photo Credit: Adobe stock/AnaWein

M&C Asia delves into the evolving landscape of the business events industry, where sustainability is making an impact on multiple fronts. Alongside technological advancements in sustainability, changing financial deliverables are affecting decision-making at the highest levels.

Financial reporting embraces sustainability metrics

According to Gartner, by 2026, CFOs of most public companies will adopt sustainability metrics as a key part of their ROI analysis, enabling events and their stakeholders to have easier access to sponsors and credit lines who need to incorporate sustainability metrics in their ROI.

This major change from viewing sustainability mainly as a source of risk management to a new impetus of returns will reshape the corporate landscape. Gartner believes that “organisations that can account for the enterprise value of their sustainable investments, connect them to broader corporate strategy and show clear benefits to the organisation will likely be seen favourably by investors and other stakeholders”.

CFOs have been recommended by Gartner to divest businesses conflicting with stated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 30% of MNCs will streamline geographies and subsidiaries due to sustainability regulatory requirements.

Investments will need to demonstrate clear non-financial benefits to the organisation as these will be considered equal to projects with financial returns. All this will involve changing current accounting frameworks to calculate the value on intangibles.

New tech emerges for sustainable meetings

Event companies are increasingly embedding sustainable solutions into their meetings by bringing digital technologies to the fore. Besides the now-common solutions such as mobile apps, interactive kiosks, digital signages, electronic literature libraries, and data analytics tools, there are low energy beacons, small objects that can be conveniently placed around venues, allowing organisers to send timely messages to attendees’ devices based on location. These create uniquely relevant user experiences prompting action.

According to Gevme, researchers have found that companies that have a robust strategic focus on using technology tend to have a higher ability to adapt to changing market situations. Such companies which can identify and exploit opportunities for innovation also makes them more efficient in utilising their resources. This lowers the total cost, provides enhanced attendee experience, and reduces the impact on the environment.

Creating positive impacts on society

If event management companies become efficient and sustainable in their bid to reduce their carbon footprint, they can also develop sustainable plans and products that encourage clients to take small steps to reduce their environmental impact. Additionally, prioritising digital sustainability enables organisers to make a positive change in the wider ecosystems, reducing the environmental impact of the event and playing their part for a sustainable future.

Improved reputation and image

Promoting a sustainable event will help to raise the profile of one’s event – attracting participants who are aware of the climatic issues, environmental threats, and the need to implement sustainable practices as part of their ROI. The media, potential donors, and partners will also hear of such efforts and will most likely respond positively.

Driving awareness and accelerating change

Events are an ideal chance to raise awareness about the critical need to take sustainable steps and make sustainable events. Event organisers can lead by example, motivate stakeholders and send a message to other industry partners to launch environmental and social improvements into their events and organisations.