As a market leader in live events, organising more than 140 shows every year across five continents, we have to be aware of the impact that our activities have on the environment and the communities in which we operate, and manage this impact. UBM Live’s understanding of sustainable development follows that of the UN:
‘Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’
At UBM Live we don’t sacrifice a sustainable tomorrow for a successful today. For us, sustainability as not just about ‘being green,’ but about bringing an ethical, future-conscious attitude to every aspect of our commercial activities. Sustainability is about creating a sustainable business model that is deliverable in the long term and about a balanced approach to our responsibilities to the economy, the environment, and social progress.
The four pillars of sustainability, below, are the focal point of all of our decisions and actions. These pillars define us as a business and what we regard as integral to our business strategy.
All of the resources we consume, as well as how we manage the disposal of these resources affect the planet, people and the economy. Awareness of this, assisted by the digital age and proliferation of information via the world wide web, means that we now appreciate that resources must be managed in a sustainable manner, in their creation, utilisation or consumption. We accept that resources are finite and that we can and need to create and maintain a balanced approach to how we operate our businesses. By recognising and embracing what we can control we aim to act responsibly.
To be more sustainable we understand the way in which we do things has to change, so that we can continue to do them for the future. We consider sustainable development to be centred on the following principles:
Increasingly investors, stakeholders and customers place greater importance on the environmental and social impact of companies. Companies are being asked to demonstrate the sustainability of their activities; this is an important opportunity for UBM Live to respond to these demands and claim the position as leaders in sustainability, setting the pace for best practices in the industry.
Sustainability has specific commercial benefits, such as the potential to reduce costs through energy use, materials efficiency and waste management. With the increasing attention to sustainability in the industry, UBM Live is influencing and working with our suppliers and venues to look at cost-effective alternatives to the norm.
One of the drivers of sustainability is through our commitment to the BS 8901 standard. This standard defines the requirements for a sustainable events management system to ensure an enduring and balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress. It follows the UN approach to sustainable development.
BS 8901 requires organisations to identify and understand the effects that their activities have on the environment, on society and on the economy both within the organisation and the wider economy. As an organisation that obtained this certification through external accreditation for four events and the Amsterdam office, we put measures in place to minimise the negative effects and manage all aspects of our events with consideration for sustainable development. From the choice of venue to the content of a delegate pack, the BS 8901 Standard encourages and requires the implementation of rigorous and robust processes in organising events.
Attainment of the Standard was divided into three phases: Planning, Implementation, Check and Review. This process is never complete, we continue to revise our policies and definitions and re-assess our commitment to sustainable development. We are focused on improving and going one step further when it comes to sustainable development, committing resources to working with our events management system and making sure we are transparent in our actions to all of our stakeholders.
Our operations teams in London and Amsterdam are trained and competent in the process of making decisions with sustainability in mind, enabling them to consider our sustainability policies and needs in decisions where it is appropriate. We will continue to develop and adapt the principles of sustainability to our other UBM Live offices around the globe, eventually implementing the same comprehensive sustainability framework into their event planning.
We strive to make reductions in our environmental impact and increase our influence in communities while maintaining the quality of our events and the services we offer to our customers. We will not sacrifice our services; only improve our engagement and collaboration with stakeholders, strengthening relationships and their confidence and trust in us as a business.
Through the BS 8901 certification, UBM Live demonstrates its leadership in the industry and delivers confidence through its customers, vendors and partners that its events are planned and implemented in a sustainable manner. See this link for the case study written on UBM Live’s success at obtaining this standard by the external accreditation company SGS Ltd.
ISO 20121 standard will be published. This international standard will replace the current British standard BS 8901. UBM Live is aiming to transition to it by the end of 2012.
Key Sustainability Issues
We have identified the following issues as key to our sustainability strategy. Revising and monitoring the following issues help us maintain dialogue with stakeholders and assess our progress under our sustainable events management system.
In 2010 we identified our key sustainability issues and these include;
We are looking at how we can use our resources more efficiently, considering the possibilities of re-using materials and recycling to find alternatives to putting things to waste. Up-cycling of materials is a progressive way of turning materials that are perfectly viable into new products that can benefit our business or other communities. The ability to efficiently manage our materials is key to our long-term business efficiency and helping us reduce our waste as is the provenance of materials; emphasising our focus on supply chain management. We have successfully incorporated digital engagement elements into our products, also managing our materials and delivering to our customers without increasing our carbon footprint.
Switching to low energy lighting and looking for venues with onsite alternative energy generation is one of our objectives. We are now measuring and focusing on reducing our energy use and continually monitoring to track our reductions and find ways to reduce our impact through energy use. We are continually looking at ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
UBM Live is also aware of the importance of reducing our water use and promoting this to all of our stakeholders to raise awareness about the need to make changes and recognise the impact our business has on the environment. Throughout our offices and onsite at events UBM Live promotes water efficiency and where possible provides information on alternatives to the over-use of water.
UBM Live is increasing our internal recycling and considering cradle-to-cradle products for use in live events. We encourage and have influenced our stakeholders to implement recycling, more effectively managing and monitoring our waste production. These steps will allow us to make future cost-effective solutions and be prepared for future legislation which will control this issue.
People and Community
Our key stakeholders are our staff, our management, suppliers, venues, exhibitors and visitors. We place importance on maintaining excellent relationships based upon trust and confidence for the long-term benefit of collaborations, building and working together towards addressing our key sustainability issues. It is commonly understood that the more we engage and discuss or share best practices in the industry the better off the industry will become. On-site and off-site forums allow us to share and exchange information on possibilities for the future and to target the issues that are most important to the key players in the industry.
We focus on the health and safety of our stakeholders by doing training and considering the risks to our business. We are focused on educating and training our staff in sustainability and in all aspects surrounding sustainability in order to ensure a well informed employee base.
We are fully aware that as a sustainable business we must look at retaining talent in the business. We consider revenue and profitability as key factors to our ability to continue to be sustainable. This also affects our reputation management and UBM Live’s ability to be the best in its class.
We find it extremely important to work with venues to minimise the environmental impact of an event on local community and engaging with stakeholders in supporting local charity-based projects. A principal component of sustainability is corporate social responsibility (CSR). As part of our commitment to being a responsible and sustainable business we adhere not just to the letter of the law but to the spirit of the law, encompassing our values and ethics and how we treat those individuals and organisations we come into contact with as part of our business.
We encourage engagement with non-profit organisations and provide a platform to enable them to promote their businesses by holding third sector/NGO events involving conventions and exhibitions globally. We see this type of involvement as defining how sustainability and corporate responsibility can interact within our business.
Corporate responsibility is largely self-regulatory but, like sustainability, its importance as an expectation of investors, stakeholders and customers is growing. To respond to this increased awareness, we have adjusted our position accordingly. We have an active approach to CSR, where we engage with charity and education-based projects in the local regions where we operate, in order to share our knowledge and target our contribution to deliver maximum longer term benefits.
We have a company-wide volunteer initiative, aimed at opening the lines of communication around the world of UBM Live and listen to what volunteer activities UBM Live employees were already engaging in. The initiative also aims to strategize how we, as event organisers and consequently industry influencers, can get our attendees and brand members involved in supporting various causes.
Our Sustainability Policy
Our sustainability policy can be viewed here; as well as our values, principles and key issues signed by our CEO.
We will continually strive to be the best in class: to set the standard by which other live events businesses are measured.
As leaders in the industry we will continue to influence sustainability in the industry and help our suppliers along the way to adopt best practice and make changes;/choices for cost-effective solutions that reduce their negative impacts on the society and the environment.
Ultimately, we are a business and we are here to make a profit, but we believe being a sustainable business will help us and our stakeholders to achieve growth and stability.
With the progressive nature of our commitment to sustainability we have proven through our achievements that advanced/comprehensive corporate social responsibility and a focus on the overall changes that come along with sustainability, we have, in the past 3 years, proven that our
success today does not have to be at the expense of tomorrow