Sustainability and Virtual Events—Hitting Two Birds With One Stone
Whether you’re in the sustainability business or looking to implement sustainable business practices in your company (as part of your goal to implement the triple bottom line or TBL framework), virtual events are an option worth pursuing, just like corporate recycling efforts.
Conventions, trade shows, and other large-scale events used to be in-person extravaganzas before virtual events became mainstream. Sometimes, event attendees would sit down to a four-course meal whilst listening to industry experts share their insights. Exhibitors would have their 10-foot-tall trade show booths set up, conference rooms on the second floor, and private VIP areas with their own fully stocked bars.
Such events were usually held in venues located within or close to swanky hotels, offering luxurious accommodations and housing event VIPs. There, guests would partake in extravagant evening dinners and entertainment that made everyone else green with envy.
Great Perks at a High Cost
All the great perks of attending in-person came at a high cost that neither attendees nor event planners anticipated. The waste generated and energy used to run such events resulted in a massive carbon footprint and an increase in the effects of global warming. This was caused in part by the depletion of natural resources which serve as raw materials for some of the products used or featured in events.
Of course, airline travel (which was necessary to attend certain global events) remained the primary source of carbon emissions – which is why, when the global pandemic hit its peak, event planners began to consider virtual events as a primary means of bringing their audience together. It didn’t matter whether event attendees would rather be at the event in person or not (of course, many couldn’t because of the pandemic), 2020 became the year when online or virtual events began to reign supreme.
Top Benefits of Virtual Events
Aside from discussing sustainability in business and pushing your agenda to meet the triple bottom line, sustainability as a concept should remain at the core of your business practices – which is where virtual events come in. Instead of attending conventional conferences and similar gatherings, you can invest more in virtual events attendance.
After all, virtual events offer several benefits:
1. Lower environmental impact
While virtual events will not eliminate emissions completely, as energy is still needed to power the computers and equipment used by the organisers and attendees, virtual conferences produce far fewer emissions than face-to-face gatherings.
Virtual events require no travel at all, making attending them more convenient for everyone. In fact, people in another part of the country, or even the world, can attend an event (Livestream or on-demand) without having to board a plane, train, bus, or car.
2. Higher attendee numbers
Virtual events eliminate the cost and waste associated with airline travel and hotel stays. This does not only reduce your carbon footprint but also makes it possible for your company to register more attendees to virtual events.
Having a larger number of attendees can mean opportunities to get discounts or group registration packages. More importantly, when you allow more employees or executives to attend virtual events, you are helping them stay updated on industry standards and developments. Sustainability and Virtual Events Hitting Two Birds With One Stone
3. More capacity to fit in speaking engagements
Previously, if you were a well-known event speaker, you had to spend a lot of time in the air. In the world of virtual events, the same no longer holds true. Popular event speakers benefit from having more time to fit in speaking engagements.
If you are an industry expert, you can also use virtual events as a tool for not only showcase your depth and breadth of knowledge but also your brand. All you need to do is to partner with an event organiser that’s known for featuring speakers of your expertise and calibre.
4. Increase in networking opportunities
People who sign up for and take part in virtual events open themselves to a world of networking opportunities with those involved in the same or a similar industry. Who knows, you may even find your next vendor or supplier, or even the top talent you’ve been looking for in the next online event you’ll be attending.
5. Not time-bound
Since virtual events are not necessarily time-bound (that is, except for living sessions), if you are an event attendee, you can listen to as many thought leaders as you want, since some virtual events can be viewed on demand.
This means all you need to do is to fit in the events you are interested in into your schedule – something you can’t do with in-person conferences or seminars.
6. Inclusive and diverse
There was a time when women with advanced pregnancies (not allowed on aeroplanes), babies, or several kids found it hard to attend in-person conferences. The same applied to people with disabilities, the elderly, and so on.
With virtual events, such physical limitations no longer exist. All you need is a device you can watch the event on and an internet connection. You can also participate from anywhere, whether you’re at home with your laptop or desktop, in transit while using your mobile phone, or from one of the office boardrooms in your workplace. Sustainability and Virtual Events Hitting Two Birds With One Stone
7. Safe for everyone
When you don’t need to leave your home, commute, or travel by plane to attend an event, you’re also eliminating the possibility of you figuring in an accident or any type of vehicular crash. You’ll be safe in the confines of your home, and attend a virtual event in clothes you are most comfortable wearing, too.
Virtual Events – The Better Alternative
If you’re part of the sustainability sector or are just starting to implement sustainable business practices in your company, virtual events offer one way of achieving your TBL agenda.
Virtual events are also convenient, more affordable, safer, and great venues for local and global networking opportunities. You can even score an additional benefit by attending virtual events focused on sustainability as a subject matter. Either way, virtual events help more than just businesses because the planet benefits as well.
Sustainability and Virtual Events Hitting Two Birds With One Stone