Rosa B. Reyero Miguelez

The Sustain(Ability) of Business Events | Part I.

Rosa B. Reyero Miguelez

When you have a couple of kilos you want to get rid of, a simple “detox” diet based on reducing the intake of calories for some days will do the trick without big problems. After that, a maintenance diet will easily help you keep your usual weight. But if you are obese, needing to get rid of a considerably high amount of kilos, you need a crash diet, most surely involving a total change of eating habits, to make you go back to a weight that you can maintain over time with the same diet mentioned above.

The objective is the same on both cases, but the processes are very different.

We talk quite a lot at the present times about sustainability, and rightfully so. According to the UN, sustainability is commonly defined as the “human’s ability to meet its own needs without compromising the needs of the future generations”.

However, in my opinion, we should not be speaking so much about sustainability, and rather call it “regeneration” (in words of Guy Bigwood from Global Destination Sustainability Movement). Regenerate first, and then become sustainable. I think the state in which our planet and our society itself are now needs a rewind, a crash diet, which starts with a change of mindset, before we can get to a world or situation that we can sustain.

Speaking of sustainable events, I wonder: How is it that we are all crazy for planes to start arriving full of participants to our cities, for buses and cabs to transport them to the various hotels and congress centres… but then we want to offer them a sustainable event? When and where does the sustainability of our event start?

The cat is out of the bag: only a pandemic, a total movement constraint, and a closure of airspace with the suspension of all flights could make us see what is needed to recover at least a little of the planet’s health. Are we prepared to undo what we have done wrong up to now?

Let’s be honest, at the moment only kerosene airplanes fly. They need to fly to survive. And similarly, congress centres, hotels, buses, cabs, caterers… all kinds of companies and organizations in the business events industry need people meeting face-to-face to survive. How are these people going to get to their destination? What will they eat? Where will they meet and sleep?

I understand that you have to start somewhere but I have the feeling that we are trying to tackle a problem that only a crash diet can bring back to a state which can then be sustainable, with our contribution to it.

So let’s take a step back and fix things first, so we don’t end up having the same said problem, just with a cover hiding the ugly truth and scratching only the surface of the solution. Let’s prioritize and change our mindset and habits first, and when we have achieved something worth keeping, we will worry about sustaining it.