Event Planners Rank the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Authors: Ken Budd       
Barbara Palmer       

Sustainable Development Goals

These are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that event planners ranked atop their list of most important. (Courtesy UN)

During August 2019, more than 7,000 event professionals from 58 countries responded to a survey asking them to rank which of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were the most important to them, and whether or not they would commit to trying to take actions toward reaching those goals for a month or longer.

The survey, conducted by the U.K.-based nonprofit Positive Impact Events, was designed to gather information about which goals event professionals were most interested in achieving, said Positive Impact Events’ Fiona Pelham.

As we discuss in Convene‘s March CMP Series story “A To-Do List for Planet Earth’s Planners,” the survey also asked respondents to indicate when a goal was important to them, but they felt like they didn’t have enough information or training to act on it.

The following were among the top-ranked goals:

SDG 2 Zero Hunger

  • 89 percent of respondents were committed to choosing small-scale and local food producers; 67 percent for every event
  • 65 percent of respondents were committed to donating food waste; 59 percent for every event. Thirty-five percent of respondents said that they would like to donate food waste but didn’t know how to do it.

SDG 4 Quality Education

  • 78 percent are committed to providing internships to allow young people to gain relevant skills; 60 percent at every event
  • 77 percent are committed to share content to support an increase in knowledge and skills for sustainable development; 67 percent at every event

SDG 5 Gender Equality

  • 86 percent were committed to ensuring that at least 50 percent of event content was provided by women; 74 percent at every event
  • 82 percent were committed to creating an anti-discrimination policy for events; 72 percent for every event

SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation

  • 70 percent were committed to choosing an event destination with water-saving initiatives; 56 percent for every event. Thirty percent of respondents said they did not know how to carry out the goal.
  • 86 percent were committed to providing drinking stations at their events; 76 percent at every event

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption And Production

  • 63 percent were committed to reporting on the sustainability of their events; 55 percent at every event. Thirty-six percent responded that they would like to but did not know how.
  • 83 percent were committed to providing access to different waste-stream bins at events and to work with their supply chains to prevent, reduce, and recycle waste and reuse items where possible; 76 percent at every event

SDG 13 Climate Action

  • 80 percent were committed to providing incentives for event attendees to use public transport; 65 percent at every event
  • 77 percent were committed to serving a plant-based menu at an event; 60 percent at every event

SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals

  • 77 percent were committed to choosing suppliers who report on their sustainability initiatives; 71 at every event.
  • 73 percent were committed to collaborating with local communities to understand potential event impacts; 65 percent at every event. Twenty-seven percent who chose this goal as important responded that they did not know how to achieve it.

See more results at Creating a Sustainable Events Industry; take the survey at My World 2030.


Earn One Hour of CE Credit

This story is part of Convene‘s CMP Series cover story for March 2020. After reading “A To-Do List for Planet Earth’s Planners,” and the related stories listed at the bottom of that post, you will be ready to earn one hour of CE credit toward CMP certification from the Events Industry Council. To take an online test to earn that CE credit, and for access to additional CMP Series stories, go to Convene‘s CMP Series page.

The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a registered trademark of the Events Industry Council.

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