It's almost hard to imagine a world without events, conferences and meetings - almost impossible, particularly when we consider the financial benefits that these bring to countries, communities and companies across the globe.
But the environmental, social and cultural impacts of events often outperform the financial or goodwill aspects that they create and PCO's and professionals in this industry need to take note of new efforts by the South African Department of Tourism to change this.
Concerned about the impact of events - primarily from a social and developmental point of view, the DOT recently unveiled a tool that will be rolled-out to every government department involved in either planning, holding or funding events and which has been designed to measure the impacts and sustainability of events.
Funding, sponsorships and appointments will be dependent upon organisers completing an impact analysis of their events and providing the relevant government department actionable results that will help the country's developmental goals and ensure greater 'bang per buck' for the State. Think about this ........ this will affect some of the most important events and programmes in the country in the coming months and years, and no PCO will be immune to the fallout for not complying.
It will lead to corporate re-alignment and planning for events and sponsorships, and create a whole new move towards sustainable events in general. However, there is one catch to this good news. The skills and expertise to measure the impact of events is largely non-existent with PCO's and event organisers (and even the government itself), and venues and facilities are patently unable to provide the type of information needed to populate the post-event reports that will be required.
And this means that organisers, sponsors and clients across the board will need to embrace certification of events by companies that are capable and competent to do this. All the information needed for the reporting system that the DOT has launched, is obtained through certification of Green Events, and this is now the time for the industry to embrace and support sustainable eventing in general. We will probably see a massive growth in 'fly-by-night' consultants and 'specialists' to meet the demand for these services, but think very carefully before committing to anyone without a track record in this field.