It’s all about data and results! At the end of all your effort you need to have measured your impact, assessed your improvement and shared your results.
Here are some suggested metrics to gather data. How detailed you get and what exactly you measure will depend on your event context.
Your ability to gather robust data, the effort it takes for the value of the data, the expectation of stakeholders that certain things are measured and of course the relative impact or importance of an issue will also prioritise it for measurement.
Techniques on how to gather data and analyse results are included in the various topic’s course material.
You may also wish to measure during certain phases of your event planning cycle, during pre-production and also pull-out, rather than just event days.
Where events have distinct precincts, you may also report on these separately, such as the main park, an indoor venue and a closed-off street; or the campsite versus the entertainment arena; or the exhibition halls versus the conference centre.
What to measure
Direct economic benefit
- local purchasing and contracts
- expenditure on local wages
- direct economic benefit for event participants as a result of event participation (e.g. vendors, bars, food traders.
- expenditure for community benefit (e.g. donations or social programmes).
Indirect economic benefit
- Expenditure of event visitors during the event days.
- Additional tourism expenditure associated with the event visitation for tourism/inbound visitors. (Tourism events held in ‘high season’ will likely experience visitor expenditure displacement, rather than a net expenditure increase.)
- Ongoing increase in visitation to the destination attributable to the event.
- Consequential economic benefit for event participants (e.g. exhibitors or participant networking resulting in increased business).
- Businesses supported or created in the event’s supply chain as a result of the event’s expenditure.
- losses to other attractions due to the event.
Economic benefits with social value
- Economic development of areas of poverty, due to direct and indirect event expenditure.
- Support or creation of social enterprises or micro-businesses in the event’s supply chain, which endure and which have direct social benefits.
- Participation in the event (as an attendee, trader, worker or competitor) by those who may previously have been excluded for economic reasons.
- Creation of short-term and/or long-term employment as a result of the event and its supply chain expenditure.
Community, society, inclusion
The Global Reporting Initiative and its Event Organisers Sector Supplement has created disclosures or standards, which offer excellent guidance on how to report the society, community and inclusion topics. For example:
- EO4 Expressions of dissent by type, issue, scale and response.
- EO5 Types and impacts of initiatives to create a socially inclusive event.
- EO6 Types and impacts of initiatives to create an accessible environment.
Behaviour Change Aspects
You may wish to report on your effect on the supply chain or event production participants. For example, the number and the stories associated with:
- Participants signing the vendors or supplier charter.
- Participants purchasing carbon offsets for their event-related flights.
- Proportion of food vendors transitioning permanently to organic catering.
- Food vendors no longer using polystyrene food packaging, or adopting in-kitchen composting and waste oil recycling.
- Venues inspired to instigate energy management plans.
- Local council authorities establishing sustainable event management policies or resources as a result of your engagement and agitation.
- Merchandise companies sourcing and adopting fairtrade, organic and/or local supplies.
Evaluating enduring behaviour change and the closing of the value-action gap amongst event attendees, and proving causality between your event and those changes may be far harder to assess. However if you have big ambitions in this area, you shouldn’t shy away from attempting to gauge your effect.
You will be able to measure some real-time changes in behaviour during the event lifecycle such as the proportion of attendees opting into the various sustainability related activities and initiatives you have in place, for example:
- Conference delegates opting into the bundled ticket and offset offer.
- Bags of recycling returned to your recycling rewards station.
- Proportion of people arriving by public transport or active travel.
- Number of water bottles refilled and single-use plastic bottles avoided.
- Success rate in compostable waste segregation by attendees.
- Number of people signing a pledge or participating in a sustainability-related activation or campaign ask.
Materials and Procurement
The key to procurement reporting is to measure the proportion of your procurement budget that met your declared sustainable procurement policies or goals. Examples of what these could be are as follows:
- Value and/or percentage of products/food procured with enhanced environmental sustainability credentials or certifications.
- Value and/or proportion of sourcing from suppliers with verifiable fair trade and fair labour practices within at-risk supply chain sectors.
- Value and/or percentage of spending on local, regional and national suppliers.
- Proportion of suppliers that have been scruitinised for independent sustainability certification.
- Measurable reduction in materials sourced due to initiatives.
- Percentage of expenditure from companies with sustainability policies.
- Percentage of merchandise with sustainability certification.
- Percentage of hotels with sustainability certification.
- Percentage of hotels within walking distance of the event site.
- Number of venues with sustainable policies and procedures.
- Percentage of menu served with organic certification.
- Value and/or percentage of seafood served from independently verified sustainable fisheries.
- Percentage of coffee and tea served that was Fairtrade certified.
- Percentage of produce served sourced from within 100 miles.
- Percentage of food served which is fresh and healthy.
- Percentage of stallholders/vendors at the event that are local.
- Percentage of workforce who live locally.
Waste and Resource Recovery
- Total waste produced.
- Total waste sent to landfill.
- Total waste sent to incineration.
- Total waste recycled (by material stream if possible).
- Total biodegradable waste composted (sent to anaerobic digestion or other processing, such as worms, chickens and pigs!)
- Total waste salvaged and sent for reuse/repurposing.
- Total other waste (e.g. e-waste, hazardous).
- Total waste per event attendee per day or all event.
Deeper measurement and analysis could include:
- Total percentage of waste diverted from landfill and incineration.
- Reductions in waste created or waste diverted from landfill due to resource recovery initiatives.
- Total food waste and percentage of acceptable food donated.
- Total biodegradable waste lost to landfill due to lack of facilities or operational success.
- Total recyclable waste lost to landfill due to lack of facilities or operational success.
- Total plastic waste.
- GHG emissions from landfilled biodegradable waste.
- Total recyclable waste lost to landfill.
- GHG emissions from waste haulage (transport).
- Total water consumed by source.
- Total wastewater produced.
- Water used per person per day.
Deeper measurement and analysis could include:
- Total wastewater recycled and reused onsite.
- Total wastewater removed by sullage hauler or disposed through sewer lines.
- Number of toilets (by type and number of seats).
- Total flush volume per toilet (by type).
- Number of water refill stations (and number of taps).
- Number of water-filled bollards (road blocks) and volume of each.
- GHG emissions from water production.
- GHG emissions for sewage treatment.
- Transport/GHG impact of water cartage.
- Transport/GHG impact of sewage/wastewater cartage.
- Total kWh of mains/grid power used.
- Percentage of renewable energy supply from mains/grid.
- Total litres fuel used in mobile generators, by fuel type.
- Total kWh from zero emissions power sources (solar, wind, pedal, hydrogen fuel cell, kinetic, etc).
- Total bottled gas (kg).
- Total mains gas (kWh).
- Heating oil fuel used.
- Total percentage of event energy from renewable energy supply.
- Total GHGs from energy use.
- Total energy per attendee per day or all event.
- Total renewable energy credits purchased.
- Total carbon offset credits purchased.
Deeper mobile power generator analysis could include:
- Total number of generators.
- Total kVa of generators supplied.
- Running hours
- Efficiency (average load to output)
Deeper measurement and analysis could include:
- Energy consumption avoided due to conservation initiatives.
- Total investment in renewable energy technology or infrastructure for the event.
- Energy intensity of the event (against a common metric – people, hours, days, square metres of event site, number of meals, number of activities etc)
- Percentage of attendees travelling to event, by mode of transport.
- Average distance travelled (return trip).
- Average occupancy for relevant modes of travel.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions analysis:
- Aggregate GHG emissions for each travel mode.
- Total GHG emissions for attendee travel.
- Average GHG emissions per attendee.
- Total carbon offset credits purchased for attendee travel (by organiser or attendee).
- Significant additional ground travel of event personnel (not including commuting) by mode, reported as total distance, number of trips, and resulting GHGs.
- Production-based air travel for personnel, total flights, destination, class of travel and resulting GHGs.
- Total carbon offsets purchased for production air travel.
- Significant additional ground freight GHGs (infrastructure, materials, supplies, waste).
- Production-based air freight; distance/routes, volume/weight and resulting GHG emissions.
- Production-based sea freight; distance, volume/weight and resulting GHG emissions.
- Fuel use by site vehicles, site plant and runners during pre-production, event and pull-out, and resulting GHG emissions.
- Carbon offsets purchased for production transport.
Greenhouse gas emissions:
- Attendee travel: total GHG emissions and proportion of total event GHG emissions.
- Production travel: total GHG emissions and pro- portion of total event GHG emissions.
- Production transport: total GHG emissions and proportion of total event GHG emissions.
- Total event GHG emissions.
- Total carbon offsets purchased.
- Net GHG emissions.