Set Your Intention

Good strategy means defining what is important to focus on.

Start out by finding out what’s important to your team, the event and your stakeholders. Find your moral compass. Identify the critical and relevant sustainability issues. Work out ‘what is your why’!

In the module ‘sustainability literacy’ we learnt about sustainable development and the principles which guide these. We took a deeper dive into how to apply these at events, and undertook an exercise to map event components to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In this phase of developing your Sustainability Strategy and Framework, we now must set our ambitions – what we really want to strive for in supporting sustainable development and how this can be enacted through our event.

In the lesson ‘A Strategic Approach’ we saw what a strategic framework could look like, and now it is time to develop some content for your own framework. This is not a copy/paste exercise… you must truly think about your organisation and event, the context in which you operate, what governs your moral compass, who cares about what and how to set this all into a strategy that has the right themes and pillars for you.

Conduct workshops

If you’re just starting out or needing to refresh, the best tool I can recommend is to hold a workshop with your team.

This should include top management, as well of course, with those doing the work! You may also find it right to invite key stakeholders too, especially if you have delivery partners or major contractors who you’ll rely on to bring it to reality. 

Establish ‘what you stand for’ and what the organisation is passionate about. Create a shared vision, set goals and prioritise issues for management.

The workshops aim to uncover and define what the underlying principles or values of the organisation are, what everyone considers as important sustainability issues for management, what topics, concerns, issues or campaigns you want to stand behind, and how to prioritise what to focus on.

The workshop will come in three parts. You can run these on the same day or as three separate workshops or meetings, with the same participants or change them around as seems relevant.

Three workshop sessions

Session 1

In this session of the workshop, you will define your governing principles and values. Which as we learnt in the previous lesson, sit right at the top of your Sustainability Strategy and Framework.

Here you will take a top-level look at the SDGs.

You will also identify actionable elements and touch points within your event and organisation that relate to supporting these.

Go to the workshop

Session 2

In this session of the workshop you will bring out the key sustainability issues and topics which will build out the key pillars and the themes and topics which nest underneath them. This is the core of your framework. 

You will refer back to the SDGs, and governing principles and values during this process.

Go to the workshop

Session 3

In this session of the workshop you will bring to life all that you, your stakeholders, event participants and community care about.

You will refer back to your guiding principles and values, the touch points, key issues and topics, and imagine how you can use the event and its sustainability context as a platform for good. 

Remember this is not an add-on CSR or charity side project. This is the very heartbeat of your organisation and event. It boils down to your ‘why’.

Go to the workshop

Your tasks

ORGANISATION REVIEW: Undergo a review to clarify how you can contribute to the UN goal of building back better. Ask yourself the hard questions.

  • Does your event support a clean and green transition?
  • Have you identified and incorporated the climate cost of your event?
  • Are you engaging with industry-wide initiatives for the same?

LEADERSHIP REVIEW: Reflect on the leadership of your event or organisation. Are they primed, ready, alert and willing to build back better?

CONDUCT STAKEHOLDER WORKSHOPS: Bring your staff, stakeholders and others together for a series of workshops.

  • Workshop 1: governing principles and values
  • Workshop 2: issues and foundation themes
  • Workshop 3: what is your why?