Being a successful steward is reflected through environmental performance, socio-economic outcomes, and cultural cohesion being enhanced.
Environmental stewardship is at the heart of this principle, but maintaining culture whilst also fostering inclusion and diversity is also key.
Consider yourself as simply temporary custodians. We have inherited the earth and our ways from our ancestors and we will pass this on to future generations.
Ultimately, to be successful stewards, you are offering future generations a planet that is healthier, a society that is more cohesive with increased wellbeing.
Do do this well, we must look at protection and conservation as well as restoration and improvement.
We are all responsible for the impacts of the resources we consume, the impacts we create, and the culture we create. This includes not only in your immediate location, but also to be considered are the impacts created throughout your supply chain occurring because of your purchasing choices.
Stewardship is closely tied to integrity and good governance. Remember that we are the stewards of the future and temporary custodians, who must look always to future generations.
Environmental impact management is the practical manifestation of your environmental stewardship. Read more on this below.
The Māori principle of kaitiakitanga is a living example of a culture that has this sense of stewardship (cultural and environmental) deeply embedded into the community and governance by organisations. Non-Māori organisations and people in New Zealand likewise embrace this stewardship principle. Find out more.
Anticipating and avoiding environmental impacts of any of your activities is of course a demonstration of your environmental stewardship.
There are many things to consider and many potential issues to manage. The information below will help you to broaden your view of the types of environmental impacts you could consider for review and management planning.
Key environmental management issues
- air pollution, particulates, airborne litter
- dust management
- surface protection (trampling, vehicle movement)
- spills and releases to the environment, waterborne litter
- avoidance or management of erosion and sediment
- snow and ice management
- water flow/diversion issues, impacts on water scarcity and fair distribution of access to water
- riparian zone protection
- turbidity and underwater noise
- light and sound pollution
- protection of local fauna from project impacts
- chemical releases and toxic residue
- waste and wastewater management
- local environment protected or restored
- Indirect impacts which may occur away from the event site due to event activities
- Issues that may occur during manufacture, use and disposal of product and materials
- animal welfare and unsustainable harvesting practices as a result of sourcing practices
Questions to consider
- Will our decisions lead to significant environmental or social impacts? If so, have alternatives been evaluated?
- Do we need to produce an environmental impact assessment and/or environmental impact plan for our proposed event activities?
- How are we monitoring our resource consumption, direct and indirect impacts and materials/resource flow?
- How do we manage situations where the rule of law does not provide sufficient environmental, social and economic safeguards?
- Are the use of resources and their impacts considered and monitored?
- Do we monitor and report incidents and spills?
- Have we considered the precautionary principle and when do we apply that? Watch the video below which explains this principle further!
Environmental Management In Practice
Environmental Impact Assessment
To anticipate and mitigate any environmental impacts from your activities, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) might needed.
This is especially important in areas with sensitive natural environments, and where any works are necessary for site.
In fact, regulation may require you to undertake an EIA, depending on the type of activities planned and the degree of risk.
All planning and production activities related to any physical sites you occupy, must adhere to any relevant environmental regulations.
If you use a management system approach (e.g ISO 20121 or ISO 14001), a requirement is actually to keep an Environmental Regulations Register of regulations that relate to the environmental or broader sustainability rules, regulations, protocols or other mandatory or voluntary codes.
Good air quality can be assured through establishing anti-idling policies for vehicles and other equipment running on fuel, and through running mobile power generators efficiently. Fireworks should be avoided. Using mains power will obviously also eliminate emissions from mobile power generators. Read more about emissions from generators here.
Light and sound pollution
To reduce or eliminate disturbance to the local community and biodiversity ensure there are controls, limits and monitoring is in place to prevent sound and light pollution.
Environmental Management Quick Checklist
- Environmental Impact Assessments are undertaken for any physical works or significant event activities.
- A person within the event operations team is responsible for environmental protection oversight, protocol-setting and compliance monitoring.
- All environmental regulations or management protocols are met. Such regulation’s adherence requirements are included in relevant third party agreements.
- An Environmental Regulations Register is established.
- All relevant functional area’s individual operations plans include environmental protection and adherence to regulations.
- Protocols and incident reporting are established for spills and accidents.
- Safe refuelling procedures are established and monitored.
- Environmentally-sound cleaning products for amenities are used by cleaning companies or venue.
- Processes are in place to avoid sound and light pollution.
- Anti-idling policies are established and enforced.
There are many actions you can take to prevent litter. Here are some examples.
Avoiding pretty litter
Instigate a ban on the use of all types of confetti, balloons, glitter and fireworks with plastic disposables. This ban should be included in all third party agreements, reconfirmed in relevant communication, and compliance is monitored and corrected.
Cigarette butt littering prevention is key and make sure you have techniques in place to prevent it. This could include having a no-smoking venue, but remember that like running water, smokers will always find a way. So anticipate where they may gather, or designate a location, and ensure ashtrays and protection from wind and butt deployment is in place. Communication of course is key.
Site crew consumables
Contractors such as plumbers, AV, electricians, IT, staging, infrastructure, and branding, should be engaged to not litter cable ties (either the ends cut off upon install, or the full item when packing down and clipping off). Include this as a performance requirement and contractual obligation.
Include in cleaning contracts that the site must be free of litter at all times. This is especially important to prevent litter making its way into waterways. However, ensure that the cleaners have separation practices and equipment so that recyclable and compostable litter is placed in the correct resource recovery stream.
Spills and Environmental Incidents
To ensure environmental responsibility and transparency, you should have a Spills and Incidents Plan. This plan would include the required response processes and resources needed to deal with any incident that could be hazardous to the local environment.
Safe refuelling practices
As part of an environmental management system, protocols for refuelling should be established. This would apply to plant, machinery and vehicles, that need to be refuelled onsite. Staff must be trained in these safe practices. This should be included as part of the environmental impact monitoring of the site. If incorrect fuel handling is observed, corrective action should be taken. All relevant areas should have spill kits.