Russ Spollin knows a thing or two about running sustainable events,. He specialises in festivals and community events, and is currently implementing a sustainable event system for Bristol Festival Community Group, RedFest and BeanFest. Russ also curates Pig Pen Radio, a social enterprise radio station.
Russ used his 300 Seconds to hone his presentation skills ahead of a presentation to Bristol Festival, so he shared his introduction to sustainable event management with the audience at Bristol’s Engine Shed last week.
Russ and his colleagues are working to make BrisFest a more sustainable organisation. This project is focussed on formalising and improving the levels of sustainability of the event.
He began with an introduction to sustainability, a word that’s used widely but often misunderstood. Sustainability means that things can keep going into the future – they can sustain themselves. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It’s a balance between the environment, the community and the economy.
Public authorities often set targets for sustainability, for example on cutting emissions, but these often don’t go far enough. We should really aim to surpass these, urged Russ, and it’s something we each have to take responsibility for, especially in the events sector.
Events can have a significant impact on the economy, the community, and the environment. Energy and waste are their biggest impacts. Bristol Festival Community Group are aiming to become a sustainable organisation. They’re doing this by implementing a management system which provides a framework so they can continually improve their sustainability performance.
In practical terms, that means weaving sustainability into all aspects of putting on the events – from the long-term strategy of the group to immediate term actions like reducing energy consumption and waste.