CWT Meetings & Events has published a special report entitled “The Future of Sustainable Events”. The business travel giant points out that sustainability is an increasingly important factor for this economic sector, which will reach a turnover of 840 million US dollars in 2020.
As activists in some of the world’s best-known destinations – including London, Sydney, Amsterdam, Madrid, New York and Washington DC – protest and demand more action in the fight against climate change, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the issue.
“The sustainability of the meetings and events industry, indeed the travel industry as a whole, is at the forefront of corporate thinking and event planning in 2020,” says Derek Sharp (Senior Vice President and Managing Director, CWT Meetings & Events), “this is being driven by media coverage of climate change, but more importantly, it is being supported by the next generation of travelers – the millennials.”
These will become the world’s largest group of business travelers from 2024 onwards, closely followed by the Centennials. “They are people for whom travel has become commonplace and available to a degree not seen by older generations,” Sharp adds, “they want to continue meeting in popular destinations, but they are particularly aware of the need for sustainable practices that respect the environment and regional communities wherever they go.
Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey 2019 found that climate change is the biggest concern of this generation.
In response, companies and meeting planners are taking various initiatives. This includes offsetting CO2 emissions from flights, avoiding plastic waste, opting for regional food and beverages or selecting ethically sound suppliers. While consumers and employees around the world are looking for brands and companies that match their values, major international initiatives such as United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are helping to spread the message that in 2020 and beyond, sustainability and responsible business will not only be arguments to soothe the conscience of HR departments but will have real consequences for a company’s brand and economic performance.