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Examining the Power of Events at ibtm world


Positive Impact, an initiative to tell the story of the power of events during the United Nations’ Year of Sustainable Tourism, completed its first year with several key accomplishments.

Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact and the immediate past chair of MPI’s Board of Directors, said Wednesday she was very pleased with the response from the meeting and event industry to the project.

“It’s been a year of learning for us,” she said. “We had successes. We also know we have to do better with education and we need to have some tougher conversations. This project is about creating a world that works for all of us and our industry is vitally important to this.”

Positive Impact provides education and collaboration opportunities to create a sustainable event industry and strives to tell the story of the power of events so there will be more events in the world and inspire action within the event industry so every event has a positive social, economic and environmental impact.

The campaign was designed to show that events are the essential industry to ensure the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are achieved because events bring people together where they can learn, collaborate, innovate and create solutions to meet those goals. More than 12 global associations collaborated in the project.

Pelham, who released her full report during ibtm world in Barcelona, cited four key achievements:

• More than 1 million opportunities created
• More than 300 volunteer ambassadors were gathered
• More than 400 examples of sustainability best practices in events were shared
• Research created on the social, economic and environmental impacts of business

One of the associations that participated was ibtm.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Positive Impact to promote this campaign and drive awareness of the importance of sustainability,” said Kerry Prince, portfolio director at ibtm. “We are committed to continuing to play a leading role in supporting and inspiring the industry in taking a sustainable approach to business and events. From careful selection of our event partners and multiple on-site initiatives including badge recycling and education sessions, to day-to-day office running, we’re working towards a more sustainable future.”

During 2017, Positive Impact collaborated with sport, business and cultural event associations and provided over 1 million opportunities for event professionals to be educated in sustainability. This was achieved by sharing monthly education with industry associations and sharing education on social media, including the annual #CSRshareDay campaign, which reached more than 1.6 million people.

The launch of the report marks the start of a focus on collaboration in 2018 as the group will now work towards developing additional collaborations and sending a call to action to the wider industry about the opportunity to raise the profile of the event industry as a way to meet the SDG.

“In this report, we imagine if anything was possible and look at the potential positive impact events could have,” Pelham said. “For example, if we had the legal structure and local infrastructure to address event food waste, how the event industry could further the UN SDG zero food poverty. Or if our industry demonstrated best practice and created education panels or event content which communicated a balanced gender viewpoint how we could further the SDG gender equality.

“This report demonstrates two opportunities for the event industry, the first to take responsible action which is good business sense. The second is to tell the story of the powerful positive impact which events can have so more companies, governments etc. use events and our industry grows. In a time of increasing technological ability and high levels of security telling the story of meeting face to face is vital.”

Positive Impact is a global not for profit which exists to provide education and collaboration opportunities to create a sustainable event industry.

To see the full report, go to

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.