Steve Heap is the chair of the Events Industry Forum, which publishes The Purple Guide. In addition to many decades organising festivals and publishing music, he is also a steering group member of Vision 2025 and the Association of Festival Organisers general secretary. Here Heap provides his views on a new chapter in the world of outdoor events.
We’re at an exciting moment in time, with the impending addition of a new Sustainability Chapter for The Purple Guide. I have sat on the Vision: 2025 steering group alongside some very passionate, knowledgeable pioneers since 2015. They have progressively assembled a comprehensive data bank of free-to-access guidance and resources to help outdoor event organisers reduce and minimise their carbon footprint.
Their networks have drawn on information from far and wide that reflect the collective acceptance and commitment we are experiencing towards our industry cleaning up its act. When it comes to minimising our negative impact on the environment there is a collective voice within our industry that agrees action must be taken.
That’s why it felt right that we should commission Vision: 2025 to coordinate the writing of this new chapter, which will provide consistent, national guidance to benchmark sustainable best practice.
A Green Code of Practice will also enable the industry to assess national environmental standards by local authorities, with the aim of reaching Net Zero by 2030. Vision: 2025 chair Chris Johnson is an inspiration when it comes to driving the messaging and practical measures for climate action within the industry. I admire his ability to reach across commercial boundaries and draw together people and a range of other fantastic organisations doing some amazing work together for the common good.
“There is a collective voice within our industry that agrees action must be taken.”
Highlights from the chapter include: Why to implement sustainable practices at outdoor events. How to create an environmental strategy. Practical actions event organisers can take to reduce environmental impacts in areas such as materials, transport, food, and energy. Avoiding greenwashing in communications. Working with partners and sponsors. Links to relevant guidance, legislation, and resources.
The contents of The Purple Guide chapter will include key terms, governance and strategy, communications, partners & sponsors, and impact areas: energy, materials & waste, travel & transport, and food & drink.
The Chapter is in its final stages of industry consultation, where Vision: 2025 has opened the door wide to a variety of action groups, individuals, and activists within the business to comment and contribute. The final version of the Chapter will be launched at The Sustainable Event Summit, held at The Showman’s Show on 18 October.
The best practices championed in The Purple Guide have become accepted as industry standard for organisers, local authorities and suppliers, along with being acknowledged to save lives.
I hope the guidance across the Sustainability Chapter will similarly become a standardised part of everyone’s event plans and drive a shift to create a more environmentally sustainable events sector. We must take action to leave a World suitable for the next generation to run festivals and outdoor events of the future.
This piece was featured in the Autumn edition of Access All Areas. Read the magazine HERE.