The City of Cape Town has recently produced a Smart Events Handbook to guide event organisers, venues and suppliers in planning and implementing events in a sustainable and responsible manner.  The handbook was compiled by Grace Stead and Karin Diederichs with the input of various industry role-players.

Says Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee Member for Planning and Environment: “This user-friendly handbook aims to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in every organised event in the City of Cape Town”.

The handbook has been developed in consultation with partners and key roleplayers in the events industry and has been endorsed by the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Network SA, the Event Greening Forum for South Africa, the Exhibition and Event Association of South Africa (EXSA), the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA), the Services SETA, the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) and the Technical Production Services Association (TPSA).

Events draw people, who need transport and accommodation, and this leads to economic growth. Events do however also require resources such as energy and water, while creating waste and pollution.

“As much as we wish to promote events in Cape Town, we would like these events to be hosted in a smart and responsible way,” says Alderman Felicity Purchase, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Development and Tourism.

Event greening is the process of incorporating socially and environmentally responsible decision making into the organisation, implementation and participation of an event. Regardless of the size or type of event, it can be organised in a responsible manner.

The handbook is aimed at the following main groups:

  • Event organisers – conferences, meetings, seminars, workshops, festivals, exhibitions
  • Venues – hotels, convention centres, and other venues where events are held
  • Suppliers and subcontractors – infrastructure, audiovisual equipment, transport, products.

This handbook is not only intended for professional event organisers, but also for people arranging small informal events at schools or in their local community. It provides an overview of the main aspects that need to be considered in organising an event.

The book is divided into four sections with practical tips for implementation:

  • WHAT? Basic information about event-greening principles and practices
  • WHY? Benefits of event greening, and the environmental impact of events
  • HOW? Practical information on how to get started, and what you need to consider
  • RESOURCES: Additional information, with a glossary and websites.

Events can have a large environmental footprint, and therefore it is important to understand the basic principles and reasons why we need to change our actions. This needs to become an integral part of planning and implementation at a micro level, but it is also important to understand the bigger picture and an event’s relation to global warming.

The production of the Smart Events Handbook is one of the FIFA World Cup™ Green Goal 2010 legacy projects. Green Goal 2010, with its 42 projects under 9 themes, contributed to raising awareness, minimising waste, diversifying and using energy efficiently, consuming water sparingly, compensating for the event’s carbon footprint, practicing responsible tourism, and constructing infrastructure with future generations in mind. These greening initiatives looked beyond the actual time frame of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, and included concerns for post-event environmental, social and economic impacts on the immediate and extended environment.

The Smart Events Handbook also forms part of the Smart Living Series. The Smart Living Handbook, which was developed in 2007 and is currently being updated, was developed for Cape Town households, with a focus on the efficient use of natural resources such as water and energy, the reduction of waste, and the protection of our natural biodiversity. It has been successfully used to train and raise awareness among City staff, in schools, communities and the corporate sector in Cape Town. A Smart Office Handbook is also currently being developed.

To download a copy of the Smart Events Handbook, please go to Event organisers or those involved in events can also request a copy from the City. Please contact Glen Takeloo on 021 487 2829.

Leave a Reply