The business case for a sustainable event industry

Positive Impact Events is a not for profit creating a sustainable event industry since 2004. This means that every time an event happens, there is a positive environmental, social, and/or economic impact. Positive Impact Events shares best practice, faciliates conversations to facilitate industry-changing reports, creates content, tools and campaigns to tell the story of the power of events.

To understand why this work is essential for the future of the event industry, listen to a webinar from future event attendees or read the 2018 IPCC report, which recommends using more technology rather than travelling to meetings.

The Business Case for Submitting an ‘Acceleration Commitment’ on Behalf of the Global Event Industry in September 2019

An ‘Acceleration Commitment’ will communicate the business case for events to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This way the event industry will be part of the conversation with businesses and global government on the ten year plan to achieve the goals.

September 2019 is the deadline for all industries to submit an ‘Acceleration Commitment’, after which the United Nations and global businesses will create action plans based on the submissions. This is a clear opportunity for events to be recognised as a solution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, rather than being identified as one of the causes of the problem (for example, in a 2018 IPCC Report, the recommendation was to use technology more and travel to meetings less).

This ‘Acceleration Commitment’ will build on Positive Impact Events’ 5 existing partnerships, Memorandum of Association, affiliation and agreements with United Nations bodies.

This commitment will not just be from Positive Impact Events; instead it is an opportunity for the whole event industry to open the door to further conversations with the United Nations and global businesses about the role of events in achieving the 17 sustainable development goals. These goals are what future government and business strategy will be shaped around.

Proposal for your involvement with Positive Impact Events – engaging the Event Industry with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

What is the Acceleration Commitment?  What are the goals and Objectives? 

As the campaign develops, changes are frequent. If you require more up to date news, please email

How will be updated on the progress of the campaign?

Led by Fiona, calls will take place amongst all founders monthly and should naturally lead to collaboration opportunities. 

What marketing activity will support the campaign?  

The marketing plan is made up of various elements including:

  1. PR activity – A press toolkit has been issued across sustainability and event media.  Coverage to date includes MeetingsNet,CIM Europe, Exhibition News, Exhibition World, Travel Daily and 3BL,   Feel free to email Bev Ridyard, Head of Marketing on for a more up to date list.

  2. Email marketing – Positive Impact Events will their database of over 9,500 which includes over 300 Ambassadors. 

  3. Partnership opportunities - we will also engage with the following via email and social media via our supplementary toolkit.:

    - 70 Associations including MPI, SITE and ABPCO

    - Companies who are already supporting this initiative (see logos on the homepage)

  4. Social media – We will engage with our 3900 Twitter followers, Facebook and Instagram followers and will be interacting with all supporters to maximise opportunities

  5. UN collaboration – We expect this survey to be shared across the United Nations including directly to their event organizers    

Will our company logo be included?

Yes, it will be included but we know that it is much more than a logo placement! 

What is the timeline for this project? When will it start and what is the expected end date?

We have already started! We are agreeing monthly call schedules, working on the commitment content and in conversation with the UN. 

Why work with Positive Impact Events?

1. We have strategic relationships with the United Nations

Since 2016 Positive Impact have created Memorandums Of Understandings, partnerships and collaborations with a number of United Nations Bodies and Sustainability experts, which is very rare. This means we can co create and collaborate on areas of interest.

2. We have a global community that we can create calls to action with.

We are a network and community who collaborate to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   Our CEO, Fiona Pelham,  is a known expert, a member of the UN Environment Expert panel, chaired ISO 20121, led the creation of GRI EOSS and has been awarded an honorary doctorate for services to sustainability in the event industry.

3. We are a facilitator of positive disruption.

Using design thinking approach, we produce materials to help the event industry be sustainable. For example the creation of a plastic app which provides ideas on addressing plastic use but perhaps more importantly, we gather global data to understand the role of plastic within the event industry.

4. We trial and seek to improve materials with the event community.

We act quickly rather than perfectly to demonstrate how event professionals are part of the solution to creating a world that works for everyone. Our work protects the reputation of events and give our industry a way to demonstrate we are trying to change.  As a result, we match our sponsorship income with tangible outcomes which will make a difference in the event industry.



I am worried my company has not done enough on sustainability so I don’t think we can get involved, can we?

No one in the world is doing enough on sustainability! Being in immediate action can only be good for your brand, your internal staff moral and your journey learning’s.

I think my company is doing all we need to so I don’t need to be involved do I?

Well done on implementing a sustainability strategy! If you are willing to build your brand collaboration with Positive Impact Events this is the opportunity for you.

Why are Positive Impact Events specifically leading on this?

Whilst many industry associations for example are taking fantastic action, Positive Impact Events takes a much broader and strategic approach across all types of events which happen around the world.

How will the money be used?

Positive Impact Events is a not for profit which means all money is spent on achieving the vision of creating a sustainable events industry. On average 50% of our project funds are spent on expertise outside the core Positive Impact Events team for example on scientists, UN collaborators, policy design experts or app builders.

I want to be involved but I don’t have the money, how can I get involved?

Become a Positive Impact ambassador and use your voice to make a difference. Receive complimentary educational materials to inspire others!

How does Positive Impact Events know how to do this?

Positive Impact Events is a not for profit which has provided education and collaboration opportunities to create a sustainable event industry for over 15 years. We have led on the creation of global standards for a sustainable event industry (ISO 20121 and GRI EOSS) and we don’t know everything so we collaborate with scientists, experts, innovators and globally recognised leaders. You can find out more here:


Listen to the interview with EventIcons to hear Fiona Pelham Positive Impact Events CEO explain more about the clear opportunity and the business case for creating the ‘Acceleration Commitment’.