Circular economy meets events.
Opposites? Or a match made in heaven?
It takes more than recycled paper and a bit of green paint to make an event sustainable. But what exactly is required? And what role does the circular economy play?
Concept Developer Juliane Weigel talks to Philipp Wesselburg, Managing Director of the Stiftung für Nachhaltigkeit (Foundation for Sustainability), a client of standing ovation, about sustainable project ideas.
What does the circular economy mean to you and what do you find interesting about it?
Philipp: To me, the circular economy means moving away from linear production and the throwaway society and towards more sustainability, equity and a more responsible approach to the environment. What I find really interesting is that the circular economy is hyper-efficient. Because we don’t produce something to dispose of it afterwards, but instead consider how we can use both the product and the by-products created during production.
What opportunities do events hold for the circular economy?
Philipp: We aren’t even at the start of the circular economy, we’re before it! And we are racing against time. That’s why we need events to exchange ideas and to get others on board – people from business and politics, and people like you and me. So the more people we can inform and motivate at the same time, the more time we save.
What do you think is important when organizing an event for the circular economy?
Philipp: People are more receptive to new ways of doings things if you take time to explain them. Not a lecture, but a fun, interactive experience. Participants take the time to be there. So we have to get the message across in the right way. The event should be an experience that makes connections and stirs emotions.
In the best-case scenario, it encourages discourse.
In the best-case scenario, it encourages discourse and people keep talking about it after the event. Thinking with the circular economy in mind means thinking from the start and in multiple dimensions.
What do you need to think about when you hold a circular event? What are the must-haves and no-gos?
Philipp: We need to analyze a conventional event before we can develop solutions. Where does the power come from? What happens with the water and waste water? How much food is there and how much waste is produced?
Analysis enables solutions.
So it’s best not to attract crowds from far away. In terms of waste, you obviously try your best to create none at all. Right from the planning stage, you need to consider how you’re going to deal with waste.
Are the circular economy and events enemies or friends? And why?
Philipp: We need events! We can’t say: “Let’s give up everything.” Things don’t happen overnight and the situation isn’t black or white or friend or foe. We need to explore alternatives and work with them. It depends on the event. An event doesn’t necessarily work against sustainability or the circular economy. It just has to be planned properly.