Sustainable business events are non-negotiable - SANCB

Sustainability within the business events industry is no longer negotiable.

This was the message from South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) chief convention bureau officer, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo. She was speaking at the opening of the Event Greening Forum (EGF) 2017 Conference. SANCB is tasked with growing the business events industry (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions).

In an effort to promote sustainability in the business tourism industry, South African Tourism will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the EGF, with goals to educate those in the industry, showcase innovative greening and sustainability initiatives in Africa, and create inclusive growth opportunities for SME development through mentorship and up-skilling.  

“We want to partner with the Event Greening Forum as the lead organisation towards sustainable growth, while working with all of the other associations in this space, such as SAACI, Fedhasa, Satsa, EXSA and AAXO,” Kotze-Nhlapo announced.

Other methods to promote sustainable event practices include introducing compulsory green audits for events, and ensuring that all SANCB’s bids contain minimum criteria for event greening.

By improving sustainability in the business events sector, SANCB hopes to win more international bids to host lucrative events, whole also creating economic opportunities for South Africans. Moreover, the National Treasury recently awarded R90 million to South Africa’s business events bidding fund, which will contribute towards these goals.

“With business tourists spending three times as much as leisure tourists and delivering a high return on investment, SANCB has a vital role in boosting the country’s economy,” Kotze-Nhlapo said, adding that roughly 112 000 meetings were held in South Africa last year, contributing R115bn to the economy.

The EGF is a non-profit organisation whose mandate is to promote event greening, or sustainable, practices within the MICE industry through education and awareness. It has also created minimum Sustainable Event Standards, which will ultimately be translated into Sustainable Event Certification. 

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