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Isla and the Drive for Sustainable Future Events.

Andy Robertson

Sustainability and the impact of events on the environment is growing in importance with event-goers looking for action from organisers. This growth in awareness led to the creation of Isla in 2019 who’s aim is to collaboratively address the challenges of the climate crisis and focus on sustainability by supporting the transition to sustainable events.

Isla stands for “Industry Sustainability through Leadership and Action” and is a non-profit organisation that was launched in 2020 by a founding group of 12 event agencies. Isla state that bands and the public are demanding a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis and that a shift away from the previous build and burn culture of the events industry is essential.

The TRACE Initiative. 
In April 2022 Isla launched TRACE which is a purpose-built carbon measurement platform dedicated to the events industry. The application is essentially a carbon calculator specifically designed for events. This measurement can give insight into the environmental cost of an event as it captures emission and waste data from live, hybrid, and digital events. TRACE generates impact reports in real-time enabling organisers to determine potential ways to make reductions. The platform is not cheap and starts at an annual subscription rate of £2,750. TRACE has been launched by Isla in collaboration with multiple carbon consultants to develop the methodology with verification by Avieco, a sustainability consultancy part of Accenture UK.

Isla Help and Advice.
Isla also run a series of roundtables and seminars to bring event organisers together with key industry figures. These small events focus on sustainability issues that relate to specific aspects of running and operating events and have included anything from technical production suppliers to catering related challenges. In addition, Isla produce some free resources which have included a handy guide titled ‘An Event Planners Guide to Sustainable Print’ and ‘Proseed’ which is a universal framework that simplifies sustainability. Proseed provides information, guidance, solutions and actions to accelerate the sustainability journey. 

Isla Membership. 
Membership of Isla has been adopted by numerous organisations operating in the events sector including suppliers and organisers. Annual membership starts from £1350 which gives access to the Isla network along with a consultation and action roadmap. They also offer sustainability training plus best practice guidelines, toolkits and other resources. Members benefit from access to working groups and a dedicated ‘go-to’ for sustainability questions.

Whilst Isla is a great initiative for the whole events industry the pricing of its TRACE platform and membership may to too expensive for many of the smaller festival organisers. For larger festivals, promoters and agencies Isla may provide a useful resource to achieve their sustainability objectives in a more efficient manner. 

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Francis Desjardins via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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