Sustainability & diversity conference
No. of delegates: 525
Location: Tobacco Dock, London
Event type: Conference
Industry: Electric vehicle charging
This event was created with the vision of bringing together the remote team of our client. As a creator of charging points for electric vehicles, sustainability was a value that needed to be prioritised at every step of this event creation process. As a remote first organisation, many of the team hadn’t met the rest of their departments, let alone the wider organisation, and this was the first internal conference at which the entire company would be brought together.
As well as creating an opportunity for the team to network and build relationships, this client wanted each delegate to leave the 2 day experience having been inspired and enriched. Whether it be in the field of sustainability, or to have a greater understanding of diversity and inclusion, this was an opportunity for each of the 525 delegates to enrich the values that make them unique, whilst protecting the planet.
Before the event:
With just a 3 month turnaround time, not only were we able to create an event of this scale, we were able to prioritise both diversity and sustainability at every point in the decision making process. We selected the venue Tobacco Dock because of its energy efficient lighting options and central London location. The majority of the delegates were London based, and so it was vital that the venue for this conference should be accessible either on foot or by public transport. For speakers joining us from further afield, we made it a non-negotiable element of their contract that they had to take the train to the event, rather than driving.
This venue was selected for its abundance of natural light, which minimised the need for power and lighting. Any lighting we did require was powered by LED lighting, which allowed us to minimise the carbon footprint of the event. By creating an event website to house all event communications, we also removed the need for single use event brochures.
The catering offered a range of plant based and vegan options, all of which were served in compostable trays as this was a completely plastic free event. In the event that physical assets did need to be created, such as badges, lanyards and branding, these were made using sustainable materials and were recycled after the event.
We also chose to use local, sustainable suppliers, to support the local economies and minimise the travel footprint associated with this event. We hired, rather than purchased, furniture from the local area, and all activity hosts were local.
Across the two days, delegates were able to create their own personal agenda by selecting to attend speaker sessions of their choice. Throughout the conference, speakers delivered a range of engaging sessions in each of these rooms, spanning from experts in the sustainability and electric vehicle industry, to speakers who shared their experiences with racism and discrimination. Attendees could also learn about stress management techniques, the importance of nutrition and sleep, and healthy ways to tackle your to do list. Alongside the speaker sessions, delegates were able to take part in activities, enabling each attendee to leave the event with a new skill or enriching experience. These ranged from a self massage meditation workshop, a sign language class and an art class.
Whilst our client wanted to foster networking and connection building throughout their team, they wanted to do this in a way that didn’t feel forced. To accommodate for this, and for the diverse range of attendee needs, we created a host of different zones across the venue that enabled attendees to engage with each other without feeling like they were networking. We designated ‘chill rooms’ with bean bags and deck chairs, table football and air hockey, providing the space for delegates to relax and unwind in inbetween sessions.
After two days of inspiring thought leadership, engaging activities and sustainable creativity, the delegates were asked to generate ideas for them to implement in order to improve their approach to sustainability, inclusivity and employee health and wellbeing. After feeding these ideas back to the CEO and CCO directly, these ideas were implemented over the next year. This highlights how authentic internal engagement fosters collaborative ideas that can improve the direction and future of an organisation.
As with all of our sustainability minded clients, we crafted a Sustainability Impact Report following this event. This report revealed that this internal conference produced fewer emissions per guest than over a third of conference-style events hosted in 2022. Not only was this event successful in preserving the sustainability of the event, a value held dear to this client, it also created a platform for this remote team to engage with the topics that mattered to them in a way that worked for them.
The fact that we were able to create a successfully sustainable event that prioritised the diverse needs of the delegates whilst centring employee wellbeing at the heart of the conference in just 3 months debunks the idea that sustainable choices are both expensive and time consuming. By prioritising these values throughout the event, the internal team engaged with the content, and made key suggestions for the improvement of the company, with 91.3% of delegates saying they were either very happy or happy with their experience of the conference.
“The residential was brilliant and I’m looking forward to the next one! One of the biggest takeaways for myself was that when I joined the company, there was a lot of emphasis on why we do what we do, and how the business operates. It was great that the residential reminded me of these things, but I hope there can be other activities (remote or in person) in the next year to keep that momentum”.
“On the whole, a brilliant experience and very well done to all those involved in organising it, it was a great success.”