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Sustainability takes centre stage at EEAA's #GED19 events

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has wrapped up its five events for Global Exhibitions Day (#GED19) with a call out to the industry to make ecological sustainability a major priority as well as career development and talent acquisition.

EEAA chief executive Joyce DiMascio said that #GED19 focussed on three key messages for the industry, including the importance of the sector to the economy, exhibitions as an effective and sustainable way of doing business and promoting a 'a career for life' in business events. 

“These themes were embedded in the program from start to finish and they resonated strongly with delegates and partners from across the industry,” she commented. “In order for our industry to continue to grow and contribute to the economy, it’s vital that we attract a broad range of talent with the right set of skills. Sustainable business practices are at the core of what many emerging leaders look for from their employers – and the business events sector must commit to taking real steps to reducing our impact on the environment by cutting our waste output and looking at procurement with conscious regard for sustainability.”

The association used the events as an opportunity to report back on its work developing a Sustainability Framework for the industry. Consulting firm Edge Environment was appointed as sustainability advisor, with a brief to develop a strategic roadmap for the next 12-24 months, and a new partnership with Tourism Australia was announced to support the sustainability initiative.

John O’Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia said: “Our partnership with EEAA is a key part of Tourism Australia’s business events strategy, and recognises the importance of the exhibitions sector to both the business events sector and Australia’s visitor economy. Tourism Australia partners with EEAA on two specific initiatives: we are a proud sponsor of the Young Stars program and the Richard Geddes Young Achievers Award. And on Wednesday at the EEAA Leaders Forum, we announced an extension to our partnership to become a partner for the Champions of Sustainability program for the year ahead.

"Our strengthened partnership with EEAA is not just about bringing exhibitions to Australia but also about supporting a strong and sustainable future for our business events industry.”

The Young Stars program, launched in 2010, gives the EEAA's youngest members a platform to share their views, ideas and experiences, as well as to have a bigger voice in the work of the association.

Margaret Ma Connolly of Informa Markets Asia delivered a keynote presentation addressing the challenges associated with attracting and retaining the right workforce. 

She commented: "We have a lot in common with the Australian industry – the focus on talent, career development and the importance of ecological and business sustainability. The forum provides a platform for sharing good ideas and inspiration from each other and to me that is the true value of the event.”