Event greening : is this concept providing a serious platform for sustainability best practice
Thesis (MPhil (Sustainable Development Planning and Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
Large scale events have historically been ignored by those involved in the sustainability debate. However there is growing realization that major events can have significant environmental and socio-economic impacts and opportunities. This has been highlighted by the global growth of a phenomenon which has become known as event greening. The hosting of a major event like the Olympic Games comes with benefits and problems to the host city or region. The question is can the benefits be maximised and the problems minimised? This thesis shows that events can be hosted in a manner that contributes positively to the host city and limits the negative impacts, by incorporating principles of sustainable development with in the event management plan. This is known as event greening. Managing an event in a way that minimizes negative impacts and maximizes positive impacts produces results that are true reflections of success of a major event (GoJ Report, 2003). Event greening has been evolving since the early 1990’s and has arguable reached a point where absolute definition and standardisation is required to ensure its authenticity and integrity into the future. As the practice of event greening programmes occurs more and more so the need for a benchmarking tool to ascertain true measurable all encompassing impacts of events becomes more essential. The use of a Sustainability Rating System was employed as a way of measuring the percentage sustainability an event greening project or programme is actually achieving. This system was developed as a way of determining whether event greening is in fact contributing to sustainable development or is it another attempt at perceived sustainability best practice known as green washing. A selection of event greening projects is measured according to the Sustainability Rating System and the results show event greening is progressively contributing to global sustainable development best practice. This thesis also suggests that event greening is evolving into a sophisticated mechanism for implementing sustainable development best practice through mega- events. This research is a prelude to developing an assessment tool and a standard for event greening. The use of the Sustainability Rating System in this thesis and the discussed results propose this method as an adequate rudimentary tool which can be used to assess in a broad way the extent of sustainability of an event greening programme. This method and the information in this thesis are intended to be used as a first step in the development of an industry event greening measuring and evaluating standard or tool. It is intended that this thesis will act as a catalyst for further research and development into standards, benchmarking and possibly even certification processes for event greening.