Exhibitions, venues, and event organisers in the last few years have, rightly, become increasingly focussed on how we can still deliver world-class services and events for our customers, but at the same time, reduce the impact we have on the places we visit and our overall environmental footprint. For a large-scale international event like CPHI Barcelona, this takes on an even greater focus. Last year over half of our attendees travelled by air, so it becomes more important than ever to help them make every mile count productively. One of the best ways to ensure our events are having a positive carbon impact is, of course, to ensure they deliver value to the industries we serve, for example by reducing the number of meetings they may have to take throughout the year. So already, with such an international industry and supply chain as pharma, we are hopefully positively contributing as there is nowhere else in the world that so many contacts can meet simultaneously. In fact, over a third of attendees last year told us attending CPHI meant they took fewer flights throughout the year.
In this way, making your events deliver value is a crucial aspect as we begin to look at sustainability, and too often overlooked. But we are of course also looking to the direct reductions on site we can make, and this is where our recent journey really begins.
The first step was to get a feel for exactly where are right now, identifying ‘low hanging fruit’ that would be easier to address and what we might need to work towards for our longer-term objectives, as part of our strategic roadmap for the portfolio. We looked at other events we admired and tried to take on the learnings from their best practices – sustainability is a major focus across Informa Markets, so there are plenty of lessons to take from our peers and beyond. And finally, we spoke with our exhibitors and attendees to see what is important to them and how we can help them reduce their impact. For context, CPHI Barcelona is the world’s largest pharma event, and our exhibitors are the supply chain partners making the ingredients, the finished drugs, the packaging, and the machinery of many of the medicines saving lives globally – not least of which include the Covid-19 vaccines. So, while pharma is inherently a socially responsible industry thanks to the lives it saves.