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May 2020

The Industry needs Strong Leadership on Sustainable Change

The Industry needs Strong Leadership on Sustainable Change

Industry publication, C&IT, invited our founder Selina Donald to share her views on what is required to pull the event industry out of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Sustainable Leadership: Business as usual is no longer an option

Coronavirus is the vehicle to drive the radical innovation necessary for sustainable change in the events industry. Radical innovation overthrows existing business models, it redesigns processes and production. In a saturated marketplace, innovation is central to an event’s success, and ultimately the wheel that keeps each agency moving.

Studies into leadership concluded that businesses who are leaders in sustainability are 400% more likely to be considered leaders in innovation, too. Sustainability requires businesses to use their creative resources to find responsible solutions. The businesses that embrace sustainability, in all its forms, social, environmental, and economic, demonstrate competitiveness and a commitment to their organisation’s long term profitability and growth, benefiting both their bottom line and the Planet.

So, how do we move forward? We should not expect a return to the ‘status quo’, a sentence most profoundly illustrated through the transformation of events to digital, but instead look towards a new paradigm, one that emphasises sustainability. To do so, we need industry leaders who can drive profound change in an exciting and inspiring way.  The hallmark of a strong leader is someone who can visualise the bigger picture, understand how to future proof their business, and see the opportunity in today’s challenge.

The need to move with the ‘new normal’ and consciously take into account the impact business activities have both on people and the Planet is how the market leaders of tomorrow will thrive. Those who prosper will understand the success of events moving forward will be measured by bringing people together in a responsible way.  How an organisation produces an event highlights what matters to them and what they value. It is a public statement of how conscious they are of their approach to using resources, exceeding employee and customer expectations, and creating a legacy.

A shining example of a successful business creating shared value for society is Connection Crew. An excellent crewing company and social enterprise that has employed over 200 ex-homeless people. Connection Crew has mentored men and women back into the workplace and at the same time gained hard-working employees and contributed to solving the ever-growing social problem of homelessness. Makes sense right?

All too often, businesses are overwhelmed by sustainability and the idea of changing ‘the way things are done’.  I emphasise with that feeling. When I founded The Bulb,  I felt the same, but I soon realised that sustainability simply comes down to putting responsible decision making at the heart of business strategy.  Making responsible decisions across supply chains,  processes,  people and materials and embracing and embedding these choices into events and operations as a whole, rather than at the expense of each other .  It’s a win-win-win, for people, profit and the Planet.

The positive that we have learned over the last three months, is that we can be agile, nimble and we can transition to the previously unthinkable. We could never have forecasted the impact of Coronavirus, but it’s not too late to learn from this and shape a more resilient future.

C&IT – May 2020



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