One industry that is plagued by wastefulness is the event planning industry, according to Brendan Doherty. He left the public sector about two years ago and co-founded an event production company with industry veteran Andy King. Their company, Inward Point, incorporates sustainability data into planning and marketing for clients.
"Andy and I started with the idea that the event industry is broken," Doherty said. "Most people look at events as one-off occurrences; they discount them from their broader story."
Many top brands understand the value of being seen as environmentally responsible, he said. But events are planned without that in mind — a lot of waste is generated, and companies pay little attention to it.
Inward Point tracks the environmental effect of events it plans, down to the most minute detail. For example, the company gives its clients a list of waste statistics, broken down into the sources of waste by material, and how exactly they were disposed of. Then the client is presented with data how their waste generation compares to industry averages. "We measure the impact of our events from social and environmental perspectives — it's a big data approach," Doherty said.
The idea is that clients will use that data to tell a deeper story about their brands, and to make them more appealing to a younger, more socially aware generation of buyers.
"Millennials ... love to shop, want responsible consumption and have trust in brands," Doherty said. "All of these businesses are having bigger influences on groups of people, and that's what we are trying to cultivate."