Sustainable urban event practice : the role of corporate sponsors within Gauteng

23 Mar 2012

Globally, academics, industry professionals, governments and societies are directing their attention to the issue of global warming and are engaged in efforts to conserve the Earth’s natural resources. This has led to the introduction of the concept of sustainability. Lately, the event sector as part of the tourism industry, is being viewed as playing an increasing role in climate change. However, sustainability does not only entail conservation of the natural environment, it also involves the socio-cultural and the economic environment. Events have been found to positively contribute to the economy and the social-cultural environment as well. As little has been published regarding sustainable urban event practice in South Africa, this research aims to establish a greater comprehension of sustainable event practice and the significance thereof. In-depth interviews with corporate events sponsors within the Gauteng region found that these sponsors play an important role in promoting sustainable urban event practice, in terms of enlightening the public and the event companies on sustainability. Due to consumer association with the sponsor and the increased market reach they offer to the event, sponsors can increase awareness and interest in the event, and in doing so influence customers’ perceptions on sustainable event practice. Sustainability is a significant issue and is growing in importance. It is essential that the sponsors and managers of event companies work together to develop sustainable urban event guidelines and policies and a formal accreditation programme within the industry.