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Circular Event Toolkit - our toolbox for environmentally-friendly events

16 October 2019

In transition for a few years now, VO Event is taking a new step forwards. The agency is currently testing a toolbox called the Circular Event Toolkit. This consists of 8 worksheets designed to create a virtuous circle of circular economy instincts among project managers and suppliers. Here’s how.

Designing and sharing a toolbox to make people think about event creation in a “circular” way was the project VO Event set itself, in collaboration with Sense and Emmanuel Mossay. It caught the attention of Bruxelles Environnement, which subsidised the project through the Be Circular programme.

This toolbox complements our CSR reporting tool and our carbon footprint compensation system. As such, it is a new instrument that allows VO to incorporate services that are even more responsible in the face of social challenges.

The circular economy consists of minimising the consumption and waste of raw materials, water and energy sources. In short, it reduces impact on the environment, but without reducing the well-being of individuals. To do this, the traditional system of linear use is replaced by a loop of reuse, rational management and recycling. With 77,000 events being organised in Belgium every year, the event industry clearly has a role to play. The agency is convinced that the future of the sector depends on circularity - this is inescapable. The challenge is to dare people to shake up their habits. The solutions proposed by the toolkit are, for the most part, not that complex; on the contrary, they simply challenge ways of doing things that have been in place for years.

VO Event has therefore taken the challenge by the horns and designed a toolbox consisting of multiple steps.


A 4-month audit

The agency has analysed its past events. Together with our project managers, we have identified what uses have been made of the resources and how the sector could improve its practices with a view to a circular effort.


Focus on 8 subject areas

Furniture, decor, food, venue, management of waste and consumables, signage, giveaways and goodies, mobility: each of these 8 areas has been broken down in the form of an accessible, clear and quantified explanatory worksheet, with solutions for adopting circular instincts when designing any event.

Implementing a “circular” operating mode requires a transition. And this can only be done gradually. This is why each worksheet is presented in the form of a Lansink Ladder, with practical solutions graduated from the best to the least worst. The Ladder allows project managers to contextualise their actions and set themselves long-term progress objectives.


Testing, sharing and application phase

VO employees are currently testing the new toolbox. This is a critical phase before sharing it with the general public. More than simply revising it, we are organising a workshop next week with the entire VO Event and VO Citizen team to put the employees in a real situation. They will be divided into teams and will spend an afternoon working on a fictional event based on a real briefing (budget, venue, number of guests, concept, etc.). The objective is to come out and present a recommendation that fully integrates the circular approach based on the worksheets.

At the beginning of November, VO Event will also be organising a LAB with a few suppliers, to gather their opinions on their ability to respond to the solutions coming from the tool and hence offer more circular services. This transition really does affect the entire ecosystem of the sector, and VO aims to ensure that suppliers will follow suit. We are already testing the use of the worksheets on our own events in real life, including international ones such as the Levi's Brand Sales Launch, which will take place in Barcelona in December.


Launching and sharing the toolbox

Our objective is to share the Circular Event Toolkit with all the other participants in the Belgian event sector in the hope of seeing it evolve. This will happen at an event in 2020.

Only practical, systematic use of the worksheets/tools will enable agencies to raise the environmental friendliness bar ever higher and help teams familiarise themselves with this educational checklist. In VO’s name, this valuable toolbox puts the virtuous circle within reach of any event organiser.

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