Business travel and tourism in Africa is projected to grow at an annual rate of 7.6% by 2028, making environmentally responsible gatherings a priority, according to The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Research conducted by the Events Industry Council (EIC) highlights that integrating sustainability into event organisation yields a 20-30% decrease in expenses and a 60-80% reduction in waste.

The chairperson of the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO), Devi Paulsen- Abbott said: “A myriad of factors contribute to waste, spanning from disposable plastics to excess food. Surprisingly, the average event discards 15%-20% of its food, while the industry as a whole squanders 10% of its output. On average, each attendee generates a staggering 1.89kg of waste daily, of which 1.16kg ends up in landfills. These figures underscore the importance for prioritising sustainability in event management across Africa, integrating it into the very beginning stage of planning.”

Considering the significance of sustainability within the events industry, numerous AAXO members and stakeholders are championing the implementation of eco-friendly practices tailored to their specific niches within the sector:

Scan Display

Scan Display, specialising in award-winning exhibition stands, exhibition and event infrastructure, mall activations, roadshows and displays, has taken charge towards sustainability in the South African exhibition and events industry by integrating eco-friendly practices into their service offering through a range of green solutions. In past events, Scan Display has taken initiatives like the Sustainability Village at the International Federation of Exhibition & Event Services annual congress in Cape Town in 2013, promoting locally-made products and offering sustainable gifting solutions to delegates

dmg events

Driving sustainability through a multi-faceted approach that integrates sustainability practices into its service offerings, with their commitment to the three pillars of sustainability central to this endeavour: Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. In 2023, the company formed a sustainability committee to assess and mitigate environmental impacts, with their strategic roadmap including targets to cut emissions and waste by 50% by 2030 and to achieve net-zero status by 2050

Century City Conference Centre

The conference centre has implemented practices aimed at minimising its environmental footprint. The location has utilised non-potable water in all restroom facilities and has made use of on-site water filtration and carbonation systems to decrease packaging waste from bottled water. The installation of a solar energy system comprising over 800 photovoltaic modules has significantly reduced carbon emissions by 17%, exemplifying the commitment to sustainable operations.

“When the Conference Centre was constructed, we partnered with the Green Building Council of South Africa to ensure that the latest developments in sustainable architecture and infrastructure were implemented, such as our dual plumbing and solar energy panels,” said Bernard Abrahams, operations manager at Century City Conference Centre.