Impact Summit | Inside FutureX / August 9, 2019
Reflecting on Impact Summit 2019
As we put together the event, designed the space and finalised the format, it was important for us to keep our social and environmental responsibilities at the forefront of our minds. These considerations played a major role in our decision making.
So, we’re taking this time to celebrate the changes we made this year, recognise what we could have done better and speak openly about what we’d like to change next year.
Conferences can be wasteful, but we wanted to reduce as much unnecessary waste as possible and promote positive behaviours wherever we could.
Before the event, we encouraged our exhibitors and partners to be mindful of the materials they used and brought along. We also asked all our delegates to bring reusable coffee cups and water bottles (which most of you did, so thank you!) The disposable cups provided by the venue were biodegradable.
Instead of ordering printed backdrops, which can only be used once, we worked with a local designer to create beautiful backdrops that we can use again. To save paper, we made an online program and did away with excess paper, and the name badges were printed on easily recyclable card.
We worked with a local t-shirt printer to make the staff t-shirts, ensuring that they were ethical and didn’t have far to travel to get to us.
For the Impact Summit lunch, we opted to serve only vegetarian and vegan meals, further cutting down the environmental impact of the event.
On the flip side, we saw areas for improvement and took delegate feedback on board. Next year, we hope to team up with a reusable cup partner to make sure no coffee cups go to waste, and we’ll also ensure there are enough clearly labelled bins separated by type. We’ll also be turning our attention to transport – encouraging car-sharing schemes, public transport and electric taxis.
Diversity, Accessibility & Inclusion
We made a point of ensuring that women speakers were represented across all of our stages and themes. We’re proud to say that we had a 50/50 gender split and this is something we will strive to maintain across all of our events. On top of this, we found that our attendees were an almost even split, with 54% women and 46% men.
However, we acknowledge that ethnic diversity was lacking at Impact Summit and this is something we’d like to improve for next year.
We promoted the attendance of young people at the event by partnering with local universities and Young Enterprise Scotland and also offered concession tickets to young people and people from underprivileged groups.
FutureX has a code of conduct for all events, which outlines our commitment to creating a safe space for all our attendees, speakers and volunteers.
While the venue itself was accessible, we’d like to go further next year by making more clear signage, having a designated space for wheelchairs at each stage. We’ll also be adding an accessibility section to the order form to ensure we’re meeting the needs of our attendees.
Some of our attendees gave us feedback that the lighting and the size of the text on the name badges meant that it was difficult to read, and we’ve taken that into account in our plans for next year.
If you have any more suggestions for us, or you’d like to support us with our social and environmental goals at our events, we would love to hear from you.