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A transformational year for sustainability

Ben Wielgus, Head of Sustainability, Informa Group, London

With the Group’s expansion, 2018 was a transformational year for sustainability, building on the new structure we established in 2016 and the foundations for progress we laid in 2017. Together, we are in a position that would have taken either business several more years to reach on its own.

Reflecting on responsibility

What’s behind the step change? Both companies were already recognised as leaders in our industry for sustainability. Informa gained DJSI membership in 2018 and recognition for our sustainable products and partnerships, while UBM has received multiple awards for CDP performance and its environmental management of events.

What’s more, both businesses have clearly made sustainability a differentiator for events and other products. UBM’s approach to environmentally responsible and community-minded shows is market leading. Informa has invested in sustainability across five pillars, as you’ve read in this report.

In short, we have brought together the best of both, enabling us to become more holistically sustainable, responsible and impactful – from individual products and brands through to our collective impact as a Group.

Priorities for 2019

2019 will be a year of combination and acceleration, taking the best of both worlds from the two businesses and then adding to it: updated policies, new approaches to sustainable events and more ambition around how we improve the positive impacts from our operations. We are already seeing more and more colleagues thinking about how products and partnerships can better support their markets to solve big challenges like the SDGs.

We believe that, by helping address the significant challenges that a sector is facing, we are becoming more highly valued partners and, in many cases, helping to solve the challenges the world is facing. This has a clear link with higher Net Promoter Scores and long-term success, and you can expect to see more of this in 2019 and beyond.

Changes in governance

With the investment in 2018, the Group sustainability team has expanded and we have created a new, dedicated Sustainable Events Team based in strategic locations around the globe.

The Group team focuses on sustainability in its broadest sense – across all Divisions, linking with key functions such as compliance, corporate governance, HR, strategy and communications to encourage more responsible behaviour.

The Sustainable Events Team is a central group that works with the individual show/event teams to find more sustainable ways of operating. This can include cost savings, new revenue opportunities, creating strong partnerships with stakeholders, and communicating better on the impacts of our events. In particular,the team will be sharing examples of good practice from around the business so others can learn.

These teams are supported by a range of policies including Informa’s Code of Conduct, our Business Partner Code of Conduct and a range of specialist policies, such as Informa’s Paper and Timber Sourcing Policy. We’ll be creating a combined environment policy in 2019.