Wed, 13 Apr 2022 15:26:30 GMT
Over the last 10 years, Aqsa Horne-Khan has led strategic marketing campaigns, worked in PR and crisis management, and has organised successful events across the fashion and lifestyle sectors. Highlights include organising London Fashion Week shows; contributing to Bestival and Wilderness; co-founding SO JUST SHOP and developing it into a profitable business; and launching her own brand, Marketing by Aqsa, to empower small business owners during the lockdown period. In 2021 she joined Momentum Worldwide in the UK as a production manager, where she lives by the motto: “It's not what brands say, it's what they do that matters.”
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with Aqsa to find out how her event and activation production takes sustainability into account.
Aqsa> My background is in fashion, so I have seen the negative impact the industry has on the environment first-hand. When I started producing events, I made it my personal goal to be more efficient and sustainable, including reusing and repurposing sets from previous years, hiring rather than purchasing, and working closely with local suppliers and communities.
I love that Momentum’s motto is “It’s what brands DO that matters” because it focuses on taking action. It’s something that stood out to me when I joined them as a production manager. I wanted to produce events and experiences that align with my personal values — to create and produce memorable experiences that create a positive social and environmental impact.
Aqsa> Clients are starting to realise that they need to be more conscious of their environmental impact. As Momentum’s strategy develops, we will work with more of our clients to support education and requirements around their sustainability goals.
Aqsa> Planning and thinking ahead is a large part of the process. I ensure that all parts of the event/activation are serving a purpose and carefully consider the lifecycle of the materials we plan to use. The key question to ask is: Are we building with the intention of reusing assets at future events or will it be disposed of afterwards? We’ll ensure that all of the materials we use can either be recycled, repurposed or donated, in case we have to dispose of them following the event. Where possible, we rent furniture and props or use things from storage that have been built for past events.
Aqsa> The pandemic has shown everyone the effectiveness of hybrid events. You can increase your reach and make your event more accessible by providing the option of joining online. Not only is it better for the planet, it provides greater flexibility for the delegates, too. I think it’s a no-brainer for conferences, award ceremonies and even smaller company-wide events.
Aqsa> Isla and the Make it Matter system that Momentum is building are key resources for reducing our environmental impact. Companies like Event Cycle make it easy to repurpose event assets by collecting them directly from the site and rehoming them where they are most needed (charities, schools, community spaces, etc.) for a tiny fee.
Aqsa> We’re very lucky to have Selina Donald as our global director of sustainability. She has been working to get us ISO certified, as well as developing Make it Matter and training our production team on new processes and tools we can incorporate to ensure we are even more sustainable.
Aqsa> This stat is specifically talking about filming and ad production rather than events and activations. But, with tighter briefs and effective planning, you can work more efficiently. For event production and live experiences, we need to look at what is actually necessary to drive the message or experience and use that as a basis for our work. Everything beyond those key elements are decorative, which you can then assess for need/value/impact.
Aqsa> Production is a great place to start because, as you said yourself, we can make substantial, measurable progress — which is super important! But, I also think it’s important to use PR/media as an educational tool to help spread the message far and wide. We need to make sustainable lifestyles and taking positive action towards climate change the norm for everyone. Sustainability should be intersectional and accessible to all.
Aqsa> Looking at the 17 globally recognised UN Sustainable Development Goals is a good place to start. They were designed to work as a blueprint for creating a more sustainable future for all. We can use the system as a checklist when planning and producing events to ensure that we can create a positive environmental and social impact.
Aqsa> I believe social impact is entwined with sustainability; they are very much part of the same conversation. The event’s success is partly dependent on community involvement and buy-in. Sourcing directly from local businesses and suppliers not only reduces carbon emissions but also gives back to the surrounding communities. By working with companies like Fat Macy’s — a social enterprise and event catering business that trains Londoners living in temporary accommodation as chefs and helps them move into their own homes — means that we’re giving back to create a better world, and meeting SDGs 1,4 and 8 in the process.
Aqsa> Our stands for Microsoft and Unilever at COP26 were the most sustainable projects we’ve worked on to date. We spent weeks researching different materials options to ensure that every element of our stands were as sustainable as they could be. For example, we used locally sourced Marmoleum flooring, which is created from 97% natural raw materials including rosin, wood flour, linseed oil, jute and limestone, making it one of the most sustainable floor coverings available. The display tables were crafted from cardboard Re-board and the walls were made from FSC wood (which were later reused by Ideal Homes Show). This goes to show that with enough time and resources, we can work towards ensuring events, experiences and activations are truly sustainable.
Aqsa> It’s the only way forward. Present them with the facts and research, and show them what’s possible.
view more - The Sustainability ChannelMomentum, Wed, 13 Apr 2022 15:26:30 GMT