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New GEI Session Announced: Sustainable Procurements & Circularity

If you run an event or festival, you won’t want to miss this just-released panel at Green Events & Innovations Conference which kicks off in less than two weeks.

Sustainable Procurements & Circularity

Event organisers are in the unique position of being able to greatly influence punters’ purchasing decisions, at least for the duration of the event they are putting on. A festival that only provides healthy, organic food outlets or unhealthy fast food outlets, for that matter, gives festival-goers little room for choice (unless they smuggle in their own couscous or chicken drummers.)

In this panel, experts Laura van de Voort, Wicki Nielsen and Rob Wilson will provide excellent examples and expert insights into how we – as event organisers – can ensure our procurement choices are truly sustainable, in order to lessen the deleterious impact of consumerism and positively influence consumer choice.

In reality, how sustainable is the timber we use to build the festival eco-village and stage façade? Wicki from the Soil Association will provide invaluable insights into how we can source materials that literally won’t cost the Earth, and will offer guidance on FSC® and PEFC TM certification.

Laura from Green Events Nederland, will also be dropping in to talk to us about your waste (no, not like in the poo panel). In 2015, nine Dutch festivals signed-up to Green Deal, a project that supports and encourages waste-free events, run in collaboration with the Dutch government and litter prevention foundation Nederland Schoon. Laura will provide details of the initial steps an event needs to undertake when transitioning from wasteful to waste-free.

“But what about the beer!?” we hear you cry. Ok, last but not yeast, Toast Ale’s Rob Wilson will present the company’s wonderful closed-loop solution that utilises surplus bread to create delicious award-winning beer – and there’s never any surplus beer…

Moderated by the wonderful Chris Cooke from CMU, this is a compelling topic and a panel not to be missed.


Chris Cooke

Chris is the MD and business editor of CMU, a service provider to the music industry. Best known for its media – the CMU Daily, CMU Digest, CMU Trends and CMU Setlist podcast – CMU also provides training and its consultancy services to music companies, runs the CMU:DIY education programme for new talent, and presents the CMU Insights conference at The Great Escape each May.CMU is part of Chris’s company 3CM UnLimited, through which he also publishes cultural recommendations service ThisWeek London and its sister magazine ThreeWeeks Edinburgh; and helps to run the award-winning PR training charity the Taylor Bennett Foundation.

Wicki Nielsen

Wicki is a senior certification officer at the Soil Association in the UK, and an environmental assessor for A Greener Festival.

Having completed a degree in environmental management in 2013, with a focus on forest management, she is now working with the Soil Association in their forestry team providing FSC® and PEFCTM certification to forests and companies. As part of this work, Wicki manages certified companies in Asia, the Pacific and the Americas, and travels to assess them globally, from Qatar to Brazil, on their responsible purchasing and manufacturing procedures.

Wicki is also on course to becoming a forest management auditor, which will enable her to work with managed forests around the world, assisting them to comply with the requirements of responsible forestry in certification and beyond.

As an assessor for A Greener Festival, and having worked in the music festival and events industry for over a decade, Wicki has gained significant insight into the operations and resource usage at events. She is uniquely placed to provide a bridge between sustainable forestry and how event organisers can ensure their creative productions aren’t costing the Earth.

Laura van de Voort 

Laura is an event & sustainability manager with a wealth of experience in the festival industry. Laura’s expertise lies mainly in taking sustainable measures on a strategic and practical level. She has worked as the event manager for festivals such as Extrema Outdoor, Solar Weekend Festival and Ticket for Tibet, and she is currently the co-organiser of Dutch Chili Fest.

Since 2014, Laura has been the co-founder of Green Events Nederland. She believes that only by co-operating, rather than competing, sustainable changes can be made.

Since 2015, Green Events Nederland has overseen Green Deal, a project that encourages waste-free festivals throughout the Netherlands.

Rob Wilson 

Rob is chief toaster (or is that taster?) and CEO of Toast Ale, who brew award-winning beer using unsold bread from bakeries and unused crusts from sandwich manufacturers.

With a slice of surplus fresh bread in every bottle and all profits poured intoFeedback – a charity that campaigns against food wastage – Toast is the best thing since, well, you know…

Toast Ale has had great success to-date in the UK and has already expanded to the USA, South Africa, Brazil and Iceland, with ambitions to grow to many other locations. Toast Ale’s philosophy is that if you want to save the world, you have to throw a better party than those destroying it.

Prior to Toast, Rob led Ashoka in the UK.  He is an award-winning serial social entrepreneur having founded a number of ventures over the years such as READ International, a Tanzanian student-volunteer-led development organisation, which to-date has provided over 1.5 million books to school children and created 100 school libraries. He co-founded Generation Change, a partnership of the UK’s leading youth social action organisations, helping 600,000 young people a year take positive action in their local communities. And he also recently co-founded the youth-led campaign Undivided, a non-partisan campaign set-up to get the best possible Brexit deal for young people.

In 2011, he co-authored a book with his wife Nikki about social entrepreneurs in Africa called On the Up.

Rob lives in Kent with his wife Nikki and their two very cheeky little boys, Thomas and Matthew.

Meet the panel at GEI10 in less than two weeks!

See the full GEI10 agenda here.

The Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) is A Greener Festival’s annual flagship event delivered in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC). Tuesday 6 March 2018, The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington High St, London.