We interview TBA Group about the launch of their new ESG charter, their commitment to sustainability, and greenwashing. Plus they share their top tips for anyone looking to overhaul their own charter.
You’ve just launched your new ESG charter across TBA Group. What are some of the key initiatives that your organisation will be committing to with this charter?
We’re determined to action our promise of doing the right thing. We’re making small changes to help toward making a big impact. We’re working alongside our clients to meet their individual ESG goals as well as our own, offering insight and guidance to help our company, our clients, and the wider industry make better choices.
We’re tracking the emissions of events, with a goal of 100% of all the events we produce to be carbon audited either pre-event, post-event, or both, by 2025. We’re prioritising sustainable suppliers, destinations, and venues with verified sustainable credentials, as well as managing the recycling, re-use, and waste processes of all products and energy we use on-site.
We have partnered with Event Decision to track our events, with reporting being a mandatory line item on all costings. We have adopted a 5 “green tick” measurement system for all venues that we propose to clients and are currently working to embed Olio, a food wastage solutions provider.
People have always been at the heart of our business, and we want to make sure we can create a positive working environment for everyone. It’s essential that our people have access to aids and services to support well-being, inclusivity, and equality. Events can and should have a lasting positive impact on both those attending the event, for employees, people working in our supply chain, and local communities. We want to promote this not only across our clients’ events but also our own events and activations that we run for our internal teams.
ESG’s centre is sustainability and corporate responsibility. Why do you think this is so important? What prompted you to rejuvenate yours now?
We’ve worked on a number of client projects, incorporating their ESG goals, so we’re familiar with key considerations and processes. And we’re learning what’s important to each individual client. However, we’re not claiming to know all the answers. We’re taking it one step at a time and doing our utmost to implement change and do the right thing by our clients, our team, society, and the planet.
We always want to remain our authentic selves, and tackling ESG challenges is genuinely something our people care about. We’ve got an internal team across the wider Group who have volunteered to drive this initiative forward and support the business in its progression toward a more sustainable and inclusive approach.
We’ve found our team really responds positively to working with social enterprises, and we’re actively promoting these across the business for consideration within our supply chain, and the team have really embraced that.
With legal regulations coming into play in 2025, companies of a certain size will be obliged to comply, and in such a competitive landscape, it’s essential that businesses consider their ESG approach as it’s increasingly important to clients and employees. It’s about investing in our future and the next generation.
Can you share some insight into the process of overhauling your ESG? And any tips you might be able to share for other organisations considering going through the same process?
Continuous learning – We know we’re not experts, so we did take the initiative to enlist an expert in this field to educate us and offer valuable advice and insight on the subject, of which we can draw upon and align with ours and our clients’ values and practices. We very much remain open and committed to learning and developing throughout the process and to share our knowledge and guidance to help not only our business but also our clients and the wider industry. We understand that our collective efforts have the power to drive positive change and create a more sustainable future.
Stay curious – Across TBA Group, we’re a collective of creative people with a thirst for innovation, so we’re always seeking new ways to solve problems and source creative solutions to better serve what we do and how we do it. We’re fortunate to have our XLab (Experience Laboratory) team, who are always on the pulse, researching the latest innovations to support our development of products and services for our long-term future strategy.
Question everything – Approach each brief, each task, each process, and each person with an open mind and question; How could we make this more resourceful? How could we make this more accessible? How could we reduce the footprint? We’re problem solvers, so challenging everything helps us come up with more innovative ways to find solutions.
Break it down – It can seem daunting to take on an all-encompassing ESG policy. Breaking it down into bite-size chunks makes it easier to tackle and with more tangible outcomes. You don’t have to do everything all at once. It’s about working out what your business stands for, its priorities, and the step-by-step approach to get there.
Eliminating greenwashing is a hot topic in the industry at the moment, and something your own ESG has at the forefront. How, as an industry, can we tackle and address greenwashing?
We’re trying to be realistic and honest in our approach. We’re ambitious for change, but we acknowledge that transformation takes time, and it’s not just down to us. We could make various aspirational claims and goals, however, we want to hold ourselves accountable and be able to deliver on them. We pride ourselves on being authentic, and to make big claims that we couldn’t commit to just isn’t our style.
The events industry is notorious for its negative environmental impact. We need to be realistic about what is achievable. And when it comes to projects, we’re at the mercy of our clients; we can offer guidance and advice on ways to reduce the footprint of an event, however, we work to a client’s objectives. Every client’s priorities and objectives are different.
We’re doing what we can and gaining momentum internally and with clients. We’re measuring and tracking along the way so that we remain accountable. This year we’re focusing on uncovering our clients’ priorities and understanding the data, and then using that data for future learnings. We’re fully ISO audited, ensuring we’re compliant, and as members of ISLA, we make sure we keep up to date with our sustainability training needs. The wider industry could support in hosting roundtables to share knowledge and experiences, encouraging wider conversations and amplifying the learnings.