Bethany leads Hyve’s ‘Addressing Impact’ ESG working group and is always looking at ways to push boundaries in the event industry to drive positive change.
Investing in African Mining Indaba is an event dedicated to the successful capitalisation of mining interests in Africa. The event brings together more than 6,500 visionaries and innovators for five powerful days of networking. Now in its 28th year, the event prides itself on its commitment to supporting education, career development, and sustainable development.
Finding ways to be more sustainable and ethical to reduce the event’s carbon footprint is an essential part of the event planning for Operations Manager, Bethany O’Connor. Bethany leads Hyve’s ‘Addressing Impact’ ESG working group and is always looking at ways to push the boundaries in the event industry to drive positive change.
Here is a deep dive into some of the inspiring initiatives Bethany worked on for Mining Indaba.
For this year’s event, Bethany worked with a new contractor, Jane & Paul, and provided them with a brief to create a sustainable range of exhibition infrastructure. The duo rose to the challenge and created a modular and flat pack solution that met all of Bethany’s sustainability requirements and enabled the team to reduce the carbon footprint for transporting and packaging the infrastructure.
So how was this possible?
The couple worked from a palate of sustainably sourced exhibition materials and used pine as the main construction material. SA Pine -Timber is widely considered to be the most sustainable building material within the construction industry; due to its low embodied carbon footprint, it can be used to maximise a project's green credentials. Softwood Timber, such as Pine, is the only mainstream construction material that is infinitely renewable because fast-growing species such as pine trees are more sustainable and can be replaced quicker unlike slow-growing oak and beech trees. Additionally, the units were also designed with a CNC cut joining mechanism, which means there are no screws, nails, or pins enabling the furniture to be flat-packed, easily stored, and re-used for next year’s event.
Jane & Paul were so impressed with Bethany’s brief and assistance in helping them create a new sustainable product that they named the new product – The Bethany. What an amazing achievement!
Making exhibitor stands sustainable
This year, the team used ScanDisplay’s fabric shell scheme solution to create the exhibition stands infrastructure, enabling exhibitors to reuse their graphics for future Mining Indaba shows and preventing waste materials. Traditional vinyl graphics aren’t as durable as fabric, are difficult to store, and are generally used once before ending up in landfill. Additionally, fabric panels and graphics are more lightweight and smaller, making transportation of panels easier and cheaper whilst also minimising the carbon emissions associated with transportation. After the event, ScanDisplay gave exhibitors the option to store their stands and/or graphics, to encourage them to reuse their stands and graphics at future shows.
The team also used tiled carpets, which can be re-used, and they set up an electronic storeroom onsite to reduce the amount of transport required between the site and our offices. Finally, 75 free-standing banners were replaced for this year’s event with digital screens and pillar wraps which were hugely successful.
The team aims to keep all content on signage generic, so the graphics can be re-used each year. However, any graphics that cannot be reused such as sponsored walls, or graphics with outdated logos are donated to Sealand Gear, a Cape Town-based manufacturer that creates upcycled outdoor bags and apparel. Sealand uses the old fabric to create inners for their responsibly-made bags.
Since 2018, Hyve has been working with Township® to purchase their delegate bags. Township is a Fair-Trade social enterprise that supports women’s economic empowerment in township communities in South Africa. They support five cooperatives employing 45 women in the communities of Khayelitsha and Manenberg in Cape Town. All the products the Township creates are made from eco-friendly fabrics – jute, cotton, or recycled PET from plastic bottles.
Highlights from the Township 2018 -2022 Hyve Group impact report:
- Job creation – 45 women were employed for 18,500 hours and produced 16,800 bags
- High Labour content – the cooperatives’ income was 30% of the bag value
- Recycling – 20,000 plastic bottles were recycled to produce 3,000 bags
This year the leftover delegate bags were donated to The Mvula Primary School in Cross Roads.
Donating magazine collateral
Although the team would like to ban all printed collateral, the marketing team’s media partners send magazines that are popular with event attendees, so this isn’t currently an option. However, post-event there were lots of magazines left over, so Bethany worked with the events freight company to take all the left over magazines to Silverleaf School in Dunoon. The school is given money for recycling, which they then use to buy seeds & plant vegetables to feed the children. The Mining Indaba team filled two skips and their donation helped the school to feed 1500 children. This is an incredible example of supporting local communities through innovative thinking.
At Hyve we want to push boundaries in the events industry by putting sustainability at the heart of our event strategy. It is incredible to see Bethany and the Mining Indaba team establishing their event as a platform for progress by empowering communities whilst also addressing our impact on the planet.