all 17 of the SDGs, which Menhinick argues, is ‘stretching the agenda of an association to the point where it would be dicult to make eective change’. She said there were four ways associations should be interacting with the goals: raising awareness that the SDGs exist, strengthening the connection their members have to the 2030 agenda, becoming active agents for change, and embodying what it means to be an SDG-driven organisation. Her own association, for example, has established a sustainability charter, which is a pledge to nd ways to

the International Currency Association, says associations are still at a ‘very early’ point on the learning curve when it comes to the SDGs. “Associations represent sectors, so their primary role here is to help their members become agents for change in light of the SDGs. at is the really crucial role that associations are positioned to play, that is their main role in society. But, despite this, I don’t think associations have really understood the important role they can play in this discussion around the SDGs.” A common mistake was to align with


The European Association of International Education (EAIE) has specifically aligned itself with two sustainable development goals – number 4, which seeks to increase access to ‘Quality Education’ and number 12, which is focused on Responsible Consumption and Production. The latter is applied to its own portfolio of meetings and events, specifically its flagship event. In 2019 the association made a step-change by organising its annual conference and exhibition in Helsinki according to ISO 20121 – the international standard for sustainable events. To achieve this, it worked hand-in-hand with host venue, the Messukeskus Convention Centre, who used the event as a pilot for hosting future events in a more environmentally friendly way. The conference was EAIE’s largest to date, drawing 6,200 delegates, and included a smorgasbord of

measures to reduce its carbon footprint and any waste the event would typically generate. This meant: Around 13,000 trees were planted to offset aviation emissions. All printed materials were produced by a carbon-neutral printer. A ‘vegetarian day’ cut emissions by 419,742 CO2 kg. A tap water promotion resulted in 9,000 fewer plastic bottles. Free public transport reduced emissions by around 968 CO2 kg. 6,500 fair trade conference bags were distributed. And thegoodworkdidnot stop there. Sustainability was also embedded into the conference programme, with 18 sessions dedicated to sustainable development and ethics. Delegates took part in a NetWalking Community Day, picking up 20 bags of litter, and three charities were supported by the conference: Finnish Red Cross, Park Pals, and IceHearts.

Sabrina van Spijker, (above) EAIE senior events coordinator, said: “I thought it was such a unique way of working together with a venue, as everybody had the same mind-set and presented sustainable alternatives or at least made you aware of your options. As a young professional, as for many other people in the field, sustainability is very important and a shared problem, which we should tackle together.”


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