The WorldSkills Carbon Footprint

Here we see ‘The Green Team’ in action, learning with event management student, Marguerite Boman, as she conducts an environmental-sustainability survey of the Floristry department, creating data for the WorldSkills Australia ‘Carbon Footprint’. Margie believes that event managers have a part to play in the future environmental sustainability of the planet.

About The Green Team:

Members of 'The Green Team' meet at stand-4H to collect the environmental sustainability surveys, which are used to assess different trade categories to collect data which is collated and interpreted to create an ‘Environmental Footprint’ of WorldSkills 2008.

The overall survey will be given to the organisers of WorldSkills in Calgary 2009 to help them create a more environmentally friendly event. The Green Team is made up of TAFE event management students who are measuring the 'Environmental Footprint' of the WorldSkills Australia National Competition. Because the Event Management students have limited environmental literacy (just one week of training), they are being mentored by Environmental Science students from the University of NSW.

At the end of the Competition WorldSkills Australia will be provided with an authoritative report which outlines their carbon footprint for this event, which has more than 1,000 participants and anticipated 80,000 visitors, along with recommendations for future improvement. The same report will be provided to the Canadian organisors of the next WorldSkills International event to be held in Calgary 2009 who have sustainability as a focus.

About Margie:

Margie is studying a one year- full time ‘Events Management Diploma’ at the Sydney Institute of TAFE. Quite a social person, Margie became "sick to death of sitting in front of a computer all day" in her old job as a graphic designer. She likes the people interaction and excitement of events management.

Margie has very clear ideas about the responsibility that event mangers have towards the environment and says that far too many popular events are not practicing eco-friendly solutions to issues like waste management and recyclable product choice.

“What we do now impacts directly on the future," says Margie. "(All corporate events and) corporate bodies should have a commitment to environment.”

After TAFE, Margie would like to work in corporate events because this where she can influence and implement environmentally-friendly practices currently being neglected here in Australia. Some obvious areas in need of attention are the waste management systems, suppliers of eco friendly products, lighting and power usage. Margie worked recently at a dance party called ‘Climate’ doing environmentally friendly event management tasks.

In the past, she has rallied and been quite an activist in the environmental sphere. These days she uses her experience of people to communicate more diplomatically hoping to inform and communicate environmental issues rather than dictate them. She believes people will make up their own mind and use their conscience to make positive decisions rather than acting when being told what to do.

In her role at WorldSkills Australia, Margie will conduct three surveys over four hours and she will assessing wastage, power, product choices and how well a category is committed to “greening the event”. She is quite interested to see what’s being done in the hairdressing and welding departments.

Margie says not enough people are putting environmental sustainability into place. And while she concedes that the world can’t be 100% environmentally friendly she believes small improvements will bring far-reaching, positive impacts.

VJ Rodney Meier