Informa’s Latest Sustainability Report Shares Stories, Ideas for Event Organizers

October 16, 2019
Informa Sustainability Report

Event and trade show organizers looking for an overview of how industry giant Informa makes a difference through sustainability — and how they can follow suit — can turn to Informa’s “2018 Sustainability Report: The Role We Play” as a resource.

Released in conjunction with the company’s annual report earlier this year, the document provides examples of how Informa’s brands and content support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, stories of the purposeful partnerships that Informa teams have formed with community groups, and insightful infographics that demonstrate how the business measures its carbon footprint and understands the environmental impact of its events.

Informa has published standalone sustainability reports since 2006, but when the company revamped how they approached sustainability three years ago, it also reset how it was reporting on progress.

“Because one of our focuses was to inspire colleagues in the business and create a sense of pride around our sustainability activities, slightly unusually, we targeted our reports at colleagues,” says Ben Weilgus, Informa’s head of sustainability.

He continues, “We chose a format whereby much of the content is written by colleagues for colleagues. The reports then form a backbone of information that allows us to respond to requests for information from the organizers behind dozens of investor and customer indices, which is an increasing part of what we do and as expectations of companies increase.”

The 2016 report first included examples of Informa’s impact in the company’s markets, such as creating jobs for disadvantaged communities in the construction industry. Next, the 2017 report, called “The Contribution We Make,” examined Informa’s four pillars of sustainability: content, communities, colleagues and environment. Rounding out the trilogy, the 2018 report focuses on colleagues’ stories about how they’re tackling major issues in their markets.

Ben Weilgus“This meant a lot of running around and Skype calls at odd hours to get stories from every time zone, in order to share stories that reflect the international company we are and the positive impact many colleagues are having,” says Weilgus.

UBM becoming part of Informa Group last year significantly increased the size and scope of the company, Weilgus notes. Informa now has 11,000 colleagues in more than 30 countries, in addition to 500 exhibition brands.

"With this increased size, it is very important we are scaling in an environmentally responsible manner,” says Weilgus. “For the first time since I’ve been with Informa, we measured our Scope 3 emissions, which are emissions from downstream and upstream activities that are not directly under our control.”

He continues, “We have also mapped our largest sources of indirect emissions from putting on an event and assessed the level of control or influence we have over each activity. The aim is to continue to reduce our environmental impact and meet the new science-based targets we have set for carbon reduction.”

Informa has run surveys showing 80 percent of its audience wants the events they attend to be run responsibly, and events meeting these expectations attract increases in net promoter scores, according to Informa officials. In addition, UFI also recently reported that 38 percent of attendees might choose not to attend a show if it were not run in a sustainable or responsible fashion.

“These findings show that being environmentally sustainable and socially responsible is a must for any long-term focused events organization,” says Weilgus.

Continuing to share this information on what Informa is doing, as well as looking to hear from other companies on their sustainability efforts, is what will continue to move the industry forward, Weilgus adds.

“Success in this area is all about working in partnership with venues, general service contracts, food and beverage providers, exhibitors and industry organizations such as EIC and UFI,” he says.

To download a free copy of the report, go here.

Do you have a story about how your company is increasing its sustainability? Send an email to and let us know.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.