An investigation into the influences of green marketing communications on event attendees and event professionals’ attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable consumption.
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The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the influences of green marketing communications on event attendees and event professionals’ attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable consumption. In order to explore this, the Shambala Festival, recognised as a green event for their outstanding focus on sustainability, was used as a case study. The rapid growth of the events industry has emerged as a vibrant sector of the tourism industry. The popularity of events has generated an increase in event research and applied work, focusing mainly on the economic impacts to highlight the aftereffects and overall value of an event. However, with monetary measures being the primary topic, few studies have analysed the combination of environmental, social and economic impacts of events or the idea of sustainability within the industry. Therefore, for a more holistic evaluation of events, the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach was introduced to measure beyond financial performance. The TBL is also referred to as the 3P’s, People, Planet and Profit, encouraging businesses to be more accountable for their environmental impacts reducing inherent confusion around the topic. Furthermore, demands for increased responsibility is being popularised throughout the events industry by both event attendees and event managers thus, highlighting the importance of green events. The primary data collection method applied in this research was in the form of structured interviews conducted face to face. Conducting qualitative data fitted naturally with the research aim as it recorded personal accounts of green events and sustainable consumption from five festivalgoers and five event managers. Following a set of 7 pre-established questions assured relevancy of interviewees responses to the project and facilitated the natural emergence of themes within collected data. The findings from the study established that the Shambala Festival is admired for its sustainability policy and environmental efforts. Furthermore, it is evident from interviewees responses that global attention given to environmental issues has amplified along with proliferating observation towards sustainable accomplishments and event legacies. Four key themes emerged from the data: two relating to event attendees and two relating to event professionals. The first of these is event attendees’ education and accountability for sustainable consumption, which is influenced by green marketing; secondly event attendees environmental concerns, which relates to the previous theme as it acts as a catalyst for encouraging consumers to self-educate on best practice to avoid becoming recipients of greenwashing. Regarding event professionals, sustainable event management incorporates environmental, social and economic responsibilities to benefit industry experts, event attendees and the environment, however it is recognised as a prime ground for greenwashing. Moreover, the social reality of encouraging sustainable consumption is evident as green business emerges as a new trend within the events industry, and professionals are more motivated to portray a positive sustainable image with such marketing strategies being beneficial to the customer, but even more significant in satisfying stakeholders’ interests and investment opportunities. However, with limited research on perceived greenwashing and green events, this study contributes to an unexplored area within event literature and may help provide a base for future research.