Healthy People, Healthy Business: Notes from EEMA Webinar on Health, Safety and Sustainability

Industry Watch | August 4, 2021 | News


The Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) hosted a webinar on Health, Safety and Sustainability on 29 July 2021. The free-to-attend webinar focused on how the pandemic has added a new dimension to health, safety and sustainability in managing the experiential business and ensuring the viability of businesses. 

In his opening remarks, Roshan Abbas, President, EEMA, said, “As an apex body, we really want to be able to reach out on why it is important for us to be talking of health, safety and sustainability. I know that this is a very big passion point for many of you. The reason behind the event industry being the last to open is because the government and many other bodies look upon the event industry to be ‘not so responsible’. It is really looked upon as an industry that will always try and find ways and means of getting things done; and we possibly take a shortcut. But by putting up safety protocols during the events, we want to prove to everyone that we are a responsible industry. And as the motto says, ‘We will open Safe Events to Save Events’ and continue with this initiative to communicate with the government for putting up safe and sustainable events.”

Ankur Kalra, EEMA  Safety and Sustainability (HSS) Committee member, said, “Today’s webinar is not just about showcasing to the government, it's about a change in mindset. Hence, safety and sustainability are the most important things if we want to see a bright future.”

The proceedings were divided into three segments, focused on health, safety and sustainability. During his keynote in the health segment, Shayamal Vallabhjee, sports scientist and psychologist explained why the perfect mindset is the key to making the right decision.

Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, delivered the keynote in the safety segment. He said, “The sense of responsibility is the key part that drives everything you do. We are now being welcomed into a new world which is phygital. In this phygital world everything that we did earlier in the physical world is back to life – like public safety, fire safety and more. But together with that comes a layer of technology. Thanks to the pandemic we have begun to accept a world with less manpower and technology has replaced that. The complexity is that we have not been trained for this world. The world is changing faster than we can imagine. And we will have to constantly keep adapting to it.”

Joseph added, “Pandemic or no pandemic, the event industry will go on. The responsibility to health, safety and sustainability must always be there. Today in the corporate world, people are talking about ESG – Environment, Sustainability and Governance. And ESG for EEMA and the event industry means a high level of consciousness of the environment of our industry. If we manage our businesses in a sustainable manner we will always get there. We need to adapt this new mantra of ESG for our business/industry ‘cause that’s the only way forward.” 

Healthy People, Healthy Business

Talking about fitness, Mahek Jain, Executive Director, Nirmal Lifestyle, said, “I think when you create importance for fitness in someone’s life, it automatically translates down to their children and for generations to come. And I think that is also extremely integral in today's day and age.”

“We know genetically speaking one in four people have a mental health problem, we know 50pc of the mental health conditions can be diagnosed before the age of 15. But yet all of this goes unnoticed. And then to that we add the lifestyle and health hazards. We're really in a situation where if we don't help ourselves early enough, it will just become harder down the line,” added Neha Kirpal, Co-Founder, InnerHour Mental Health. 

EEMA’s HSSCommittee member Pramod Lunawat noted, “I want to tell all agency owners that if you need good health for yourself, your team needs it more than you because they are on the ground all the time, you still have the luxury of spending some time at hotels but your team needs it more than anybody else.”

Poonam Lal, MD, Marketing Solutions and Chair-CSR, We Care Initiatives for EEMA, said, “Since 45pc of our workforce is women, our first priority was women-related issues, especially when we talked about compliances. We talked about equal opportunities. Over the pandemic, we have a helpline, which mostly is used by women and they call us for various issues from harassment to mental wellness. We actively converted this helpline into a 24x7 helpline where we also took in calls related to Covid and the aftermath of the illness and how it affected their lives as well as their careers.”

‘Is the Team Vaccinated?’

Speaking about safety, James Clapham, Security and Risk Analyst, explained that having an intelligence-led approach to managing risks at major events, one is not only able to respond to threats or risks, but also anticipate them.

On the changing mindset of clients, Daryl Sheldon, Director, Seventy Seven Entertainment, said, “I think clients have got even more particular right now. They're very apprehensive to go on the ground. Due to the fear of the pandemic, they're asking us to set even more protocols. The first question that you get nowadays is, if the team is vaccinated and double vaccinated. And not only to the team, but it goes down to the supply chain as well.”

Sustainable Event Management - Possible and Profitable

Roshan Netalkar, MD, Swordfish Events & Entertainment and Festival Director – Echoes of the Earth Music Festival, observed, “I believe, financial sustainability makes a difference.” 

He added that time management is critical because one might manage three festivals in the time taken for one. “What we've done is we've set in processes internally. So we are happy that we can probably produce more sustainable festivals now,” he said.

On the benefits of sustainable choices for events, Divya Ravichandran, Founder, Skrap, said, “The audiences who are coming to events now really care about sustainability. It is now becoming one of the strong pillars, so not having it at your event is going to be a big miss in terms of the audience experience. The second thing is from the government perspective, the pollution control board. The municipalities are really cracking down on this across various states.”

Industry expert shared insights on why it's an opportune time for the industry to reboot the mindset and focus on these three pillars going forward.

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