From time to time, we will interview an ACS employee. This way we trust to give you a better insight into our people. In this issue our Project Manager for Sustainability Vincenzo Fornoni is interviewed. In this interview he shares his vision of sustainability for ACS and the Meeting Industry.
Age: born in 1993
Job title: Project Manager Sustainability
Number of years working for ACS: since February 2022
1. How did your interest in sustainability begin?
One of my earliest memories about this subject was a conversation I had with my father, when I was about six years old. I suggested to him, that we should just place a bunch of refrigerators together and open their doors to cool down the planet. That’s when I realized that climate change and global warming is a real threat and the way that we live is endangering our own habitat.
I felt duty bound at a fairly young age that if I am going to contribute anything in my life, in terms of a job, it should be doing something to solve this enormous problem. As I grew older, I learned how entrepreneurs and commercial industries pretty much shape the societies that we live in. So, I chose my bachelor’s study in organizational innovation and entrepreneurship, which is basically business administration 2.0. I wanted to become an active player and come up with an idea that supports my bigger ideology; to not jeopardize our quality of living through the amount of pollution we create.
2. What relevant experience do you bring to ACS?
Not only do I bring a fresh pair of eyes to assess the challenges facing ACS and the Meeting Industry, but as a Sustainability Consultant, I have learned that sustainability is just another word for efficiency. By becoming more efficient, it is possible to create a huge positive impact. So I am currently evaluating ways to increase the efficiency of ACS’s transportation movements, and how we can do more by using less resources, as well as lowering our use of fossil resources. I also bring a huge amount of enthusiasm to my role. If you want change, you need to engage with people, and I believe enthusiasm is contagious and essential to getting a team on board to affect change.
3. Why do you think it’s important for ACS and the meeting industry to work more sustainably?
I believe we all have a responsibility in addressing climate change and sustainability. Not just ACS, but the event industry as a whole. We must all step up and take responsibility in becoming more aware and more efficient, especially in terms of waste management and energy consumption
4. Have you identified some ways to implement some quick wins?
We are currently reviewing a concept called “glocalization”, which means thinking globally, and acting locally. We’re looking at how to effectively make use of as many local resources as possible, both in terms of material and people. I believe this really is the way forward; to minimize the amount of transportation used; with people on planes, and moving truckloads of basic equipment. This is actually where the entire meeting industry can win, as this is by far one of the biggest aspects of its ecological footprint.
5. Are there any aspects that can be rolled out both nationally and internationally?
The corona pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced everyone in the meeting industry to think outside the box, and from this hybrid events have emerged, where at least some part, if not all, of the program became virtual. At first people were happy that they could finally cut so many travel hours and work from home. But then we saw that the in-person experiences were very much missed. So, it is clear the industry is not yet ready to go fully digital, but ACS offers many more forms of hybrid solutions which significantly reduce the need to travel.
We are also reviewing the use of transportation which runs on sustainable fuels; such as electric trucks. But at this point in time, this is only possible for national implementation, as sadly technological innovation cannot yet offer long-distance options from Amsterdam to locations outside the Netherlands.
6. Do you plan to implement some sort of measurement within the organization?
I’m a strong believer in data driven decision making, and a baseline measurement is really important for any type of industry. Once our strategy to reduce our footprint is clearly defined, together with the cost benefit analysis of working with local suppliers, we can see what the trade-off is and use the pollution factor as an added dimension to our decision making process.
7. How do you see suppliers and customers playing a role with regard to sustainability?
There is an accelerating trend that sees both suppliers and customers having increasingly high demands in terms of the services and products they use. The event industry is no different and is only just starting to embrace more sustainable solutions and services. This offers ACS the opportunity to lead the way in integrating sustainable solutions into their existing high-quality services.
8. What else can you share, so people can really get to know you?
I am passionate about making a positive impact on this planet of ours. The pandemic showed us how quickly ecosystems can recover if you just leave them alone, even for a couple of months. Which I believe is a message of hope – but there is no time to waste – we just need to take steps to create the change that we want to see in the world.