Sustainability networking: top sustainability conferences

Sustainability networking

Sustainability networking should be seen as a pivotal element in any corporate sustainability strategy. There’s no denying that building strong connections within your industry is a critical ingredient to long-term business success. According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, which analysed 165 lawyers at a large North American law firm, the success of the lawyers was based on their ability to network effectively. 

In other words, their ability to network efficiently both internally and externally enabled them to get themselves assigned to choice clients and also bring business into the firm. Continue reading as we dive into the power of sustainability networking and share some of the top sustainability networking events and conferences taking place in 2024 around the world.

The importance of networking in the sustainability sector

Networking has the inherent ability to foster knowledge-sharing and collaboration. With this in mind, it is no surprise it has emerged as a potential critical driver in accelerating sustainable transformation. 

Sustainability networking establishes a platform for the exchange of insights, best practices, and knowledge. It allows climate experts and professionals to share failures and successes to learn from one another. 

Networking also allows professionals to remain at the forefront of sustainable practices as they learn about emerging trends and gain access to industry benchmarks and cutting-edge research.  

Through networking, like-minded professionals and experts can connect and tap into a diverse range of experiences, skills, and perspectives. This can open doors for new partnerships sparking the development of scalable and innovative solutions. 

Networking can also amplify individual efforts because it can create a powerful mechanism. It connects people with common visions, and they can leverage their combined expertise, influence, and resources to bolster systemic change. 

These collaborative initiatives can create a collective voice for sustainability as individuals pool their resources and knowledge together. Sustainability networking helps businesses build trust and credibility too, because the relationships are genuine and based on a common purpose and shared values. 

5 sustainability networking events and conferences to attend in 2024

If you’re ready to tap into the power of sustainability networking, below are 5 sustainability networking events and conferences to attend in 2024.

1. Net Zero Festival

Launched in 2020, the Net Zero Festival celebrates and promotes the best of the net zero transition. In the process, it allows investors, businesses, policymakers, and campaigners to share best practices and experiences that enable everyone to move faster, together in the pursuit of net zero objectives. 

The event marries an in-person conference with digital content to provide delegates with engaging and inspiring insight into the many ways how the net zero transition is transforming the global economy. Additionally, the conference highlights the myriad of opportunities and risks being created along the way. 

The festival has featured high-profile speakers, including Chris Stark, Rain Newton-Smith, and Paul Polman, as well as top broadcasters like Lucy Siegle and Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Now in its fifth year, the Net Zero Festival will run from the 22nd to the 23rd of October 2024 at the Business Design Centre in London.

2. Global Fashion Summit

The Global Fashion Summit takes place over three days, from the 21st to the 23rd of May 2024, across various prestigious Copenhagen locations. It is presented by the Global Fashion Summit, a non-profit organisation fostering industry collaboration on sustainability in fashion to drive impact. 

Pre-summit activities occur on the 21st of May with sustainability networking events and productive roundtable discussions. The core Summit days (22nd and 23rd of May) present informative content and inspiring solutions sessions at the Copenhagen Concert Hall.

3. ESG Summit

The ESG Summit 2024 will take place on the 30th of April at Croke Park in Dublin. This event will review the latest ESG trends, why they matter, and what companies should look out for this year and beyond. The event will also showcase cutting-edge technologies and share game-changing strategies and real-world best practices. The aim of this is to empower attendees to create data-driven, reliable foundations for meeting their ESG objectives. 

This summit targets compliance officers, business leaders, policymakers, investors, business advisors, ESG and sustainability professionals, and more. This year’s topics include just transition, reporting requirements, the EU’s Corporate Due Diligence Directive (CS3D), business and biodiversity, and the impact of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Reporting (TFND). 

4. Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit  

The Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit brings together investors and business leaders worldwide to drive innovation and scale best practices in sustainable finance and business. 

At the summit, executives share the inventive ways they are investing in sustainability to drive profits and maximise purpose. The event seeks to empower employees of all backgrounds and discusses the powerful role social factors play in a comprehensive sustainability plan. The event is set to take place in London on April 25th 2024.

5. EarthX

EarthX is an important gathering with experts in finance, conservation, sustainability, and oceans taking place from the 22nd to the 26th of April in Dallas, US. This world-leading event is on a mission to create a sustainable world for all living beings and future generations. EarthX is a nonprofit global environmental organisation that connects businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, and more.

It covers a variety of topics spanning the circular economy, policy, energy, the blue economy, wildlife, water, and more. Attendees can expect presentations, roundtables, discussions, fireside chats, keynote luncheons, and the opportunity to network with investors, innovators, leading businesses, start-ups, and more.

Tips for maximising networking opportunities 

Now that you know the benefits of networking, let’s discuss how you can maximise sustainability networking opportunities. Firstly, you’re likely wondering which events you should choose to attend. The most effective way to do this is to create a list of the events you want to attend and think about the purpose of attending each. Ask yourself: what is your agenda for attending the event, and what do you plan to get out of the opportunity? 

For example, it could be to meet some of the speakers or to get a grasp of the latest trends and innovations in a specific area like energy or transport. Before attending any event to tap into the power of networking, you should carry out some research. Many events now offer apps where you can see all speakers and attendees to read their biographies and information about their businesses. 

Sometimes, you can also check their current publications here, or there may be links to their LinkedIn profile or other social media platforms. Through these apps, there is often the ability to book appointments with speakers or other attendees. If you plan to do this, make sure to book them in advance and send them a short note about you, your business, and what you hope to get out of the meeting with them. 

It is also important to try and prepare yourself for these conversations, so ask yourself what you intend to discuss. If you are an entrepreneur or business leader, bring plenty of business cards to make starting conversations a bit more seamless. Prepare any questions you have for them in advance and take notes from your discussions. On this note, it is a good idea to create a list of follow-ups for when the event is over.

Final thoughts

Sustainability networking is so much more than simply making small talk at events or collecting business cards. It is about establishing genuine relationships with people who share your goals and values and who can offer advice, support, and opportunities. While it is often an overlooked part of a business strategy, it should not be underestimated in terms of what it can do for brand visibility and awareness. However, it is crucial to be strategic in what events you decide to attend based on your goals and come prepared to increase your chances of successful outcomes. 

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