Blog > Trends

Sustainability trends for 2024, part 1

By Blair Potter | Dec 16, 2023

We asked meeting industry sustainability experts what trends will make the biggest impact in 2024. They discuss food waste, measurement, cost vs. sustainability choices and meeting customer expectations.

Sustainability coverage brought you by

“Managing food waste will be the sustainability trend to have the biggest impact in 2024. With the highest cost of food we’ve seen in years, I think planners will be more conscious about what types and how much food to order. Over-ordering is not an option anymore. If there are ‘leftovers,’ they will also ensure they get donated to community organizations that feed those in need.”

Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC
Founder, thrive! meetings & events

“Launching into 2024, sustainability is no longer considered a separate silo for Marriott—it’s now a convergence. With a constant focus on cutting-edge technology, personalized experiences and community initiatives—along with data-driven decision-making and innovative approaches to meetings and events (just to name a few)—sustainable practices play a key role in everything we touch.

“The trend that is most exciting for us in 2024 is simply meeting customers where they’re at. We will continue to create and provide experiences our customers have come to expect from us, knowing that it’s all done in the most sustainable way possible.”  

Michael Clarke
Senior Director, B2B Events & Programs, Marriott International

“Cost versus sustainability choices will continue to have the biggest impact going into 2024. Planners have choices to make that will involve tradeoffs. The more suppliers and host destinations can highlight sustainable choices that are either already included in their offering or that are cost saving, the better the balance will be. I see sustainability continuing to be led by host destinations and suppliers into 2024. Additionally, I envision more measurement opportunities for events’ carbon footprints and a growing rise of the integration of the UN Sustainable Development Goals into events and organizations’ goals and targets.”

Virginie De Visscher​​​​
Executive director, business events, Destination Canada
MPI Sustainability Advisory Board


“Our No. 1 sustainability trend for 2024 is measurement. This is less of a trend and more of a fundamental practice. As we edge ever closer to the target of net zero 2050, consistent and standardized ways to measure sustainability efforts are essential in order to benchmark progress and share success in a way that’s meaningful for all. We may all be at different stages of the sustainability journey, but it’s essential to measure—only by doing so can we identify areas to focus on where we can make the biggest impact.”

Roger Lehner
Senior Operations & Sustainability Executive, IMEX

“Although extremely difficult to measure, Gustavsson et al. report that over 30% of all global food for human consumption is lost or wasted. Interestingly, food waste can be attributed to meetings, expositions, events and conventions (MEEC) industry stakeholders. Event industry F&B expert Tracy Stuckrath concurs, suggesting that the MEEC industry spends over $48 billion annually on food and beverage, with about one-third wasted ($21 billion total).

“With this amount of waste, it makes sense that in 2015/2016, the United Nations developed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to encourage countries worldwide to act more sustainably, including SDG 12.3, which suggests halving food waste by 2030. In 2023, the UN indicated slow responses to minimize food waste globally. If nothing more is done to minimize food waste, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations believes that by 2030, 660 million people globally could face hunger while edible food is wasted.

“Food waste at events is immense, and little is being done to reduce it. However, only some studies address food waste in the MEEC industry. This is surprising, considering the size and scope of the business events industry ($1.6 trillion in direct spending, according to the Events Industry Council). In Australia, 484,000 business events were held in 2019, with nearly 44 million participants and direct spending of over $35 billion, according to the Business Events Council of Australia.

“I am getting my professional doctorate at Torrens University in Australia. I just started my studies this year. I believe that halving food waste by 2030 is not achievable, primarily because the research can confirm that food waste is too challenging to measure. However, there is confidence that this unspecified food waste at events can be reduced. Accordingly, my research aims to assess how the MEEC industry can help to reduce food waste by the UN’s suggested 2030 target date.”

Annette Ott-Barnett, CMP Emeritus, CMM, CAE
Torrens University Australia (Sydney) Professional Doctorate (Research)



blair potter new
Blair Potter

Blair Potter is director of media operations for MPI. He likes toys and collects cats (or is it the other way around?).