Greenbuild events have been happening for over 10 years. Starting as an in-person lifestyle event and platform for local growers and businesses, the festival evolved to have a greater focus on sustainability, carbon reduction, and climate change following the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019.
As a result of the pandemic, the 2020 event had to be cancelled. However, in 2021, with the pandemic still forcing a cautious approach to mass gatherings, we took the festival online and timed it to coincide with COP26. We created a two-week programme of virtual workshops, seminars, and debates on everything from fast fashion and gardening for wellbeing to rewilding and climate reduction strategies. The response from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we had more than 500 people join live online events which included a talk from naturalist and environmental activist, Chris Packham. Here are just a few of the responses from attendees:
“Inspiring, informative, and down-to-earth. Great talks, thank you.”
“Excellent, detailed presentation that was hopeful and optimistic. Many thanks to North Norfolk District Council.”
“A really interesting and stimulating talk with excellent speakers.”
Many of the Greenbuild 2021 events were also recorded for our YouTube channel with post-event catch-ups increasing our viewing figures to over 800. Though many viewers were local, we also welcomed global attendees – with people joining our events from across four continents.
From 2022 – after taking learnings from the real and virtual events – we will deliver Greenbuild as a hybrid event, combining sessions at easy-to-access local hubs with virtual discussions to reach as many attendees as possible and showcase a broad array of subjects in stimulating and innovative ways. Access to events via sustainable transport has been a key consideration in planning this year’s Greenbuild and we are doing more to increase the spectrum of people who engage with the festival by setting up hubs in areas with high footfall. We also plan to run interactive satellite events at some of the incredible natural locations we have in the region.
We’re proud of the impact Greenbuild has already had and continue to update our approach to inspire, educate, and engage people and businesses across North Norfolk on sustainability and carbon reduction.
Understand the purpose of your event – It’s very important to understand exactly what you’re trying to do, who you’re trying to reach, and what you need to achieve. For a local authority, it’s also vital to consider how an event aligns with your overarching climate and sustainability goals.
Move with integrity – We considered all of our actions and events carefully to ensure what we were doing and what we were saying matched up. These are really big issues and it’s crucial to approach them with integrity.
Think about communications – Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved in marketing an event like this. It was not unusual for us to have only half the people who signed up attend a session. One useful tool was to partner with speakers who had a strong social media presence.