From humble beginnings as Event and Sustainability Manager for Cultural Stomp and Peats Ridge Festivals, Australian Meegan Jones recently scored two career goals – publishing the second edition of her book on Sustainable Event Management and being engaged to create the Sustainability Strategy for FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar in 2022.
After setting a strong foundation in her work at Peats Ridge Festival back in 2006, Meegan was coaxed to the UK to considerably upsize her event sustainability efforts – taking on the role of Sustainability Manager for Festival Republic, responsible for some of the largest music festivals in the world – including Glastonbury Festival, Reading & Leeds Festivals and the boutique event Latitude Festival.
Her UK achievements and the launching the first edition of the book in 2009, positioned Meegan as a leader in the field of event sustainability worldwide. Her role in advancing the uptake in event sustainability has been pivotal in both Australia and internationally.
In 2010 she was engaged by UNEP, to produce an industry sector report on the relationship between the music industry and environment, presenting the report at an industry workshop in Norway. She has additionally co-authored a research report into festival-goer travel impacts at British music festivals, with Julie’s Bicycle.
Other projects she’s worked on include as Global Greening Director for Live Earth in 2010, and conducting a sustainability diagnostic for London Marathon. She was also working on Live Earth in India in 2008 when the shooting attacks occurred in Mumbai, leading to an emergency extraction of the team and cancellation of the concert.
In 2010 she established the Sustainable Event Alliance, an international industry association and professional guild focusing solely on event sustainability practice.
She brought the new industry standard ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management Systems to Australian attention, representing the country through Standards Australia at international working group meetings during its development. Meegan was also one of ten industry sector specialists in the development of the Global Reporting Initiative’s Event Organizers Sector Supplement – the foundation of sustainability reporting worldwide.
In 2010 she established a specialist event sustainability consultancy GreenShoot Pacific with fellow Australian Jane Fullerton-Smith, creator of the SEMS Tool. Together they’ve consulted to many stellar Australian events such as Sydney Festival and their training courses have been undertaken by more than 1000 event industry professionals in Australia.
Meegan’s hard work and efforts championing event sustainability have culminated in the ultimate of challenging engagements – placed in Doha, Qatar for 2 months last year, to write the sustainability strategy for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Just to add a little more pressure, Meegan finished the 2nd edition of her book while in Qatar, which is now scheduled for release on May 14, just 1 day before her birthday.
“FIFA has come under criticism for Qatar being the destination for the World Cup in 2022. The country has also come under scrutiny for worker’s welfare, and of course being the highest GHG per capita country. But I have to say, in my time working with the Supreme Committee responsible for delivery and legacy of the World Cup, that they are absolutely committed to diving deep into addressing all aspects of sustainability as it relates to both the infrastructure build and the tournament operations.” says Jones “Necessity is the mother of invention and I’m looking forward to seeing the innovation and excellence I know we will see come out of this very unique event setting. We’re unlikely for a long time again, to see a mega event like this in such a controversial destination, with critical issues to address, an absolute willingness to openly address them, and frankly, the budget to support success. Coupled with World Expo 2020 in Dubai, I think we will some massive shifts happening both in-country and throughout related industries. Exciting times.”
To spice life up a little, while in Qatar, Meegan’s home and office burnt to the ground, but that’s another story!