Essex County Council (ECC) is the lead partner of the BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy Project. Running April 2020 – March 2023, ECC and nine other project partners are helping local authorities to accelerate to the circular economy by upskilling and enhancing community engagement among residents and schools.
Lily Chambers, Programme Communications Officer explains what she learned from showcasing at the BLUEPRINT Circular Economy Roadshow event earlier this year.
What is a Circular Economy?
The circular economy is taking the current linear economy that is ‘take, make, waste’ and making it circular by ‘designing out waste and pollution’, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
Designing out waste means making products durable, reusable, repairable, and recyclable, and therefore kept in circulation for as long as possible. Circularity reduces our demand for raw materials and our environmental impact, creates jobs and can involve everyone and everything.
Part of building a Circular Economy means:
- Swapping, sharing, and selling instead of throwing things away
- Repairing products when they’re broken, not buying new
- Where possible, investing in high quality products that are made to last
Find out more about the benefits of a Circular Economy, and what the project hopes to achieve.
What was the BLUEPRINT Circular Economy Roadshow?
Back in May 2022, the BLUEPRINT Circular Economy Roadshow delivered an event that showcased presentations from organisations leading the way in circular economy development. Attendees included individuals from councils, educational organisations, social enterprises, and more.
I am extremely proud to have delivered this event as a communications team of two and not an events team. It was a real collaborative effort, and we were thrilled with the results!
What did we want to achieve from the Roadshow?
ECC took the lead in coordinating 12 virtual events over a week, bringing BLUEPRINT’s objectives to a wider audience. The ambition for the Roadshow was to:
- Showcase the BLUEPRINT Project
- Educate local authorities with relevant circular knowledge
- Inspire circular activity across educational organisations and social enterprises
Also, we hoped that the Roadshow would be a place for professionals to share expert advice, to network, and would add real value to current circular practices.
After deciding dates and an agenda, the team began inviting experts, securing over 50 high-profile speakers and Chairs. Then, we began a cross-platform approach to promote the Roadshow and encourage registrations.
What sessions ran?
Across the week, sessions covered a range of circular economy topics including:
- Fostering a reuse and repair culture
- No more fast fashion
- Inspiring local authority initiatives for a circular economy
The week’s full agenda is here, all sessions are still available on demand. One session was ‘Creating a Circular Economy for Food’ – speakers discussed how their organisations are challenging the huge issue.
Love Essex’s Cathryn Wood attended to run through ECC’s approach – Cathryn has previously written how they’re combatting Food Waste with their campaign coming up in 2023.
What were my key takeaways?
Consistent branding is key
Before starting external promotion, we developed Roadshow branding to make sure marketing successfully encouraged registrations. Assets were consistent, eye-catching, professional and adapted for different platforms and uses.
Also, we developed assets for each of the speakers which meant they could support with promotion, both on personal accounts and organisational profiles.
For help with branding – either to refresh your knowledge on ECC branding or where to go for a new project brand, see toolkit advice on brand guidelines.
Gain support wherever you can
Another key takeaway was to get the right people on board early. Sessions were lead by real industry experts, which gave the event (and ECC as an organiser) credibility. This showed through our feedback, including:
“All the speakers in this session were especially engaging and their passion really comes through which is great to see, almost like listening to a podcast, and there was still ample time afterwards for Q&As.”
Plus, we were excited when prestigious industry organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and LARAC supported us by spreading word about the event via their social channels and website. This support helped keep the discussion going.
BLUEPRINT Roadshow in numbers
As the project’s lead partner, we were thrilled that the logistical and promotional efforts not only met but exceeded the Roadshow targets. This ambitious, industry-leading event was a first for ECC and delivered:
- 54 speakers
- 771 global attendees
- Media coverage in 15 publications
- 4000+ website visits
Also, the sessions were highly commended, with attendees rating the talks an average 4.5/5 in feedback surveys. Plus – this feedback demonstrated that the Roadshow had supported and inspired the audience to act around the circular economy, highlighting the importance of cross-departmental collaboration. Something we can all learn from!