Romina has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Economics, with a Minor in International Development Studies, as well as a Diploma in Event Management. She is the Founder, Lead Consultant and Speaker of Eco-Friendly Events, a consulting agency that supports event organizers and businesses by bringing a holistic, accessible and realistic approach to implement green initiatives.
These are her pillars.
Through Eco-Friendly Events, she advocates for environmental and social justice and strongly believes in approaching environmental sustainability with incremental, yet impactful actions. Her aim is to educate all event organizers such that having an event sustainability strategy is second nature, and simply part of the planning process. Outside of work, you can find Romina reading a good book with a giant cup of coffee or in the water swimming, scuba diving or surfing.
A typically 3-day conference produces 1.89 kg of waste per day and 176.67 kg of carbon emissions a day (MeetGreen, 2014). The injustices happening to marginalized communities and the planet are interconnected. Developing countries don’t necessarily have the infrastructure in place to protect themselves from increasing natural disasters caused by climate change. But even here at home, low income communities (generally populated by BIPOC) are situated next to landfills or manufacturing plants and thus have difficulty accessing clean air, water, nutritious food or natural spaces. BIPOC are disproportionately affected. As a consulting agency, Eco-Friendly Events supports event organizers by providing the environmental expertise to their team, by building out an event sustainability strategy that will reduce the amount of waste and carbon emissions produced by each event. The consulting services starts with figuring out what matters to the client and event production team i.e. their eco-values. From there, we can use these eco-values along with budget as the guiding light when selecting eco-friendlier options from venue, catering, transportation, carbon offsetting and more. We support the implementation of the plan as well as measuring the impact of the sustainability strategy by using a carbon footprint calculator, weighing the amount of waste diverted from landfill as well as the electricity and energy consumed on-site. During the planning process, we also strive to prioritize BIPOC communities, businesses and vendors when making supplier recommendations to our clients. We firmly believe that there is no environmental justice without social justice and that we must tackle both in order to protect the people and the planet.
After completing my Bachelors in Environmental Studies, I always knew I wanted to do something actionable to create impact. Shortly after, I decided to go back to school for Event Management and while I worked as an intern I fell into the world of festivals. I took notice of how much waste was created after each event, observing that some efforts were made (but fell to the wayside) and that it didn’t necessarily matter if there were recycling and organic bins on-site when attendees didn’t know which bin to toss items in. It immediately clicked that there was an opportunity for me to bridge the gap between environmental sustainability and the events industry by combining my educational backgrounds. The issue I began recognizing on-site was the lack of awareness by attendees, environmental expertise on the event production teams and leadership. That is when I founded Eco-Friendly Events to bridge this gap and to provide the environmental expertise and leadership to event production teams while simultaneously educating attendees through on-site signage and pre-event marketing.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
It’s truly heartbreaking to see the drastic changes in weather conditions across the globe in the last few years and how it has affected the inhabitants of these areas. Apart from wanting to protect people (especially marginalized communities) from future and worsening conditions, I also think that each person has a gift to share with the world and without a planet, they are unable to share it.