EARTH DAY: Q&A With Abigail St Pierre, Director Of Experiential Production, Canada

Abigail St Pierre, Director of Experiential Production, Momentum Worldwide, Canada office. 

Tell us a little bit about you, your role as a sustainability champion? 

Here in our Canada office, I am responsible for leading the production department in overall planning, including vendor management, fabrication, logistics, staffing, and travel on all experiential programs.

Sustainability has been an important goal of mine for many years. Working in experiential for the past 16 years, I have seen firsthand the waste that our industry has traditionally produced – from the thousands of premiums created overseas, to custom builds that end up in landfills after only a few uses, to driving cross country for tours. In the past, our carbon footprint has not always been great. Now, I’m working with my teams to find sustainable solutions to the challenges we’ve faced. By embracing our Make it Matter strategy and sustainability best practice, I’m excited to use TRACE so we can track and optimize our plans moving forward. 

Why is sustainability important to you? 

Sustainability has always been a topic near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a small town surrounded by nature and want to ensure the generations to come can experience what I did growing up. Sustainability plays a crucial role in my household. We cook and grow our own food and we limit the use of water and power to specific times of the day. Our consumption of single use plastic are minimal and we are always recycling. This is paramount to both myself and my partner, who works in renewable energy. Sustainability should be important to everyone as it improves the quality of our lives, protects our ecosystem and preserves natural resources for future generations.

What about clients and their need to reduce carbon footprint, how are we doing this in our Canadian office currently? 

Going green and supporting sustainability is not only beneficial for our Canadian clients; it also maximizes the benefits from an environmental focus in the long-term. More than half of Canadians plan to pay more attention to the environmental impact of what they consume but continue to rely on companies to act as leaders in driving positive social and environmental outcomes (EY). In Canada we are having informed conversations with our clients about their footprint when ideating and planning activations. It truly is what brands do that matters. Moving forward we will be able to work with our clients to understand their sustainability goals, set project KPIs and metrics and use TRACE to track, monitor and measure the carbon footprint of our work. I’m looking forward to showcasing to our clients Momentum’s leadership in this area.

What do you think are the most impactful ways Momentum can make a more positive impact? 

80% of waste can be avoided if we make responsible decisions at the design stage. Working with our creative and design teams, we’re hoping to embed circular economy principles, utilizing existing assets, innovating off-the-shelf items, building production sets that can be repurposed and reused for years and exploring materials that are recyclable, compostable and create less strain on the earth’s resources. In the Canadian office we’re investigating the use of electric vehicles for tours, working with local vendors and staff and thinking outside of the box to develop activations that improve our environment and help fund initiatives.

What do you think is exciting in the sustainable innovation space – materials, technologies, brands leading the way?  

The past two years have really pushed us to develop innovative technology to stay connected during lockdowns and become more comfortable using this technology. We’ve seen the innovation in virtual experiences from the improvements to platforms such as Zoom to the evolution of the metaverse. By reducing your in-person head count, you are not only reducing expenses, but also your carbon footprint.

That being said “Research shows significant and growing pent up consumer demand for everything live” (IMI 2021 Global Recovery Report).  

This is exactly why we also need to focus on finding unique ways to make in-person, live experiences more sustainable. A great example of this is to find innovative uses for existing technology, such as QR codes.  Experiential activations used to rely heavily on tablets and touch screens. These devices always needed upgrading, came with costly shipping fees and were not easily disposed of. In efforts to create a safe and contactless experience, we saw restaurants shift to using QR codes in order to give patrons access to menus and information. This idea is something we can implement into experiential production. By leveraging these QR codes to engage with consumers at activations, we can reduce the need for tablets as well as costs and waste.