For years, sustainability has not been a primary focus in the events industry. Today, however, sustainable events shouldn’t be a trend. They are a necessity and key to being a responsible event organiser.
Events can create a lot of waste and leave a large carbon footprint. Event Manager Blog found that at a mid-sized corporate event, 41% of the waste produced will go to a landfill. Understanding your waste footprint will make it easier for you to identify ways to reduce it.
Our sustainable event guide provides some simple ideas that can be easily implemented. It’s not designed to tick every box straight away. Instead, it will get you thinking about different ways to improve the sustainability of your next corporate event.
First steps to achieve sustainable events:
We’ve split our guide into six key event areas for you to focus on.
Marketing & Promotion for Sustainable Events
Raising awareness for your event is crucial. Unfortunately, much of this relies on paperwork. Think about how you can reduce this as well as improve the reach of marketing.
- Utilise sustainable digital marketing tools
- Target attendees online
- Target attendees during face to face meetings
- Use an online booking system
- Reskin and reuse banners and posters rather than producing new ones
Materials at Sustainable Events
Materials at events are a huge resource drain. Make sure you consider the impact of the materials you intend to use at the event. There are some very simple things you can do to reduce the environmental impact in this area.
- Design a digital programme/agenda
- Digitise feedback forms and share them during or following the event
- Provide links to downloads of literature/presentations
- Use recyclable or reusable signage and name tags
- Assess the necessity – a large number of printouts gets thrown away
- Print economically – double-sided where possible
- Use sustainable freebies
- Manage waste properly
Stakeholders & Partners for Sustainable Events
Organising an event, regardless of size, duration, location or type, will create a supply chain of product and service providers. Each generating their own impact. Consider the steps you can take to minimise their environmental impact.
- Use local event suppliers where possible
- Invite local speakers or ask them to contribute remotely
- Develop a ‘green standard’ for suppliers e.g. check environmental credentials
- Ensure suppliers have their own recycling and waste reduction policies in place
Venue & Travel at Sustainable Events
For any event, there are factors to consider to ensure the venue and travel arrangements are set up in the most sustainable way possible.
- Choose a venue that is easily accessible by public transport
- Promote green modes of transport in the pre-event information
- Recommend accommodation that is within walking distance
- Offer online/virtual option to join the event
- Organise the agenda to avoid peak travel times
- Check the venues sustainability policy
- Ensure recycling bins are available and clearly labelled
Food & Drink at Sustainable Events
Food and drink contribute largely to waste at an event. There are simple ways to reduce this waste and consider the holistic sustainability of food and drink provided.
- Use local and/or seasonal produce
- Choose foods that are fair-trade, ethically-produced, organic
- Provide mostly vegetarian/vegan catering
- Use tap water in jugs rather than plastic bottles
- Avoid single-use plastics
- Use reusable cutlery, crockery and glassware
- Get pre-orders or accurate delegate numbers where possible
- Give away or donate leftover food
Energy Consumption at Sustainable Events
It’s true that you often need a large amount of energy to power an event, so how can this be minimised? You can start with these simple changes.
- Use renewable energy sources where possible
- Choose venues with more natural light to reduce energy consumption
- Use LED lighting where possible
- Minimise use of high wattage stage lighting
- Make sure all electrical equipment and power supplies are turned off when not in use
- Use heating and air conditioning sparingly and use natural ventilation where possible
- Send any dead batteries/equipment to a recycling centre following the event
To makes it easier for you to implement some of the suggested steps in this guide, we created a handy checklist . You can grab a downloadable pdf here.
It’s inevitable that there will be some unavoidable emissions from event-related activities. That’s not to say, these can’t be eliminated by implementing carbon offset procedures in the wider business.
At You & Us, we feel it’s important we all do our bit to help reduce our environmental impact. We hope this practical guide makes it easier for you to do the same.
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