It is undeniable that the conversation around sustainability is louder than ever before, whether that is due to the media coverage of environmental campaigners or because people are witnessing the real-time effects of global warming.
In our day-to-day working lives, we can make changes, but as event planners, we should also be thinking about sustainability on a larger scale, particularly when it comes to planning and hosting events.
Sustainability for events involves organising and executing events in a way that minimises negative environmental, social, and economic impacts.
KEY PRINCIPLES OF A SUSTAINABLE EVENT
Below is a list of some of the key principles and practices for planning a sustainable event. Of course, not all points are possible but even following just some of these guidelines will help your event be more sustainable.
Choose a venue, where possible, that is environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and has a commitment to sustainability practices.
Consider the location’s accessibility and proximity to public transportation to reduce carbon emissions from travel.
Consider holding a virtual show round and, further down the line, virtual event planning rather than visiting in person.
Following on from the above, encourage attendees to use public transportation, carpool, or bike to the event.
Offset carbon emissions by investing in carbon offset programs.
Minimise waste by creating digital invitations, registration and communication. If you decide to print, make sure you use recycled paper.
Provide clearly labelled recycling bins facilitating proper waste disposal.
Use compostable or reusable/recycled materials for banners, signage, and promotional items.
Use energy-efficient lighting and equipment.
Encourage speakers to use electronic presentations instead of printed materials.
Source local suppliers to limit food miles and choose a caterer which offers sustainably produced food and beverages.
Opt for vegetarian or vegan menu options to reduce the environmental impact of meat production.
Try and avoid the use of plastic sachets for salt, sugar, condiments, etc, as these often end up being thrown in the bin without ever having been used.
Minimise single-use plastics and choose recyclable or compostable packaging.
Provide refillable water stations to discourage people from using disposable water bottles and cups.
Engage with the local community and involve local businesses and suppliers.
Support and promote local social and environmental initiatives.
Utilise technology for virtual attendance and live streaming to reduce the need for physical travel.
Choose eco-friendly event apps and software.
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
Raise awareness among attendees about the sustainability initiatives in place.
Include sustainability information in event materials and programmes.
MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING
Monitor and assess the environmental and social impact of the event and report the results.
Implement legacy projects, such as tree planting or community development, to leave a positive impact after the event concludes.
By incorporating these sustainability practices, event organisers can reduce the ecological footprint of their events and contribute to a more environmentally and socially responsible industry.
Yes, I hear you say it’s all very well listing all the above but how can we put it into practice?
In our next blog, we talk about how venues help to make their client events more sustainable, ensuring the event reduces its impact on the environment as much as possible.
We hope you’ve found our guide to running a sustainable and eco-friendly event useful.
If you’re looking to make conscious steps to make your event more sustainable then do get in touch with our experienced team.