These days, sustainability is at the forefront of peoples’ minds whether it’s media coverage of campaigners or us witnessing personally the effects of global warming ourselves such as extreme weather changes.
Whilst we all try our best by recycling as much as we can, trying to use less plastic etc, event organisers do need to consider sustainability when planning and organising an event.
Post-pandemic, event planners can use this time to put sustainability in the forefront of their event planning and encourage potential venues to consider their sustainability and environmental policies
Here are some hints and tips on how to make your event sustainable.
Choose Sustainable /Eco friendly venues
If you are looking to promote your event as a ‘sustainable event’ then the venue you choose must have good sustainable practices.
As a venue finder we can find out from you what is important to you and can check with the venues to see if they match your expectations.
Check the venue has a clear and committed environmental policy and associated environmental procedures.
Key points to consider
- Ask if you can manage and monitor the use of air conditioning in the event space.
- Does the venue use reusable crockery and recycled napkins? If disposable cutlery and cups are required or used, make sure they are made from recycled fibres
- Does the venue ensure all staff are aware of the sustainable measures put in place and ensure that these are carried out?
- Waste management – there is bound to be some waste after your event.
Does the venue provide clearly labelled recyclable areas to minimise the amount sent to landfill.
- Does the venue have all their furniture and equipment on site?
- The carbon footprint of an event can be increased by the amount of pollution caused by transporting furniture and equipment.
- Does the venue use digital signage rather than creating signs for individual events?
Catering – points to consider
- Does the venue use jugs and glasses for water rather than bottles
- Single use plastic is to be avoided as much as possible
For example, 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.
- Where possible, choose a venue that uses local and British produce to limit food miles.
Consider cutting down on the amount of meat used and offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
- What happens to any excess food? Is it composted or given away to charities?
Consider individual packed lunches or bento boxes for guests to limit food waste – obviously using recyclable or compostable packaging.
One of the largest contributors to an event’s carbon footprint is delegate travel.
How your delegates get to your event can have a major impact on how sustainable your event actually is, particularly if the majority of your guest list are planning to travel in private vehicles.
At the venue sourcing stage, take into account whether your chosen venue is close by to accessible transport links and include suggested walking, bus or train routes on your website or invites.
Consider offering incentives to those delegates arriving by public transport.
Ensure that there is a safe area for any delegate wishing to arrive by bike.
Reducing waste – go paperless
Consider how you can reduce unnecessary event materials; there is a huge paper waste at events so why not go paperless as much as possible?
As well as being cost effective, using your website and email to promote your event allows you to update the programme and send out joining instructions without needing to print and distribute hardcopies.
Why not produce banners which are not date specific so they can be reused for other events.
Putting your agenda and any display on screens around the venue will help avoid the need for printed materials.
If you have the budget, create an app for your event, which can provide guests with important information at their fingertips.
Everyone loves a goody bag but a lot of the ‘goodies’ end up in the bin as people don’t want them. Think outside the box – why not include sustainable items such as notebooks and journals made from recycled materials, canvas tote bags or miniature potted plants or seed packets.
Whilst we appreciate some level of waste is inevitable when planning events, if you take any of the above steps you’re contributing to making the world a better place and continue to keep sustainability at the forefront of people’s mind.
Where to host your sustainable event?
Our experienced venue finders know some great venues to ensure your event is as sustainable as it is impressive for your event.
For example – the Hotel Brussels in Brussels offers a great sustainable international meeting option.
The Hotel partners with Eurostar to encourage delegates not to use planes. Did you know ‘Your carbon footprint from one flight can be the same as making 13 Eurostar journeys’
As Brussels is so well connected within Europe, delegates can easily reach the city by travelling by train.
The Hotel Brussels has one of the highest green certified accolades (https://www.greenkey.global/)
The Hotel can serve an all vegetarian locally sourced menu.