Sustainability is becoming an ever increasing priority for many individuals and organizations. It is now more important and urgent than ever for event professionals, venues and host organizations to make meeting and event sustainability a key item in their planning.
If your organization or association is prioritizing sustainability in your event planning, we can help. Our team of event experts have put together a few tips on what we look for when planning sustainable events.
1. Sustainable food and beverage options
One of the biggest carbon footprints in any event are the food and beverage options. Often there is an excess of food due to a fear of running out. Early registration can help to mitigate this, as it will give event planners more time to accurately determine how many people will be attending and order the correct amount of food and beverage. Additionally many venues and hotels now partner with local food banks, which distribute unused food to those in need – check with your venue if they offer a similar service.
Another way to ensure that meetings are greener is to go plant-based, with meat being one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Planners should also opt for local and seasonal produce, as they have less distance to travel from farm to table and do not need artificial hothouses to grow.
2. Promote sustainable modes of transport
Encourage your guests to use public transport, cycle or walk to the event venue. This can be achieved by organizing conference activities within a close distance or choosing one venue. For long distance journeys, promote train travel over flights – they are much greener!
In instances where lights can’t be avoided, inspire attendees to engage in carbon-offsetting programs. Create a list of activities that delegates can complete to offset their carbon footprint and encourage them to share on their social media under a hashtag. This will have the added benefit of further engaging your attendees and will help to generate more ‘buzz’ around your event.
3. Reduce waste
Ditch the plastic! Reducing non recyclable waste is a great way to lessen your event’s impact on the environment. Items made of material such as bamboo or sugarcane or other compostable material for cups, cutlery and plates are a great alternative to single-use plastics.
Establish a good recycling program for the event by making sure that the venue offers different bins for recycling, waste and combustible food items.
4. Choose a ‘green’ venue
One of the best ways to ensure that your next event is sustainable is to choose the right venue – consider the size of the room and the number of attendees, a bigger room will take more energy to heat up. In the warmer months, taking parts of the meetings or receptions outdoors will also minimise the amount of electricity spent on lightning and air conditioning.
You should also consider an LEED-certified venue that utilizes modern technology to conserve electricity and water, such as energy-efficient lighting and smart temperature controls.
5. Print responsibility and only if it’s necessary
The majority of us now consume most of our information digitally - next time you think about printing an agenda for all participants, consider emailing it before the event instead. If you need a physical version, print a poster size version near entrances to the venue, so that participants can refer to it throughout the event.
If you’re unable to go paperless for your event, make sure that you print on recycled and chlorine-free paper. Sustainable printers will have certificates to indicate their use of eco-friendly materials.