Sustainability is a popular buzzword these days in the event industry. Every year, events are becoming more and more sustainable. It’s because when sustainability has been properly implemented into an event, it not only reduces the event’s carbon footprint, but its positive long-term impact on nature is recognised. However, achieving your sustainability goals without sacrificing the quality of the experience you provide to your attendees might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be – with a bit of planning, it can be easy and fun!
In fact, with a few simple tips, you can reduce your carbon footprint and make your event green! But before we dive into the topic, let’s take a closer look at what event sustainability actually means. And why should businesses and event organisers care about sustainable events?
What is a sustainable event?
A sustainable event is one that seeks to minimise its environmental impact and maximises its positive social and economic impacts. In other words, it’s an event that leaves a light footprint on the planet while also benefiting the local community. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as utilising natural resources wisely or choosing sustainable materials and energy sources while avoiding single-use items. Sustainable events strive to ensure their present actions do not come at the expense of future generations’ ability to enjoy the planet. It aims to create social or economic benefits that last beyond the event itself.
Why is it important to have sustainable events?
Sustainable events that promote environmental stewardship and create minimal footprints are becoming increasingly important. The urgency of the climate crisis demands that all aspects of our lives, from the goods we purchase to the events we attend, prioritise sustainability. According to life cycle assessment (LCA) studies the event industry worldwide is responsible for more than 10% of global CO2 emissions, with an annual carbon footprint on the same order of magnitude as the yearly GHG emissions of the entire United States (U.S.).
Today, event organisers have an incredible opportunity to raise awareness about sustainability practices through creative design and fun activities that encourage this effort. By choosing sustainable methods to plan and host events – such as using eco-friendly materials and serving local ingredients – event organisers significantly contribute to larger movements towards a healthier planet. Additionally, sustainable events can save money in the long run by being conscious of resources such as water and electricity. At their core, sustainable events effectively bring people together for meaningful experiences that respect the environment.
8 Tips for Hosting an Environmentally Sustainable Event
As an event planner, you have a unique opportunity to be a leader in environmental sustainability. By making small changes to the way you run your events in 2023, you can make a big difference for the planet. You can do this by
- Choose a venue that is green-friendly for in-person events
- Work with green vendors who use sustainable practices
- Manage food waste at your event
- Opt for green transportation options
- Using Tech for Sustainable Events
- Using energy-efficient lighting and AV equipment
- Utilise Eco-Friendly Features
- Recycle all waste materials generated by the event
Choose a venue that is green-friendly for in-person events
As more and more in-person events become viable post-pandemic, it is important to consider how you can make your event green-friendly. There are various ways to achieve a green venue for your event in 2023, beginning with selecting an appropriate location. Choosing a sustainable location means considering factors such as how energy is produced, what materials are used to construct the building, and how much waste is created after the event. Making informed decisions about these areas can potentially reduce the number of resources consumed, save money in the long run, and help lessen any negative environmental impacts
- Prioritise eco-responsible venues such as those that use renewable energy sources, adopt water conservation strategies, or participate in sustainability initiatives.
- When choosing a catering service for your event, seek out companies specialising in organic food options, locally sourced food, and sustainable packaging materials.
- When sourcing event decorations and supplies for the occasion, look for local companies that prioritise recycled or recyclable materials whenever possible.
Work with green vendors who use sustainable practices
When planning an event, it is important to partner with green vendors who are committed to using sustainable practices. Not only will sustainability ensure minimal environmental impact from the event, but it will also demonstrate your commitment to responsible usage of resources. For instance, work with local vendors who
- Source materials locally to further reduce emissions associated with shipping.
- Utilise renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power to help reduce the carbon footprint of your event.
- Focus on minimising waste by composting or recycling materials.
- Provide options for digital communication instead of printed materials and find ways to conserve water in food preparation and cleaning techniques.
Additionally, considering aspects like travel policies and packaging choices, businesses can ensure that those who provide them with goods or services are helping create a more sustainable world. By making these choices, companies can reduce their carbon footprint while ensuring a successful and memorable experience for their guests.
Manage food waste at your event
When hosting any event, wherever it may be held, it is equally important to consider the sustainability and efficiency of your food and beverage offerings. To minimise food waste, it is best to gauge the appetite of your guests ahead of time in order to plan accordingly. Therefore, a collaboration between parties involved in the event (the host organisation/venue and catering team) is key to managing food waste for your guest list.
Additionally, serve organic foods and drinks wherever possible. Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, or fertilisers that can damage soil or contaminate water sources; plus, they usually reduce contamination caused by processing. When you buy organic, you’re helping to reduce farm runoff near urban areas, which often lowers food deficiencies in local communities.
Considering compostable plates instead of foam or plastic can also help achieve this goal, so guests are all smiles when they’ve finished eating, and you don’t need to worry about tedious cleanup or an onslaught of useless trash at your next event!
Opt for green transportation options
In an effort to reduce your event’s carbon footprint, it is important to ensure that guests have green transportation options available. It’s an easy way to minimise the number of harmful emissions released into the air and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. You can achieve this by
- Encouraging guests to carpool or use public transportation will help to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and decrease carbon emissions.
- For corporate or community events with multiple attendees, planning an efficient carpool system can be a practical way to ensure everyone gets where they need to go while still being conscious of the environment.
- If using public transportation is not an option, consider working with local partners who offer zero-emission rideshare services.
- Event planners can also provide bike rentals for those wanting a more active way of getting around without any negative impact on the environment.
Further rewards could also be offered when guests follow these guidelines, such as discounted tickets or even prizes shared amongst those who opt-in first. This will encourage more people to participate in going green and ensure everyone has a great time doing it!
Additionally, mindfully planning routes around public transport stops can also help manage costs better and ensure everyone gets there in time for the event! By taking into consideration the various green transportation options available, event planners can play their part in creating planet-friendly experiences for their guests.
Using Tech for Sustainable Events
As the demand for sustainable events and activities grows, tech use is becoming increasingly important. By making use of software, event planners have the potential to maximise efficiency and minimise waste while organising gatherings. For example,
- Hosting events through a virtual and hybrid events platform like Sarcon can help you reduce your event’s carbon footprint considerably.
According to a study led by Cornell researchers, a professional conference’s carbon footprint can be reduced by 94% by moving it entirely online, and by 67% by moving it to a hybrid model, with no more than half of conventioneers online.
- Digital registration systems can streamline the data collection process and help track where resources are allocated. Digital ticketing also eliminates the need for paper tickets by providing all relevant event information in one place.
- Event apps even allow guests to interact with each other virtually during virtual events, providing a sense of community without requiring large gatherings. Plus, you don’t have to worry about downloading apps if you use platforms like Sarcon, which provide progressive web app functionality equivalent to that of a native app, negating the need for users to download and install any additional software on their mobile devices.
There’s no doubt that technology boosts sustainability efforts; even small changes like switching from paper agendas to digital notifications can make a big difference. Events can only benefit from using tech responsibly: when done right, tech use helps planners be mindful of resources and prevent waste.
By taking advantage of innovative technologies like Sarcon, we can all work together to create greener and more sustainable events for years to come.
Using energy-efficient lighting and AV equipment
Hosting a successful event requires a great deal of planning and coordination, but one of the most crucial elements is often overlooked- power usage. By utilising energy-efficient lighting and AV equipment, you can save significant amounts on your electricity bill while also sending a green message to attendees and media outlets.
- Look for products that are designed with sustainable materials and technologies, such as LEDs or CFLs, both of which consume less electricity than traditional bulbs.
- Pre-installing solar panels is another option for making your event more eco-friendly.
By following some simple steps like these, you can reduce your carbon footprint while saving money in the long run.
Utilise Eco-Friendly Features
Offering a digital check-in option to participants is one of the best methods to cut down on paper usage at your event. Event organisers can use the event mobile app for a quick and simple check-in process. In addition The use of event registration apps and online registration forms enables participants to self-register, reducing the need for paper registration forms.
Furthermore, features like Sarcon’s event bag allows attendees to save business cards and other event resources to the event bag and then download them in the form of a PDF, CSV, or XLSX. This means that event-goers will not need to lug around stacks of pamphlets from each vendor and can refer to the chat summary and other digital resources even after the event is over.
Recycle all waste materials generated by the event
Hosting a successful event can often create a large amount of waste in the form of trash and glass, plastic, and cardboard packaging. To ensure that these materials are properly disposed of, recycling should be part of the event planning process. This can be done in a variety of ways depending on the nature of the event in question.
- In addition to hiring third-party waste disposal services to collect and dispose of the waste, organisers should also implement a comprehensive recycling plan to recycle all the materials generated by the event.
- Recyclables can be placed in separate bags and bins, sorted out manually or with a sorting machine, and taken away to a professional recycling facility afterward.
- All participants should receive detailed information concisely explaining how they should dispose of their waste correctly.
By implementing this strategy, event planners can ensure that any discarded materials are reused ethically and responsibly instead of being carelessly disposed of, thus reducing their carbon footprint and improving sustainability overall.Furthermore, such measures can benefit any organisation’s public image and help create positive outcomes. Events that embrace a green attitude may even attract more attendees and sponsorships from companies that want to ensure their products are used responsibly.
Therefore, incorporating sustainable practices in 2023 should be at the forefront of any organiser’s considerations when planning an event. Sustainability is not only an ethical decision — but it can also create cost savings, ensure everyone remains safe and healthy, build relationships with vendors and volunteers, and provide visibility to potential sponsors who seek collaborations focused on green initiatives.
To host your next event with Sarcon, schedule a demo today!