Make a positive impact on the environment with these simple yet effective tips for hosting greener and greater events.
As an event professional, you have a significant role to play in reducing our environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices. Not only does this align with the global movement towards sustainability - it can also help you save costs and enhance your brand's reputation.
To help you go green, we’ve got five simple yet effective tips to help you become a sustainable event champion.
Choose Green Venues
When it comes to hosting an event, the venue you choose plays a crucial role in determining its environmental impact. Opting for a green venue can make a significant difference in reducing your event's carbon footprint. Such venues are designed with sustainable features like energy-efficient lighting, renewable energy sources, and water-saving technologies. They also have waste management systems in place to recycle or compost event waste.
When searching for a venue, look for those that have adopted eco-friendly practices and hold certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Stadiums are unique venue spaces well renowned for sustainability efforts and initiatives. Take Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for example. In addition to its thermally efficient and 100% renewable building materials, this stadium utilises LED bulbs and uses rainwater to operate restrooms. Food waste is also minimised, with leftovers distributed to local food banks after events.
Twickenham Stadium is another well-renowned sustainable venue, operating under a ‘zero waste to landfill’ policy. This is achieved by compostable food waste, recycling practices, and waste unsuitable for recycling incinerated to provide energy back to the National Grid. 95% of Twickenham Stadiu’s food is prepared and cooked on-site, using at least 80% British ingredients.
Choosing a green venue not only promotes sustainability but also sends a strong message to your attendees about your commitment to the environment.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings with LEED certification can reduce energy use by up to 50% and water use by 40% compared to conventional buildings.
Source: U.S. Green Building Council
Mindful Transportation Options
To reduce emissions generated by your event, consider the transportation of people and goods to and from the event. Choosing a well-positioned venue location and promoting active travel and public transport can considerably minimise the environmental impact. If your event is held in a central location, you can arrange shuttle services to reduce the number of individual cars.
For larger events, explore the possibility of offsetting the carbon emissions associated with attendee travel. You can do this by investing in carbon offset programs or tree-planting initiatives.
Embrace Digital Technology
With everything easily (and readily) accessible online, there's no need to print excessive amounts of paper materials for your events. Embrace digital technology to reduce paper waste. Create interactive event apps or websites that provide attendees with all the necessary information, including schedules, maps, and speaker profiles.
Consider incorporating digital ticketing systems and registration processes. Not only does this reduce the need for physical tickets, but it also streamlines the check-in process and reduces waiting times for attendees, enhancing their overall event experience.
Source: The Paperless Project
Sustainable Catering and Food Choices
Food and beverage services are essential components of any event, providing ample opportunities for making sustainable choices. Collaborate with caterers who prioritise sustainable practices, such as sourcing locally grown, organic, and seasonal ingredients. This not only supports local farmers but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation.
To minimise food waste, accurately estimate the number of attendees and their dietary preferences. You can encourage attendees to pre-select their meal choices during registration, which can help you plan more efficiently. Any excess food should be donated to food donation organisations to ensure it doesn't go to waste.
To reduce waste, eliminate single-use plastics and opt for eco-friendly tableware and utensils made from materials like bamboo or compostable bioplastics. Additionally, set up clearly labelled recycling and composting stations to encourage responsible waste disposal during the event.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that about one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. By optimising food planning and partnering with food donation organisations for your event, you can contribute to reducing this global issue.
Encourage Eco-Friendly Merch
Collaborate with sponsors and exhibitors to guarantee that the goods they distribute are in line with the best environmental practices. Create and disseminate a set of guidelines to exhibitors that highlight the significance of sustainable merchandise. Encourage them to select merchandise made from recycled, biodegradable, or responsibly sourced materials.
Recommend that exhibitors offer goods that are not only eco-friendly but also reusable and practical. Examples of sustainable merchandise include reusable drinkware, eco-friendly tote bags, or items made from sustainable materials such as bamboo or organic cotton.
92% of businesses plan to be more sustainable when exhibiting at trade shows
Invest in Greener Event Practices Today
Becoming a sustainable event champion is not just a trend; it's a commitment to preserving our planet for future generations. By implementing these tips, you can make a significant difference in reducing the environmental impact of events. Not only will these efforts benefit the environment, but they can also enhance your reputation, attract environmentally conscious attendees, and even save you money in the long run.
Lead the way in creating a more sustainable future, one event at a time.