What Makes An Event Sustainable
Recently, making events sustainable has become essential for the success in the meetings and conference industry. Over the years, the events industry has had quite an impact on the environment. During that time sustainability wasn’t quite the top priority when organizing an event, although there were little things here and there such as reducing printing of flyers and programs (who wants to lug that stuff around.) We mostly saw food waste, lack of recycling options, and handing out tons of swag.
Recently, sustainability grows increasingly more important as event planners and venues are often asked about their implementation of specific green initiatives as part of their choice on venue bidding. Venues are finding that initiating sustainable practices is as good for the bottom line as it is for the planet.
Sustainable events do require more planning and consideration than a standard event however the benefits of doing so are beneficial to events and attendees. The obvious improvements to the planet as a whole, sustainable events show clients or attendees that businesses are not just aware of these serious issues but are enthusiastic about sustainable event management and actually making change. Furthermore, guests at a sustainable event often feel good about attending an event that openly aligns with their own values and adds to their overall experience.
When making an impact with sustainable events, consider the following eco-friendly ideas:
Reduce water use by choosing a water-efficient venue, i.e., a venue that uses water-efficient fixtures and appliances. The same goes for hotel venues.
Go plastic-free by eliminating and/or reusing wherever possible, such as reusable water bottles and collecting and reusing plastic name-badge holders.
Fair Trade certified goods are produced in compliance with rigorous fair-trade standards, which drive income sustainability, community and individual well-being, empowerment, and environmental stewardship in order to protect workers and the planet. Some items that can be sourced Fair Trade for your event include:
- Coffee & tea
- Nuts and seeds, including some snack bars
- Some décor, like candles
Consider hosting your event outdoors during the day. This uses significantly less energy than an indoor event and may even be cheaper for you in the long run! Plus, a sustainable event that actually takes place in the great outdoors really drives home your commitment to green event design.
As event professionals, we have reflected and learned a lot from Covid and how our events really do impact our planet. Together, we can change that. While changing an entire even approach may not happen overnight, there are meaningful changes we can all make to reduce our impact as an industry.