It’s no secret that the events industry causes a significant amount of waste whilst leaving a large carbon footprint on the planet. As part of our corporate company strategy, our event managers devised a thorough plan on how we can make our events more sustainable.
We found that to create a truly sustainable event, you need to start at the very beginning. This time, in the pre-planning stages, allows event managers to source eco-friendly cities, venues and suppliers.
Here we’ll share our six most effective ways to make your event more sustainable:
1. Ditch single-use plastic
With a strong public focus on the world’s plastic problem, providing single-use plastic at events is not only irresponsible but could land you in to receiving negative feedback and PR.
Instead of providing plastic water bottles, explore the idea of placing water coolers around the venue and prompting delegates to bring their own reusable bottle to the event. Any disposable cutlery or food packaging should either be switched to reusable dinnerware or be made from biodegradable materials.
Since devising our strategy, all lanyards we source are biodegradable. At the end of large conferences, we provide recycling bins for lanyards and badges to ensure that these items are being disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way.
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2. Ensure your venue is easily accessible by public transport
When searching for venues you need to consider how far away the nearest public transport links are from the proposed venue. The shorter the journey from the nearest train station or bus stop will generally mean a lower carbon footprint. If possible, try and find a hotel that is within walking distance of the venue – the more delegates arriving each day by foot means a larger impact on your sustainability goals.
Notifying your delegates of the transport links pre-event will reassure them that the venue is easily accessible. Providing new transport options will not only reduce the event’s carbon footprint but their own too!
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3. Don’t giveaway disposable freebies
The number of freebies received at events is overwhelming. Event managers should look at alternative giveaways that have longevity rather than an item that is disposable once the novelty has worn off. Gifting a small plant or tree to your delegates can be a great alternative to raise awareness of your eco-friendly focus and offset your carbon from the event.
4. Go paper free
Going paper free can be relatively easy should you have the budget to create an event app. Creating an app for your event means that you can display your agenda and any event information there instead of printing copies of it onsite.
However, we shouldn’t assume that every delegate has access to a smartphone. Providing digital screens throughout the venue means that delegates will be able to view the most important elements of the event, like the agenda or floorplans, without having to log in to an app.
5. Go vegan
The vegan diet is the single most impactful way of reducing your carbon footprint. Event Managers should be offering alternative dietary options that have the least impact on the environment. However, not everyone has or will be adopting a plant-based lifestyle and will still want to see meat and dairy products on the menu. The easiest way to make a big difference in this area is to avoid serving certain meats, like beef or lamb. To produce a pound of beef it takes 1,799 gallons of water and releases about 22lbs of carbon. Without these meat products on the menu, your carbon footprint will be significantly lower.
6. Calculate and offset your carbon
Calculating your carbon emissions is a big job considering most elements of your event will contribute to the footprint. The biggest emissions will come from travel and your venue – two areas that you can improve in the pre-planning stages.
Once you have calculated your carbon footprint you should then investigate offsetting this; either by reducing your emissions directly or investing in new technologies that de-carbonise the national grid. One way to do this is to invest in planting enough trees that offsets the amount of carbon your event produced.