How Green is Your Event?
We’re all getting the message about the need for sustainability but you can do more than recycling a few paper cups when planning your next event.
As well as the many social and environmental benefits of event greening it can be good for business too! Benefits for event organisers and clients include cost savings and a positive reputation; a green event is a very visible demonstration of your organisations commitment to sustainability. However, eco-events must balance environmental, economic and social impacts with the needs of your business. By using only the green tips that make sense for your business it will be easy to turn them into a habit.
Here are a few tips to help you incorporate event greening as you plan your next event…
It is important that greening principles are included right from the start. A clear statement of intent to carry out a green event should be made at an early stage in order to gather support from all the relevant role players; if everyone involved supports it with enthusiasm the rewards will be even bigger.
Use local suppliers wherever possible, it's less carbon on supplier transport and delivery and it's good for the local economy. Give preference to local and environmentally friendly products. Avoid goods that are excessively packaged or single use goods such as paper cups. Consider how you can reduce, reuse or recycle goods right from this early stage.
Book accommodation that is a walking distance from the conference venue to avoid the use of transport. Choose accommodation providers that are committed to sustainability through implementing measures such as a towel and sheet re-use policy, providing a key card linked to lights and power in the rooms, providing shampoo in refillable bulk containers and providing a paperless check in, check out and billing process for guests.
Choose a venue with a proven commitment to sustainability. The best way of authenticating this is to check they are accredited by a recognised external body which required an onsite audit. Green Dragon is a stepped Standard recognising effective environmental management. The Standard offers an environmental management system relevant to the specific needs of companies and organisations and rewards actions taken to achieve environmental improvements.
Choose a venue that is within walking distance of accommodation, shops, and restaurants. Select meeting spaces with natural light and ventilation; as well as reducing unnecessary energy consumption this can also increase delegates concentration. Check that the venue offers waste separation and recycling options.
Food and Drink
Keep food local and seasonal. Provide healthy snack options such as fresh fruit or smoothies. Select water filters in meeting rooms to avoid disposable water bottles. When confirming numbers to caterers, try to establish the exact number of delegates to avoid food wastage.
Marketing, PR and Production
Avoid paper handouts by providing information electronically on a USB stick. If you do feel the need to print information, make sure you do so double sided and with small margins. Use recycled paper wherever possible. Use generic signage that can be re-used for any event to save printing out endless arrows for individual events.
Email confirmation and welcome details to avoid the need to send paper copies through the post. Set up an event website with all the other information delegates need. Consider creating a smart phone App to keep in touch with your delegates electronically during your event. Encourage attendees to return their badges or lanyards after the event for re-use.
Encourage travel to the venue by public transport. If this is not possible then hire a coach or arrange a car share. Once at your destination promote walking between the venue and accommodation. Include car share information on your event website and consider an incentive scheme to encourage its use.