The Ultimate Guide to Running Sustainable Events
Events, though commonplace in the corporate world, are massive generators of carbon. On average, an attendee at a conference produces around 170 kilograms of CO2 emissions per day, according to a study by MeetGreen. Most of the emissions can be attributed to transport, which accounts for around 75% of total events emissions.
Running a sustainable event can help to reduce its environmental impact and provide a positive experience for attendees. From choosing a sustainable venue to offsetting carbon emissions, this ultimate guide will provide 6 tips for organising sustainable events that minimise waste, reduce carbon emissions, and engage attendees.
1) Choose a sustainable venue
Consider hosting the event at a location that is easily accessible by public transportation and has amenities such as recycling bins and energy-efficient lighting.
When choosing a venue for a sustainable event, it's important to consider factors such as the location, accessibility, and amenities of the venue. A sustainable venue is one that is easily accessible by public transportation, reducing the need for attendees to drive and contributing to reduced carbon emissions. Consider holding a hybrid event for attendees who are overseas. This helps to reduce emissions from flying. It may also have amenities such as recycling bins, energy-efficient lighting, and water-saving features. These features can help to reduce the environmental impact of the event. In addition, choosing a venue that is already sustainable can also help to raise awareness among attendees about the importance of sustainability.
2) Use eco-friendly materials
Choose materials for the event that are made from recycled or sustainable materials, such as recycled paper for flyers and invitations.
Choose vendors and suppliers who share your commitment to sustainability. This might mean selecting a caterer who sources local and organic food, or a printing company that uses recycled paper for marketing materials. By choosing eco-friendly vendors, you can help support sustainable businesses and reduce your event's environmental impact.
3) Reduce waste
Avoid using disposable items, such as plastic cups and plates, and instead opt for reusable items. Encourage attendees to bring their own water bottles which they can fill up at water stations throughout the event.
Single-use plastics and other disposable items are a major source of waste at events, and they can have a negative impact on the environment. You can also provide reusable utensils, plates, and cups for food and beverages. This not only reduces waste, but it can also save you money on disposable items.
Another way to reduce waste at your event is to implement a waste management plan. This might include setting up recycling and composting stations, and working with a waste management company to properly dispose of any waste generated at the event. You can help to protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste produced at your event.
4) Offset carbon emissions
Consider offsetting the carbon emissions associated with the event, such as by purchasing carbon credits or supporting a renewable energy project.
Despite best efforts to reduce emissions, it is inevitable that some emissions are still generated from events. Events generate carbon emissions from transportation, energy use and other sources. One way to offset carbon emissions is to purchase carbon credits. These credits typically support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as renewable energy projects or reforestation initiatives. By purchasing carbon credits, you can help to compensate for the emissions generated by your event, and support the development of clean energy solutions.
5) Educate attendees
Provide information about sustainable practices at the event, such as recycling and composting, and encourage attendees to adopt these practices in their own lives.
By providing information about sustainable practices at the event, you can help attendees understand the importance of sustainability and encourage them to support these practices. One way to educate attendees about sustainable practices is to include information in your event materials, such as your website and program guide. You can also provide information about sustainable practices at the event itself, such as through signage and announcements. Another way to educate attendees is to partner with eco-friendly vendors, and provide information about their products and services at the event.
6) Evaluate and improve
After the event, evaluate its sustainability and identify areas for improvement for future events.
One way to evaluate your event is to collect feedback from attendees. This can be done through surveys or interviews, and can provide valuable insights into the sustainability of your event. You can also collect data on waste generated at the event, and compare it to previous years to see if you were able to reduce waste. By collecting this information, you can identify areas where you were successful, and areas where you can improve.
Another way to evaluate your event is to conduct a sustainability audit. This can be done by an independent third party, and can provide a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact of your event. The audit can include an evaluation of energy use, waste management, transportation, and other factors, and can provide recommendations for improvement.
Running a sustainable event is good for the environment, your budget, and your reputation. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this ultimate guide, you can plan and execute a sustainable event that minimises waste and maximises the positive impact on the environment.