Make Your Event Sustainable!

Our climate is changing with potentially substantial implications for governments and industries. The events industry is no exception. Anyone involved in organising and managing events needs to understand these trends and the implications on their business in order to implement strategies that will enable the business to respond in a more sustainable way.

What is a green event?

A green event is one that is organized with the goal of minimizing waste and promoting sustainable actions. A green event is not simply limited to recycling alone; it goes beyond that by taking a “whole systems” approach to the vast flow of resources and waste that can be generated in organizing an event. This whole systems approach aims to first reduce the total amount of resources being used including material and energy resources, then encourages the reuse of resources that can be reused, and lastly makes sure that materials are disposed of properly through recycling or composting as much as possible.

BS 8901 is the British Standard which has been developed specifically for the events industry. The standard provides a framework of good practice and defines the requirements for a sustainable event management system to ensure an enduring and balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress.

So how do we make your event sustainable?

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It is important that all aspects of an event are sustainable. Event organisers need to consider the social, economic and environmental impacts of organising their event. Every choice, from the venue and travel arrangements, through to the content of the delegate packs should be designed to be as ecologically and socially responsible as possible.

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Meet at sites that are transit-accessible (bus, trolley, tram, train, metro). Remember to publicise all the transit options in outreach materials. Consult the national list of green hotels to select potential rooms for out-of-town participants.

Research event sites, contractors (organizers, caterers, etc.), and suppliers (paper, printers, bioware manufacturers, etc.) that have a commitment to sustainable practices. Do they buy locally sourced food and materials? Conserve energy and water? Use green cleaning and consumable materials?

Use email to gather bios and photos and to inquire about audio/visual requirements and accessibility and dietary needs. Distribute ‘Save the Date’ information by email, websites, and other electronic means to minimise paper use.

Provide online registration.

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Event Materials  – Paper: Optimize the use of environmentally sound paper.

Handouts – Consider which materials need to be included in the packet (printed double sided), and which can be provided online.

Name tags – Request participants return the holder and provide a bin at the exit for this purpose.

Markers and White Boards – Use water based, non-toxic markers on reusable white boards.

Refuse – Make sure there is as little waste as possible and what there is can either be recycled or is biodegradable.

Be strong and clear with your message and encourage your delegates to continue these practices upon their return to their workplace.