05 Jun World Environment Day
On World Environment Day we look at a few easy ways in which you can make your event greener. These simple ideas are environmentally and socially responsible and will save you money
1) Reduce your paper trail – one of the easiest ways to do this is by going digital, not only better for the trees but also much better for improving engagement with your audience. Online registration websites and portals are fully brandable and flexible to your needs, allowing for a smooth and powerful delegate journey.
Alongside your registration process, build an event app, this cuts out further need for delegate paper information, numerous brochures being printed and discarded. Instead of a physical goody bag, create an online swag bag, with all of the content being digital – you will save money from not needing to print, your exhibitors and sponsors can have their own areas with downloadable information and direct means of contact.
2) Location, Location, Location – choose your venue carefully. Centrally located venues mean that more people can arrive by public transport, encourage those who travel this way or by car sharing with discounts or travel refunds; For larger events use coaches to bring your employees from their various offices – one of our clients brought 2000 delegates into their conference by coach from all over the country, saving 21kg of Carbon per person. Many venues have improved their sustainability credentials in recent years reducing their own carbon footprints, key things to look for are LED and automated lighting, active recycling behind the scenes and in the public areas, using local food sources, local suppliers for laundry, green cleaning products and so on.
3) Catering – delegates need to be well nourished to stay alert and engaged but don’t over cater. 1/3 of all conference food is wasted and sent to landfill, which is a huge contributor to harmful methane emissions. Offer more vegetarian options, not only healthier for you but one fifth of the worlds greenhouse gases are produced by livestock bred for us to eat so it’s a win win. Be careful in your menu choices and how the food is presented so that anything perishable which isn’t consumed can be donated to charities, for instance choose whole fruit not fruit salad; don’t put all buffet items out at once, restock so that anything unused hasn’t been sat on the buffet table for hours.
4) Stay local – source all of your suppliers locally to save on travel impacts but also to support the local economies and communities; many hotels that we have used in Africa and Asia for instance have very talented staff that sing in choirs and can perform traditional dances – why fly over entertainment when you have genuine and talented performers on tap.
5) Reduce waste – we have already covered paper and food rubbish, but there is so much more that you can do. Make sure there are plenty of recycling points throughout your event space for paper, plastic, composting and so on. Exhibitors should use modular stands that can be reconfigured and adapted for each show, rather than disposing of them after one event. We have hundreds of fabulous examples of reusable stands; banish the merchandise unless it is absolutely crucial – make sure that any branding isn’t specific to the event or year so that it can be reused, where possible encourage discounts or vouchers via the event app rather than novelty giveaways that will be thrown away soon after! Encourage staff to provide their own uniforms – they probably all have black or navy skirts and trousers, you can make them stand out with branded ties or scarves which can be reused. If you do need to provide uniform partner with a charity who can reuse it. Eliminate plastic, no plastic take away cups or water bottles – provide reusable ones or offer free or premium drinks to those who bring their own. Badges are a necessity – but they can be recycled and using bio-degradable materials is also a must.
6) Reduce your power useage – choose venues that have renewable power; use hybrid power generators for outdoor events, get your AV company to use LED lighting and use your audience to generate people power! At the Coachella festival they had festival goers powering one of the DJ stages. In your breakout areas include phone charging pedal bikes – your delegates get a workout whilst recharging their batteries!
These are just a few of the solutions we have used to make events greener. Implementing them needn’t be costly and in fact in our experience our clients have made large savings both financially and environmentally.