We all know live events tend to be wasteful by nature. After all, they require people to travel to and from, be fed and accommodated for at least a day.
Many of the tools event organisers use to provide unique experiences are often just that; unique. In other words, they’re used once and then thrown away.
But there are things you can do to improve the sustainability of your events and reduce the negative impact on the world around you.
The first step is simply being more aware.
Here we’ve put together a practical list of 5 things you can do to make your event more green.
1. Shrink your carbon footprint
Incentivise attendees to take public transport to and from your event, instead of driving their cars. Think about where your attendees are coming from, and host events nearby to reduce travel.
Once they’re there – ensure you design a walkable event precinct with conference rooms, activities, accommodation and dinners all within walking distance from one another. Aside from the reduced carbon footprint, your attendees will appreciate the fresh air and exercise after being seated most of the day.
Go one step further and carbon offset your event entirely. Calculate how much carbon is generated by your attendees and make a donation to green initiatives such as planting trees.
2. Reduce waste
This one’s easy if you select a destination, venue and caterer with good recycling and composting programs.
As a standard, provide distinct waste stations at your event with clear signage to help attendees sort and recycle their waste. And don’t be afraid to ask the venue to confirm their recycling processes once it leaves the venue.
Go one step further and go package free. Work with your caterer and other suppliers to create food stations that don’t include single-use plastic wrapping, cutlery or coffee cups. Recycling is great, but less waste overall is better.
3. Print less, engage more
The days of printing out agendas, feedback forms and other event communications are long gone. With innovation, technology and sustainability a focus for many businesses, paper wastage is a definite no-go.
Use innovative AV technology for wayfinding. Use an event app to communicate and engage with attendees. And use an onsite name badge printer that only prints a badge for attendees who turn up. (We suggest Sprintr by AV1).
Go one step further and design lanyards with generalised branding so they can be reused.
4. Repurpose floral decor
Incorporating florals and greenery into your event is a great way to create an impact and improve the atmosphere in the room.
But they aren’t very sustainable with many being discarded at the end of the event.
Use fake flowers instead. They’re reusable and you can get ones that match your branding.
If fake isn’t an option for you, offer the floral arrangements as prizes or gifts at the end of the event to give them a second life.
Go one step further and invest in some living decor. This could include potted bushes or plants for entryways or hanging baskets. Anything that’s long-lasting and sustainable that you can use again. Or use a service that will collect your florals and donate them to local community centres.
5. Choose vetted suppliers
Running a green event isn’t easy. And with so many other objectives and priorities it’s sometimes easier to put it in the too hard basket. But it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
Choose suppliers who prioritise sustainability in their own businesses and who will work with you to reduce the negative impacts your event might have on the environment.
Go one step further and open up your own business to an independent third party organisation like B Lab that can assess and challenge you to improve your internal processes.
Finally, remember it’s not about being perfect. It’s about moving forward in the right direction, bit by bit.