The planet is in dire need to reorganize itself. Making our events eco-friendly can make a difference in promoting a sustainable living today.
It is no doubt a lot of work when organizing an event, and for the longest time it has been a resource intensive exercise where invitation, advertising, decorations, transportation and food are involved. Going Green means being accountable and striving to reduce water, energy usage, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. It also means limiting negative impacts on biodiversity.
A Green event can not only minimize environmental impacts but also increase the economic and social benefits relating to event planning. It can inspire attendees and sponsors in being genuinely eco-conscious in this business and create a position in an environmentally responsible community and sustainable society.
Here are some ways in which you, as event organizers can contribute slowly or more significantly to reestablish balance in nature and the future of our planet earth.
- Newer buildings and top venues have already implemented green policies and practices. A venue incorporated with sustainable initiatives does not necessarily mean compromise. Using these spaces is a great way to show you really care about the environment. They usually reduce the use of fossil fuel and damage to the environment – using biomass boilers, thermal insulation, natural ventilation and harvesting rainwater.
- More and more of the venues on the market are adapting their businesses to minimize environmental harm and to help in the cause against climate change. Some have in-house recycling program and encourage recycling.
- You can choose to ensure that the venue is able to provide you with the necessary documentation with regards to the monitoring and evaluation of greening practices.
- Also, hosting all multi-session meetings at one central location can help to limit transportation needs. If it cannot be helped, provide shuttle service drivers with training in environmentally responsible driving practices as an alternative.
Go paperless, go online and digital
- Paper is often used indiscriminately at and when planning events because it is easily accessible and can be get rid of. This significant waste can now be largely avoided with technology or minimized with web-based invitations, online event registration and event information distributed in the cloud for attendees to access on smartphones and other portable computers.
- If you have to print collateral and meeting-related materials, implement some sustainable printing guidelines and utilize double-sided printing for all.
- You can give recycled materials precedence when making meeting supply purchases or planning. The same goes for the creating lanyards and badges and asking participants to return them after the event, otherwise, there are plenty of options for going with an electronic event registration tool.
- You may also provide guidance to exhibitors on a sustainable design and the construction of exhibition booths and displays.
Procurement, food & beverages
- Whenever you consider goods and services, consider the environmental, social and economic impacts throughout its lifecycle – favoring those with minimal impacts and fostering positive social and economic development.
- You can put the environmental criteria next to quality and price when negotiating and developing contracts to hold suppliers accountable and commit to a being eco-friendly in doing business.
- Do look for sustainable suppliers of local food and beverages such as organic, fairly traded coffee and tea – and include vegetarian meals or vegetarian meal options.
- Decrease the usage of paper and plastic by using real china for all food and beverages and choose a buffet style menus, donating leftovers to local charities thereby eliminating wastage.
More on : Food Wastage at Events? We Think Not.
Many event organizers are becoming more responsible and recognizing that events can play a positive role by adopting a low-carbon or even a carbon neutral strategy.
In doing so, they take responsibility for their emissions and use their larger purchasing power and profile to lead in climate change action, and support the transition to a more sustainable energy use. This in turn can inspire participants and spectators to choose low-carbon options in their own lives, as well as saving money through measures such as reducing energy consumption.
Further resources on how to integrate eco-friendly practices into the event management and the planning process:
- The EPA-developed Guide to Planning Environmentally Friendly Events