We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of being environmentally friendly, of recycling and reducing our carbon footprint and as such, sustainability is becoming increasingly important within the business world.
So, if you are looking to make this a focus for your next event then here are some eco-friendly event ideas.
Pick a venue which does not mean that delegates need to travel a great deal to access the event reducing the use of fuel across private and public transportation. If there is a distance to travel, then group delegates together and organise coach transportation to reduce the carbon footprint.
There are some venues which already have a clear environmental policy. When researching a venue make sure that you ask for details of their environmental policy and if they support sustainable practices. Ask about their recycling and waste management policy, do they supply reusable coffee cups etc.
Have a look around the venue and if they have recycling bins, water fountains or jugs instead of plastic bottles etc then they could be a good venue to partner with.
Consider the travel time for your suppliers also.
Where possible select speakers who are local to the venue and if the venue have an in house AV team and caterers then use them instead of hiring external suppliers who will need to transport equipment on vans or lorries to get them to your event.
At coffee and lunch breaks don’t serve tea and coffee in single use plastic cups. Instead opt for cups or mugs which are reusable, meaning that there is no plastic wasted.
Be sure to avoid any plastic stirrers or containers. Wooden stirrers are now widely available and are less impactful on the environment, or better still use spoons that can be washed and reused!
Don’t supply drinks in plastic bottles, serve drinks in jugs or recyclable glass bottles where possible.
Where possible don’t print event material. This starts at the planning stages of the event – make sure all planning is done on your laptop or using one of the event planning apps that is available.
Any information that is shared with colleagues should be done via email with the request that they don’t print it.
Don’t print leaflets to promote the event, instead try to utilise social media to communicate the details. Email invitations to the event instead of posting them.
At the event itself don’t print out agendas and other material – this should all be available online instead. You can create an event website or use an app to share information with delegates. Encourage everyone to bring their tablet instead of a notebook to make notes.
Have recycling points available and promote the use of them throughout the event.
Ideally you should have recycling points for different material types so that items can be separated into paper/cardboard, plastic and food.
If you are providing your own recycling bins because the venue don’t offer them
then take the opportunity to brand them and promote their use with motivating messages encouraging people to recycle as much as they can. For example, you can include facts such as ‘Recycling a single glass bottle will save
enough energy to power a laptop for half an hour’ or ‘Recycling a single aluminium can will save enough energy to power a TV for up to three hours or an iPod for up to twenty hours’.
Remind attendees to conserve energy encouraging them to switch lights off and conserve water.
If you have managed to book an eco- friendly venue then it is likely that they will already have key initiatives in place. For example, lots of venues have lights that switch on as someone steps into a room and switch off again as they leave, reducing energy usage.
Be sure to get the delegates, colleagues and suppliers on board with this eco-friendly concept from the very start.
Communicate your plans, ask for co-operation and get their buy in early on.
Promote your eco-friendly event by reminding delegates of how they can co-operate. If you have event t-shirts for your staff then you could include a reminder on them to recycle for example. Your delegates will see them as they move around the event. It is also possible to measure the carbon footprint of your event so you can see how successful and how impactful your eco-friendly approach has been.