In a world where the realities of climate change and the negative impact we, as a population, are having on our planet, it’s no surprise that many event organisers are looking to adopt a greener, more planet-friendly approach to events.
However, the advent of eco-friendly events is still a relatively new one. So, whether you’re a novice event planner or a seasoned professional, we’ve put together a bite size guide to help you get a handle on how to incorporate an eco-conscious ethos into the planning of your next event.
Location is key
For those striving to organise an authentic eco-friendly event, the work begins at the early planning stages. The location and venue you choose could in fact have the biggest impact on the surrounding environment and how sustainable your event will be.
Many cities and event venues have increased their focus on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint, so carrying out research into the greenest locations before making your final decision could pay dividends. However, be sure to keep your core event objectives in mind throughout this process too - ensuring you find the right balance between sustainability and what you and your attendees want.
Factor in transportation
When weighing up your location’s green credentials, you should also consider transportation. For instance, a rural, eco-conscious venue may boast excellent sustainability on the one hand, but will this be negatively affected by transportation accessibility?
With any event planning, it’s essential to factor in how your attendees will arrive and the distance from public transport and local facilities like hotels. You want to make your venue as easy to get to as possible, so choosing a location and venue with good transport links and local amenities could help to reduce your overall carbon footprint. For more remote venues, you could even encourage attendees to enrol in a car share programme to help minimise transportation emissions associated with your event.
Team up with green partners
Naturally, there will be elements of your event which need to be outsourced to external vendors. However, this is another area where you can make a dent on your event’s carbon footprint by opting to work with green partners.
This doesn’t necessarily need to all be suppliers who actively promote green products or services either - although this does obviously help. From small details like name badges and branded merchandise to larger elements such as the catering and technical equipment, each of these aspects can work to reduce the impact your event has on the environment.
When it comes to event branding and merchandise, favour suppliers who use recycled or recyclable materials in their products or invest more in creating evergreen branding that’s durable enough to be reused time and time again.
For catering, choosing a local supplier who also uses ingredients sourced from close by is a brilliant way to push forward your eco-friendly message - all while reducing transportation emissions and supporting the local community.
Go paperless with event marketing
For eco-friendly event organisers, traditional marketing methods of direct mailing, flyers and printed tickets should be avoided, or certainly kept to a minimum if you want to reduce the waste and carbon footprint surrounding your event. Instead, go paperless with your event marketing - and with the advances in event technology, this is now much easier to achieve.
Utilise digital ticket platforms to both manage ticket sales leading up to the event and to implement seamless admission for attendees on the day. To promote your upcoming event you can also harness the power of email and social media marketing - that’s all paperless! From regular teaser tweets to email campaigns with special offers for early bookings, nowadays there are plenty of ways to push forward your sales message in a more targeted way without wasting precious paper.
Go green with event planning
The same principle applies with paperless planning for your event. There’s no doubt that with multiple facets to manage, keeping track of everything can be tough without a hard copy, but you can do more for the planet by making use of cloud-based event management software.
With everything in one place that’s accessible on different devices by different users, event planning technology has the potential to make the whole organising process more transparent and more efficient. It can also provide instant real-time data on every aspect of your event, from the early planning stages to the big day - giving you greater capability to be proactive rather than reactive.
You can further improve your carbon footprint by considering swapping physical planning meetings in favour of virtual ones if people aren’t necessarily all in the same location at the same time.
No green event would be complete without active recycling programmes in place. Whether it’s during the event or the clean up afterwards, be sure to advocate recycling and reusing as many things as you possibly can.
For instance, during the event steer clear of using disposable products such as plastic cups and cutlery. Also, encourage attendees to recycle rubbish with appropriate signage and ensuring there are recycle bins next to general waste bins - that way, things like the inevitable plastic bottles and cans won’t end up in a landfill.
For the post event clean up, consider donating leftover food or unused materials to suitable charities and let your invitees know about this programme, too. Knowing that you’re doing all you can to reduce event waste not only benefits the planet, but this selfless act also works as a valuable marketing tool for your brand.
In terms of the physical clean up, ensuring vendors and your own team are supplied with storage containers like quality cardboard boxes made from recycled material for packing up items will put an additional eco-conscious stamp on the event as a parting message.
Whether you’re hosting a corporate networking event or a small-scale product launch, we hope this guide provides you with the right know-how to pull off a successful event that puts the planet first, while still meeting your own objectives.
Alex Jones is a content creator for Kendon Packaging. Now one of Britain's leading packaging companies, Kendon Packaging has been supporting businesses nationwide since the 1930s