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Green events – Making your events more sustainable

We strive to live sustainably in our everyday lives, but we had become conscious that this was not always reflected in our events. We decided to readdress our sustainability policy to ensure we are being as green as possible in all areas of our event planning process. We asked ourselves, If we want to be green, where do we start? We used some of our discussion points to share with you our top tips on creating events with a positive environmental impact.

Venue Selection

Selecting a venue that reflects your sustainability objectives and also matches your event needs is often the first step in the process. Include in your search a check for venues that demonstrate a strong commitment to environmental practices or have international sustainability certificates. Then consider other practical elements such as, location to attendees to minimise travel distance or proximity to public transport options.

Energy Saving

It’s true that you often need a large amount of energy to power an event, so how can this be minimised? Firstly, selecting a venue with a large amount of natural light will reduce energy consumption. Sourcing energy efficient stage lighting as well as ensuring the lights and electrical equipment are switched off when not in use will also greatly reduce the amount of power used. In addition, try to use heating and air conditioning sparingly and use natural ventilation where possible. Any dead batteries/equipment can be sent to a recycling centre following the event.

Food & Beverage

One of the most simple options is to offer a more vegan/vegetarian menu. Make these items a focus rather than the meat dishes. Where possible, source catering from local food suppliers and choose foods that are fair-trade, ethically-produced, organic, freerange, or oceanwise/sustainable seafood certified. Plan catering requirements carefully to avoid unnecessary waste – consider attendee dropout and check what is the latest date you can specify numbers. Also, ensure the caterer can provide reusable or biodegradable plates/cutlery. For any unavoidable waste you can set up seperate bins for different types of recycling/compost, which can be effectively disposed of following the event. Any surplus food can often be donated or given out following the event, if measures are agreed beforehand.

Purchasing

This was an area that we felt we could really improve with some simple changes. Employing a minimalistic approach and only ordering the absolute essentials is a good start. When sourcing products, look for those that are made from recycled/sustainable materials and are reusable, minimally packaged, produced or purchased locally. In addition, try in bulk buying to decrease packaging. Aim for a paperless event; downloadable event literature instead of printed, online/event app event agenda, whiteboards instead of flip charts, digital signage instead of printed graphics, online surveys etc.

It’s inevitable that there will be some unavoidable emissions from travel to and from the venue and other event related activities. But that’s not to say these can’t be eliminated by implementing carbon offset procedures in the wider business.

We’re committed to implementing a more sustainable approach to event planning and we’d love to hear about any top tips you have for making events greener!

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