Regardless of your event size—from street fairs to board meetings or anything in between—there are simple steps you can take to drastically reduce the negative impact your party has on the environment. With sustainability and social responsibility top of mind these days there is tremendous opportunity to make any high-profile event a platform for increasing public awareness about eco-friendly alternatives available and the importance of recycling.
From paper trails to transportation, all the elements needed for an event can pile up. To reduce your carbon footprint, here are seven ideas that can help to plan your next event in an eco-friendly way:
1. Make a plan.
It’s important to remember that switching to a more sustainable event will take planning, time and if done poorly, can end up costing excess money. Develop a strong to-do list, checkpoints and deadlines for results by a creating a timeline. At the end of the day, jumping on the sustainable event trend is going to take strong management skills and time. Be patient, collect your resources, ask for feedback and give yourself enough time to meet your deadlines.
2. Communicate your green message.
By sharing and promoting your eco-friendly actions, you can promote environmental sustainability and encourage others to make green choices in their everyday lives as well.
3. Get digital when it makes sense.
Reconsider how you are making an impact with potential attendees. Instead of mailing out invites or memos, create an event page, app or an email subscription. Look to infuse digital components like your website, blog or social channels that’ll keep your attendees connected and informed, without paper waste. It also allows them to share your updates, event information and content with others all over the world, building your audience and reach for your events while increasing engagement.
4. Make your venue a green choice.
Choosing an eco-friendly venue is a great way to get ahead. From their green roofs down to their black water treatment facilities, today’s leading event venues are not just great spaces for amazing experiences, they’re sustainable, too. Green venues often cover a lot of the legwork when it comes to environmentally conscious suppliers. Go local when possible to further reduce your footprint. Depending on how progressive your city is, you may have plenty of eco-friendly options available. But no matter where you host, and outdoor set up is about as green as it gets!
Host like it’s 1899 with candlelight, tents and eco-friendly DIY decorations.
5. Consider your comings and goings.
Incorporate eco-friendly transportation options into your events, and offer incentives for attendees to use them. Coordinate ride sharing for event attendees or encourage eco-friendly vehicles. As incentives, provide a bike valet, bus passes or free parking for those who carpool or drive hybrid or electric vehicles. You can even provide small prizes for those who choose green transportation. While not all attendees will take advantage of these options, those that do will appreciate the effort.
6. Recycling needs to be the standard, not an afterthought.
One of the biggest reasons why people toss recyclable materials into regular trash cans is because they can't find a proper recycling unit. Since the event is being organized by you, it's your responsibility to make sure recycling bins are readily available all throughout the event space.
7. Let nature light your way.
Photographers call twilight the magic hour. Whenever possible, opt for natural light. Or, add a bit of drama and atmosphere with candles. Use them both as a centerpiece and strewn about the room. LEDs are another energy-efficient alternative to traditional incandescent light bulbs, which waste 90% of the energy they consume on heat.
Bonus idea: Organize a food rescue plan.
More than 50 million Americans are food insecure. More than 40 billion meals are wasted a year. Instead of adding to the waste, rescue would-be wasted food and deliver it to our food insecure neighbors.
The Events Industry Council Sustainability Initiative has some great resources that provide recommendations on how to make your events even more environmentally and socially responsible.
Take a little time to consider and implement environmentally-savvy options for events. By choosing to go green at your events, your brand shows attendees the choices you’re making and brings them in on the positive changes they’re affecting. This will create positive affinity for your brand, creating stronger brand advocates as a result. By influencing and encouraging your attendees to implement sustainable practices into their own lives, your brand will leave an impact on the environment that will last long after the event is over. Learn how new generations in the workforce are inspiring other wellness trends within events.