How to “Green” Your Next Event

Posted on Posted in Conferences, Green

Environmental sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment and quite rightly should be, but how easy is it to make your event greener? Events have received bad press in the past for having a negative impact on the environment. However, with careful planning and consideration, events can be sustainable.

Here at Archer Yates we are Green Tourism Silver Accredited and work hard with clients to make sure the events we work on are as green as possible. Below are our top tips for making your event more environmentally sustainable.

Venue choice

  1. Choose a venue that has good public transport access, so delegates don’t all have to drive - often with only one person in the car. Make sure that there is clear information provided in advance on using public services so delegates can travel as efficiently (and stress free!) as possible.
  2. When searching for venues, ask them for their in-house environmental policy and assess what they do to make their business more sustainable. For example, how do they dispose of their waste? Do they have free to use water fountains? Make sure you tell them that’s why you’ve picked them and ask if there are more ways for them to help your event be greener.
  3. Use in-house equipment (e.g. staging, audio-visual) where possible. This can dramatically cut down on transportation and therefore CO2 emissions.
  4. Consider video conferencing and/or recording the event for wider access via internet.
  5. Where possible, select rooms with natural light and circulation. Not only is this better for the delegates, it also means less unnecessary electricity is used on lighting and air conditioning.

Catering Choices

  1. Catering companies and departments that have sustainability high on their agenda make sure food is sourced locally, is organic (where possible) and provenance is understood. When working with venues we’re always careful to request this information up front and work closely with the catering team to improve sourcing where achievable.
  2. Reducing food waste. Working in the event industry, running out of food can be an event planner’s worst nightmare but careful prep and an eye on delegate numbers can prevent excess waste. Make sure food choices have wide reaching appeal and a vegetarian option is not an afterthought.
  3. Reduce your plastic! Unless absolutely necessary, make sure you avoid disposable items when it comes to coffee and lunch. Get the venue to provide tap water and glasses and stay away from disposable cutlery. If you have to use disposable items, search for more sustainable options like bamboo, recycled materials and provide refillable water bottles to all delegates (a great sponsorship opportunity too!).
  4. Make sure the venue or catering company you’re working with uses Fairtrade products where possible.

Marketing and Promotion (pre, during and post event)

Pre-Event

  1. Use email lists and social media where you can but if printing is necessary, source a printing company that has good green credentials. Make sure printing is double sided and printed on recycled or FSC paper.

During the Event

  1. Consider using an app rather than a delegate pack full of lots of bits of paper. This prevents mass distribution of handouts and gives delegates the option to download papers from the app or via a link.
  2. If you are providing physical delegate packs, give these to delegates when they register on arrival – not beforehand – to avoid duplication.
  3. Use re-usable name badges and minimise the amount of accessorise that are harmful to the environment such plastic wallets. If you must giveaway pens, then make sure they are made of recycled, and recyclable, materials – another great sponsorship opportunity.
  4. Promote energy and water efficiency to participants. Here at Archer Yates we make sure venues have clear signage to waste and recycling bins as well as water fountains for refilling bottles.

Post event

  1. Send out feedback questionnaires via email not post and include questions relating to the sustainability of the event. This allows you to see how you can improve future events. For example, asking delegates how they got to the event and why they chose that transport method gives valuable insight into whether public transport was used.

How do you make sure your events are environmentally sustainable?