Eco-Friendly Events: A Guide to Planning a Sustainable Corporate Gathering

Sustainability might be the last thing on your mind when planning a successful event. Of course, you’d first look for venues and partners that’ll best suit your budget and event needs. Finding a green location or reducing food waste and packaging isn’t necessarily a priority for some. 

But environmental sustainability in events isn’t just a trend — it’s a responsibility and a movement in its own right. There has been a growing concern over the far-reaching effects of pollution and climate change. These phenomena urge more brands and organisations to adopt an eco-friendly approach in many of their activities, including events. 

Aside from helping with environmental protection, sustainable event planning also benefits your brand in many other ways. For one, cutting down on waste means cutting down on cost too. You can also create positive brand awareness and attract a larger crowd.

Hop into the go-green movement and make your future events more eco-friendly and sustainable. In this article, we’ll list down simple steps you can take to plan an environmentally friendly event. 

1. Hire sustainability-minded partners and vendors

After making sustainability a priority in the pre-planning stages, the next step is to hire partners who are on board with your sustainability goals. Think about decoration vendors that use recycled materials or caterers that adopt certain practices to reduce food waste. 

Ask them about their event sustainability practices. If you can’t find event partners that already have a proactive sustainability approach, take that as an opportunity to engage them in your eco-friendly efforts. Work closely with them to make sure all materials won’t go to waste. 

2. Patronise green venues

5 Tips for a Successful Outdoor Event

What makes a green event venue? Ideally, you want to find a location that harnesses renewable energy or utilises energy efficiency solutions. You may also check if the venue holds any sustainable certificates from third-party organizations like LEED, Green Key, or Green Leaders.

Aside from these bright green flags, you may also consider the following factors: 

  • A conference venue located near the city centre with easy access to public transportation 

  • Event venues in cities that support sustainability initiatives.

  • Availability of outdoor events spaces and meeting rooms with large windows, encouraging the use of natural lighting and ventilation.

  • Venues equipped with energy-efficient systems and good waste management operations.

3. Minimise paper usage

Ditch paper-based marketing materials, invitations, tickets, and feedback forms. If your attendees are mostly tech-savvy, just make everything digital-based. Think about setting up digital ticketing, sending invitations via email or social media, using digital signs, and creating an event app for communicating essential information. 

If using paper is inevitable, the best thing you can do is opt for recycled or upcycled ones. 

4. Opt for sustainable catering

Sustainable Green Catering & Farm to Table Catering | Peppers Arftul Events

When hiring catering services, it’s not enough that you go for the ones that deliver the most delicious meals. It’s equally important to work with a catering partner with sustainable initiatives. 

  • Go for menus that use local and seasonal produce.

  • Order the correct amount of food.

  • Encouraging your attendees to take home leftovers using biodegradable packaging.

  • For on-site dining, skip disposables and go for reusable plates, glasses, and utensils. 

  • Support catering services with organic waste collection.

  • Avoid handing out plastic water bottles and individually wrapped items. Instead, place glasses and water pitchers or dispensers in the meeting space. 

5. Give out sustainable souvenirs

Eco-Friendly Conference Giveaway Ideas for Events | by Flohaan | Medium

Planning to give souvenirs that carry your brand’s identity? Make sure they’re practical, useful, and made from eco-friendly materials. You can also support local craftsmen that use sustainable materials like recycled cotton or bamboo. 

6. Plan for proper waste disposal

Sustainability In Events: Strategies For Reducing Waste And, 54% OFF

Effective waste management is key to eco-friendly event planning. You don’t just place a couple of trash bins throughout the venue and call it a day — those bins need to be labeled and placed properly. 

  • Determine the traffic flow of your event and place bins in convenient areas.

  • Label the garbage bins accordingly (organic, recyclable, hazardous, and general waste).

  • Not all people know which items are biodegradable or not, so make sure to accompany them with clear graphics. 

  • Collect multiple streams at one station.

7. Let everyone know about your sustainability goals

Involve everyone in the movement, from your team and third-party staff to the attendees themselves. Include this information in your event programs, invites, promotional materials, and social media. This helps generate buzz and encourages people to actively participate. 

8. Reduce your event’s carbon footprint

  • Plan an energy-efficient event. Opt for a daytime event at an outdoor space or use a function room with large windows to keep your lighting usage to a minimum. 

  • If possible, set up group transportation or carpooling options. 

  • Enable energy-saving features for light, IT equipment, and other electronics in meeting rooms

  • See if you can host a hybrid event to give attendees the option to participate virtually. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a passionate writer for Meet in DCU, a unique conference venue in Dublin that is perfect for corporate meetings, conferences, seminars, and events. Writing articles about travel and lifestyle is one thing she finds enjoyable, next to playing the piano.

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