When you run an event, you know only too well how many resources are needed: there’s paper, badges and exhibiting marketing materials to think about — and that’s just the start! Then there’s energy use, including electricity and heating at the venue, not to mention the fuel for transporting staff and delegates.
With the UK events sector a billion pound industry, that’s a lot of resources and we could be using a lot less. The average conference attendee produces over 170 kilograms of CO2 emissions per day, according to research by MeetGreen. Can you believe that a three-day conference for 1000 people creates 5670 kilograms of waste, with more than a third of this ending up in landfill!
This tells us that there’s definitely more that can be done to cut down on waste and create more eco-friendly events. This topic is fast becoming a talking point for the events sector and event managers are asked to sit up and take note.
Why Does This Matter?
Being more eco-friendly will of course raise your brand’s reputation and work wonders for your PR. As consumers also become more eco-aware, they’re verging towards events taking eco-action. This will increase your engagement no end.
It can sound like a lot of extra work or costs to make your event more eco-friendly, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t need special apps or a high-tech appliance.
Here’s some simple and effective actions to get started with being more eco-friendly at your next event:
More venues are making an effort to be more environmentally-friendly. They recognise that this not only helps with the bigger picture of sustainability, but also with driving business and building new customers. It’s worth thinking about a venue that’s eco-friendly in different ways.
Venues, such as W12 Conferences, recycles all of its materials, has a goal to reduce its energy consumption by 15% and uses on-site boreholes for its water supply.
Ask the venue questions about how they’re environmentally-friendly. What waste management system does it have? What are the catering arrangements and where does it source its food?
The venue is a big part of your event and working with one that’s actively eco-friendly will go a long way.
Hold Your Event During Warmer Months
Holding your event in the warmer months means you won’t have to heat the venue. You may even be able to offer some outdoor space, cutting down even more on things like use of lighting.
Get Your Team
When planning your event, let your team know and ask them how you can be more eco-friendly. They may know of schemes or what other, similar events are doing in terms of sustainability. Getting your team involved in the process means that everyone will be working towards this new goal together. This is integral to your staff taking the initiative and promoting the green elements of your event to delegates and partners.
To boost your eco-friendliness, how about having a paper-free marketing campaign?
Create online campaigns targeting your audiences through social media channels, your email list and online outlets.
Let your audience know what you’re doing to be eco-friendly. Encourage delegates to go paper-free or provide them with a place to access virtual note-taking during conference sessions. Instead of banners, use digital media signage to promote your event programme and up-to-date news.
Your audience will get behind you in your eco-efforts when you communicate it in the right way. Sometimes, when companies tell their customers how sustainable they’re being, it can come across as a little self-indulgent and like it’s being used as a promotional tool to get more customers.
Let your audience know why sustainability is important to your brand or your business and the actions you’re taking. You can do this through personalised emails or by asking brand followers to be your ambassadors and to spread the word.
Freebies at your events more often than not consist of very similar items: coasters, pens, mugs, mini gadgets to help with everyday business.
If you can source freebies that can be recycled or that are made from recycled materials, you’ll go a long way in impressing your audience and holding their attention. Your brand will also show a strong consistency on the green theme.
Choosing a venue that has many transport links will help cut down on delegates driving. For those who need a car, you can provide an incentive them if they choose to car share?
At the Paléo Festival, as well as encouraging all attendees to use public transport or carshare, they also arrange a transport service for event-goers to get home together safely.
Throw-away coffee cups is not cool and contribute to the huge wastage in the events sector. Why not try using recyclable cups or bringing some mugs along to your event? Many events are aiming to go plastic-free by finding items made from other, more eco-friendly materials.
The DGTL Festival ins Amsterdam provides recyclable cups and encourages people to re-use their cups. It is also one of the first large European events to go completely meat-free. Provide recycling bins for different materials.
Many venues, corporate events and festivals are becoming more eco-friendly and there’s no reason why other types of events can’t try the same things.
Even just small steps like this will go a long and will be great for your business. Who knows? You may even have some of your customers thinking they need to act along the same lines and be the business to show others how it’s done.