Why sustainability should be built into events

Post by 
Elton Lee Hesketh

Why you should care about the sustainability of your events 

Sustainability isn’t a new concept. It’s been around for years. But it has renewed vigour since the world watched how planet earth responded so beautifully to less pollution and emissions while everyone was forced to stay at home. 

Sustainability is the idea of living within the limits of our resources so we can continue to live comfortably without depleting the planet’s natural resources or harming animals and people. It sounds like something only hippies care about, but more people care about it now than ever before. The Kearney Earth Day Consumer Sentiments Survey revealed that 48% of people are more concerned about sustainability than they were before the pandemic. 

Here's why you should care about building sustainability into your events.

It’s how your attendees want you to host your events

People that care about the environment expect the brands they support to care about it too.  Millennials are the biggest segment of today’s workforce, making them the biggest pool of meetings and event attendees. They expect the events they attend to be environmentally friendly, and that the organisers care about the environment.

When they arrive at your event and see that you've made an effort to reduce your environmental impact, they'll feel good about themselves for supporting a company that cares about the environment, and they'll be more likely to support your brand in other ways. 

But millennials aren’t the only reason why sustainability should matter to you. Your company does business with companies that have green ambitions. They’re more likely to attend events and do business with brands that share their values. If you make sustainability a priority, you could unearth more opportunities for sponsorship.

Sustainable events are better for the environment 

Climate change is happening and it’s happening fast. You might think that your event is just a drop in the ocean and that your efforts to go green will make little difference. But here’s the thing; if we all do our part to reduce the environmental impact of our events, we can have a positive impact on the planet. 

Here are just some of the ways sustainable events are good for the environment:

Waste is minimised 

A lot of waste gets produced during an event, ranging from food scraps and plastic bottles to printed materials and more. When you think about it, most of the waste generated by an event is recyclable or compostable paper plates, cups, food scraps, etc. There are ways to reduce waste with reusable and recyclable items. 

Energy use is reduced

Events typically involve lots of lighting and sound equipment that use electricity, which creates carbon emissions when burned by power plants. By taking steps to reduce this energy consumption, you can take a load off the energy load of your event, and ultimately the environment. 

Carbon emissions are lower

Did you know that on average, an attendee at a conference produces about 170 kilograms of CO2 emissions per day? That’s according to a study by MeetGreen. For many events that happen outdoors or in large spaces like convention centres or stadiums, carbon emissions from transportation are also a big concern.

Water is saved

A lot of water is used during events and conferences for drinking; washing hands, cutlery and utensils; food preparation, and flushing toilets. Building water-wise practices into how you plan and host your events can help save water, a scarce and precious natural resource. 

Sustainable events are part of broader green goals 

Let's face it: most companies have some sort of sustainability goals. Whether they're working to reduce their carbon footprint, trying to use less paper, recycle more, save electricity, or save money. If you’ve green goals, your event should be green too. By building sustainability into your events, you’re aligning them with the values of your brand.  

Some companies have made it their mission to run only sustainable events, while others simply incorporate sustainability into their event management practices by using waste reduction strategies and sourcing materials from sustainable sources. 

It’s easy to do

Sustainable events are not some mystical, elusive idea. They’re part of a movement that’s been gathering traction in the last few years. There are plenty of ways to reduce your event footprint, from waste management and energy efficiency to sourcing local food and reducing plastic use. Here are ten ways you can build sustainability into your next event.

Start by knowing what your options are, and work with people who share your green vision and can help you implement it. The most important thing is for everyone involved at all levels of planning, execution, and evaluation to share the responsibility. 

If you want more advice on making your next event more sustainable, contact us.

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