Across the globe, countries and companies are making the move towards sustainable ways of living and working. With more and more stakeholders recognizing the need to take climate action, people are beginning to make green and sustainable choices, even in organizing special occasions and events to mark major life milestones.
Looking for some fun sustainable event ideas? Here are 10 practical steps to make your events more sustainable and eco-friendly.
What is Sustainability and Why should it matter for events?
Sustainability is the practice of responsible use of our natural resources so that they are conserved and made available for generations to come.
The Events Industry Council puts it succinctly: “Sustainability for events means taking action towards preserving our natural environment; promoting a healthy, inclusive society; and supporting a thriving economy.”
Sustainability is more than just a buzzword for companies. It's becoming an everyday lifestyle choice for people to contribute to environmental conservation.
Ready to go green? These 10 simple practices can make your event more sustainable and contribute to the global movement for environmental protection.
1. Know Your Impact
Before we can start on our journey towards sustainable event planning, it's good to know our baseline. We have to know how sustainable our events are to be able to strategize which practices to keep or discard.
We can start by considering the different ways our events impact the environment. Once we identify the practices that have negative impacts on the environment, we can then set attainable goals to go green. Integrate these into our event planning to create a more sustainable event management style.
2. Choose Sustainable Event Venues
We can make our events more sustainable by considering locations that offer green alternatives.
You may want to search for venues in your area that have environmental policies and a management system that ensures sustainability. For hotels and accommodations, a good tip would be to check for an environmental certification or any seal of approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or any equivalent authorized government agency.
In choosing the size of your event venue, it would also be wise to ensure that the space fits the crowd size just right. Larger event venues usually entail larger electricity consumption. Therefore, exerting extra effort to ensure the right fit will go a long way in saving energy.
You can always maximize your space by adjusting your event needs. Adjust the number of tables and chairs for each venue to make sure all your guests are accommodated. Add a dash of style to your sustainable party by using our affordable table runners and event chair covers. A simple and cheap way to make your space look polished is by adding event backdropss to the venue.
3. Reduce Carbon Footprint: Transport Considerations
Help your attendees reduce their carbon footprint by choosing a strategic location. You can start by choosing a venue that's close to the majority of your expected guests. If that's difficult to achieve, another way to ensure sustainability would be by simply choosing a venue that's accessible to eco-friendly transport, such as trains or other public utility vehicles. Integrate this into your sustainable management plan and help everyone cut back on carbon emissions.
4. Go Paperless
Cut back on wastage by going paperless in your events. Today, almost everyone will have a phone in their pocket.
Go paperless and engage your guests through online invitations or e-tickets. Maximize websites and mobile apps for your event invitations and activities. Create an online form for RSVPs or a landing page for all key information needed for your special occasion.
Instead of printing out your banner which will be thrown into the garbage the next day, why not use a projector to flash important greetings? This will also allow you to make animated banners for a lively touch. If a projector is difficult to access, you can always use erasable whiteboards or reusable signages among other sustainable event ideas.
5. Avoid Food Waste
One of the most common sources of wastage in events but also the most overlooked is food wastage.
Make sure to reduce packaging waste and food waste for a more sustainable event. The first step is to ensure environmentally friendly packaging. Go for minimal packaging for less waste and opt for biodegradable or recyclable containers.
Ensure optimal sustainability by sourcing your food from local growers of organic produce. You can also tailor your menu to suit your guests' palate and dietary restrictions to avoid wastage.
For your menu, you may also opt for plant-based meals. These often entail less carbon emissions to produce compared to meat products. Finally, for excess food, you can arrange to donate these to food banks or charities to make sure nothing gets wasted.
6. Use Overstock Linens and Bulk Linen Napkins
By selecting high-quality, durable linens in timeless styles, you ensure they can be reused for future events, thereby decreasing the need for new resources. This not only helps the environment, but also offers a cost-effective solution for event planners.
7. Opt for Burlap Tablecloths and Runners
Burlap, a sustainable and durable material, offers a unique and rustic charm to any event setting. By choosing burlap tablecloths, burlap table runners, and burlap table skirts, you're making a conscious decision to use biodegradable and eco-friendly materials.
This choice reflects a commitment to reducing environmental impact, as burlap is often made from natural fibers that are more easily renewable than synthetic alternatives. Additionally, burlap's robust nature means it can withstand multiple uses, further promoting sustainability.
8. Implement LED Neon Signs
Transition to LED neon signs for your event signage. LED lights are far more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional lighting options. This reduces both energy consumption and waste, aligning with sustainable practices. LED neon signs also offer versatility in design, allowing for creative and dynamic displays that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your event while being environmentally considerate.
9. Encourage Sustainable Event Management Practices
Foster a culture of sustainability within your event management team. This involves training staff in eco-friendly practices, such as waste reduction, energy efficiency, and sustainable sourcing. Encourage the team to think creatively about how to minimize the environmental impact of each event, from selecting eco-friendly vendors to implementing recycling and composting systems. Sustainable event management not only benefits the environment, but also sets a positive example for attendees and other stakeholders.
10. Promote Eco-Friendly Events Through Green Marketing
Use your green event as a platform to educate and inspire attendees about sustainability. This can be achieved through green marketing efforts such as informational displays, interactive workshops, or including segments that highlight the importance of environmental conservation.
Toward Sustainable Events Management
We've gone through the basic steps on how to make your events more sustainable simply by integrating greener choices into your sustainable event planning.
Whatever options you choose to make, you can be sure that each minor decision toward eco-friendly alternatives goes a long way in ensuring environmental conservation for all. For more tips on sustainable event management, click here. If you’re looking for a balance between style and sustainability, check out these design ideas from our YouTube and Pinterest accounts.