Events Sustainability: Tips for Reducing Environmental Impact
Thursday, August 9, 2018
By Bev Ridyard
ILEA members and events industry professionals know it’s important to consider the impact live events can have on the environment. According to the United Nations, events “can leave a significant environmental footprint — through consuming energy and water, generating waste, polluting the air and water, and contributing to climate change by creating greenhouse gas emissions.” Sustainability has become a critical element of event planning as environmental concerns populate the headlines. For as pressing as events sustainability is, it presents significant challenges for event planners, particularly when it comes to budget, efficiency and design.
Through sharing ideas, solutions and innovations, the events industry can come together to make sustainability a key driver of all events, further minimizing waste and consumption. Positive Impact Events, a not-for-profit focused on providing education, resources and inspiration for a sustainable events industry, shares some smart advice for reducing environmental impact.
How many of these are you already doing, and how else can you reduce the environmental footprint of your events?
10 Ways to Enhance Events Sustainability
Use sustainable event checklists.
Using sustainable event checklists will help provide event professionals with clear and effective recommendations to ensure best practices within the event.
Giving your team the opportunity to plan with a sufficient amount of time will help minimize potential negative impacts. For example, more time to receive delegates response rates will help reduce food waste.
Effective communication will allow stakeholders to understand the impact of sustainability on events. Communicating easy actions for delegates to follow may also lead to behavioral change.
Make the right choices from the beginning.
We all know choosing a location, venue, catering and all the other aspects of the event process can be difficult. Make event sustainability easier for yourself by choosing the right suppliers. If they are implementing change through the triple bottom line, the first steps have already been taken.
Report on your sustainable events.
Reporting on your sustainable events will enable you to see the positives, learn lessons and improve for the next time. Communicating reports can also motivate staff, gain trust from stakeholders and save money through increased monitoring.
Implement voluntary commitments.
By implementing voluntary measures, you show initiative, and the brand presents a competitive advantage. For example, estimating greenhouse gases (GHS), planning to reduce GHS and offsetting GHS is one of the ways to do this.
Specify minimum percentages.
Identifying minimum percentages of resources used at events promotes good practice. For example, a minimum percentage of locally sourced food.
Ask suppliers for their environmental management measures.
Being confident in your suppliers and communicating their measures is essential to knowing your event is sustainable. You could also create selection criteria for suppliers.
Choose your resources wisely.
Make sure resources such as paper are 100 percent recyclable and sourced ethically, and the electricity used is generated from renewable energy sources. Small things make a huge difference.
Use certified suppliers and venues.
Suppliers and venues who are certified by sustainable organizations have gone beyond expectations of the industry; association with them will make you favorable to stakeholders and delegates.
These are just some of the ways you can plan to reduce waste and energy at your events. Visit positiveimpactevents.com for more inspiration today.
Bev Ridyard is the marketing manager at Positive Impact events, a not-for-profit organization with the aim of creating a sustainable event industry through the provision of education, resources and inspiration for our global community.