While conferences like ‘The World Sustainable Development Summit 2023’ and World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED) are becoming talk of the town, how can we refrain from discussing sustainable events? After all, the events industry is responsible for 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: United Nations Environment Programme)
Events, whether they are B2C events, B2B Events, festivals, or concerts, have a significant impact on the environment for all the obvious reasons. Events generate waste, consume energy and water, and contribute to carbon emissions. Talking about corporate events in particular, companies have started to recognize the importance of reducing their environmental footprint and minimizing their impact on the planet.
No wonder sustainable event planning is becoming increasingly popular! The concept of eco friendly event planning involves the integration of sustainable practices throughout all stages of the event planning process, including design, production, operation, and post-event evaluation.
Principles of Event Sustainability:
The Events Industry Council (EIC) gave 4 Principles for Sustainable Events as a roadmap for event planners:
1. Event organisers and suppliers share responsibility for implementing and communicating sustainable practices to their stakeholders.
2. Basic environmental practices include:
• Conservation of resources, including water, energy and natural resources
• Waste management
• Carbon emissions reduction and management
• Supply chain management and responsible purchasing
• Biodiversity preservation
3. Basic social considerations include:
• Universal human rights
• Community impacts
• Labour practices
• Respect for culture
• Safety and security
• Health and well-being
4. Sustainable events support thriving economic practices through:
• Collaboration and partnerships
• Local support, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
• Stakeholder participation
• Equitable economic impact
• Responsible governance
Before we move on to discuss how you can deliver sustainable events, there is a common myth that needs to be debunked. It is usually believed that sustainable events are only possible when you have a big budget. Well, on the contrary, sustainable event management can help save you a lot of money.
Implementing energy-efficient practices and waste reduction strategies can lead to lower energy bills and waste management costs. Moreover, sustainable events can attract new sponsors who are interested in supporting environmentally responsible events.
Here are some green event ideas that will make a huge difference:
REDUCING LANDFILL WASTE
1. Choosing Sustainable Venues:
You must look for venues that have a commitment to sustainability, such as those that have been certified by sustainability organizations, use renewable energy, or have efficient water and waste management practices. If possible, host your events outdoors!
2. Using Eco-Friendly Décor/ Branding:
You should opt for eco-friendly décor. For instance you can replace flex with recycled materials or fabric.
REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS
1. Reducing Transportation Emissions:
You can incentivize your attendees to use public transportation or carpool to the event. You must ensure that you hold the event in a central location to reduce travel time and emissions.
2. Virtual and Hybrid Event Platforms:
One of the most effective sustainable event ideas that is rising in popularity is hybrid/ virtual event marketing. Since participation in such events is remote/ partially remote, the need for travel and associated carbon emissions is reduced considerably.
3. Live Streaming and Recording:
By live streaming and recording events, you can extend the life of the event. This will reduce the environmental impact by reducing travel, minimizing waste, lowering energy usage, and increasing access.
REDUCING PAPER WASTE
1. Event Registration and Check-in Software:
The Green Meeting Industry Council estimates that the average conference attendee generates 1.89 kilograms (4.17 pounds) of waste per day, of which about 25% is paper waste. Using digital registration and check-in software (with QR codes) can eliminate the need for paper-based systems to a huge extent.
2. QR Codes:
While QR codes can be a useful tool in making the check-in process paperless, they can also be can be placed on signs or banners to direct attendees to digital signage. Further, they can be used by attendees to access additional information or participate in a game/ contest or provide feedback.
REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION
1. LED Lighting and Energy-efficient Equipment:
Using LED lighting and energy-efficient equipment can significantly reduce energy consumption. This includes using solar-powered generators, energy-efficient projectors, speakers, and other AV equipment. An easy way to figure this out is to choose items that are Energy Star-rated.
2. RFID and NFC Technology:
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and NFC (Near Field Communication) are two related technologies that allow data to be transmitted wirelessly. At events, they can be used for access control and facilitating cashless payments. These technologies can also be used to track attendee and exhibitor movements at events, facilitate interactive experiences for attendees, track session attendance and provide real-time session data.
Now that you know how you can deliver sustainable events, we would like to wrap up the blog by stating why sustainable event management is essential for success. If you make sustainability an important part of your event strategy, your events are more likely to gain support and loyalty from attendees, sponsors, and stakeholders. Moreover, sustainability in events can also help to promote a positive brand image for your business as it demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship.
Being in the event industry for 25+ years, we at Channel Technologies, have seen this shift towards sustainability up close. If you’re looking for a physical, virtual or hybrid event agency in India, one that can help you execute the event end-to-end while following the principles of event sustainability, contact us!