Going to host a marketing event for your business? Why not give Mother Earth a helping hand by making your event more eco-friendly?
Make no mistake – when you care, people do notice your efforts. From the digitization of tickets to choosing an eco-friendly event venue, there are so many ways you can keep up with the consumer demand for eco-friendly event options.
In this article, we will discuss sustainable event ideas to make your next corporate event environmentally friendly.
Why An Eco-Friendly Event?
The demand for sustainable events and conscious consumerism has accelerated over the last couple of decades due to the ever-growing concern about climate and environmental change. More consumers and millennials are choosing to support brands that are committed to sustainability.
You have to put in conscious effort to create events that have a reduced environmental footprint. Creating greener events can be a challenge for event professionals.
Moreover, along with the benefits to the environment, there are strategic business reasons for going green as well. Not only will it improve your business’s positive image and reputation, but it will also help you save money.
For instance, if you go with a mobile event app, it will save you hundreds of dollars on printing costs.
You want to provide a rich, enchanting, personalized attendee experience and also ensure that the event meets the sustainability targets.
This is a tough balance to maintain. The event’s carbon footprint is affected by most of the major aspects of your event such as food, event space, travel, etc.. What should you do to host a successful green event? By following the green event practices mentioned below!
DON’T Use Single-Use Plastic
When it comes to disposable plastic, most of them are hard to recycle and are a nightmare for waste management companies. The amount of plastic cups, straws, plates, etc. that are thrown in the trash at a corporate event is jaw-dropping.
Instead of using plastic spoons and straws, go with compostable plant-based or bamboo-based ones. If there are water stations at your event, install reusable cups there. Instead of bottled water, you should keep water pitchers as one of the eco-friendly options.
DON’T Overdo the Food
According to the stats given by the UN, the food waste per day in rich countries is nearly equal to the total food produced in poor African countries. Not only is excess food a humanitarian concern, but it causes global warming as well when it goes to the landfill and produces greenhouse gases.
Moreover, all that food will cause a strain on your budget as well. Keep in mind that you are not feeding the entire town – you just need to feed the people who are attending your event. Plan your menu according to the estimated number of event attendees.
As part of the event planning, get an accurate guest count. Don’t fall victim to the fear of having a food shortage. Use local food vendors and in case you fall short of food, you can always make emergency arrangements with them.
Smart buffet service will not only increase attendee satisfaction but will also limit food wastage. You can also opt for plated menus if you don’t want to have a buffet-style service.
DON’T Throw Away All The Extra Food
Furthermore, it is a good option to partner with local food donation programs so that if there is leftover food from your event, it will not go to waste. Look for alternative options such as compost creation, livestock feeding, food waste for industrial energy, etc. as well.
Not overdoing the food, and not letting the extra food go to waste will not only save you big bucks but will have city-wide or even country-wide benefits in the long-term. Opt for finger foods as part of your sustainability efforts.
DON’T Use Cheap Plasticware
No plastic plates, plastic utensils, or plastic spoons. Say no to anything plastic – it will simply create a huge pile of unmanageable rubbish that will do no good to anyone. For catering, it is better to use metal utensils or china tableware that you can wash and reuse.
If using china or other crockery isn’t possible, you should go with biodegradable options. There are various choices when it comes to biodegradable tableware with a low carbon impact which will help make your event carbon neutral.
There are biodegradable plastics made from plants, corn oil, orange peels, etc. that break down pretty easily. You can opt for them instead.
DO Go Digital
From business cards to paper pamphlets, corporate events are littered with paper. One of the best climate-friendly event strategies is to go digital and use sustainable event management software.
Use mobile event apps, webinars, online media kits, etc. to streamline the meeting information flow. You can create an event website and highlight the speakers and session details, provide important info and updates, etc.
Moreover, you can notify the attendees of any last-minute changes online. From asking the attendees to fill online registration forms to sending them follow-up emails and feedback surveys, you can go green by going digital!
Instead of handing out paper brochures, get the email addresses of your attendees and create an email list and email subscription offers for the upcoming climate-friendly events as well. You can leverage your social channels to create brand awareness in a greener way.
Simply create an event page on the social media platforms along with a community board to increase audience engagement.
DO Eco-Friendly Event Giveaways
Branded swag items do increase brand awareness, but you shouldn’t let them become a burden on the event’s massive carbon footprint. The promotional merchandise like key chains, pens, bottles, T-shirts, etc. ends up in landfills.
We recommend that you go with eco-friendly gifts such as recycled materials such as notebooks, reusable tote bags, reusable branded cups and mugs, eco-friendly USBs, recycled backpacks, etc.
Moreover, instead of getting individually wrapped cookies or candies, event planners can order batches of macarons, cookies, etc. It will have a positive impact on the environment and your budget.
DO Encourage Public Modes of Transport, Not Personal
Another major area that can have environmental impacts on your event’s sustainability is eco-friendly transportation. If most of the attendees come to your event on private vehicles, the carbon footprint of the event will automatically increase.
Instead, you should offer a shuttle service to reduce carbon emissions. You can rent a few buses or vans to run certain routes for your event. Announce the pickup location on social media so that the attendees would know about them beforehand.
You can email them a detailed map that will contain the pickup locations, bus routes, train routes, etc. Create incentives for attendees who come via public transportation such as discounts on services and goods, special swag, store credit, etc. You can incentivize carpooling as well.
DO Advertise That You Have An Eco-Friendly Event
One of the major reasons for hosting a green event is to win the hearts and minds of the attendees.
Promote and share your sustainable practices. This will be good PR for your business and will support, as well as a possible increase in sales for your company.
DO Enforce Recycling
By recycling materials, the amount of energy and emissions to create a new product are reduced significantly. Some sort of waste is inevitable at events. However, you need to make it easy for the guests and attendees to recycle.
Place color-coded bins in different places around the meeting space. Moreover, you should select suppliers who use recyclable materials or compostable packaging. Recycle the beverage containers, aluminum cans, food, etc.
Put up easy to view signage at your event so that attendees would know about the recycling process. Share various recycling stories on your event website. Follow the principle of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and you will be good to go!
DO Choose an Eco-Friendly Event Venue
A green event venue plays a major role in deciding whether it will be eco-friendly or not. You will be using their water, their catering, their energy, etc. so the venue plays a role indeed.
You can validate the credentials of the green venues by asking them to show the certification for sustainable meetings such as ISO 20121. Even if some venues don’t have this certification, ask them questions and gauge how much invested they are in green initiatives.
For instance, a venue can have portable composting toilets, in-house recycling event programs, onsite waste management systems, etc. Check if the venue is centrally located and has easy access to public transport or not.
Final Word With Eco-Friendly Events
This world is our home and we have to take care of it by going down a greener road in all aspects of our lives. Hosting eco-friendly events will not keep the consumers happy and the earth safe, but it will also save you a lot of money.
Hopefully, the above-mentioned tips will help you go green.