The events industry is no stranger to change. Updates to technology, pop culture, and design are constantly translated into awe-inspiring events that bring people closer together. It should come as no surprise that the events industry is staying up to date with environmental stewardship. In recent years, we have seen event managers, venues, and vendors implementing robust plans to improve the green aspect of events. Clients and end customers have also taken on a role, both in demanding eco-friendly events and driving our industry to deliver them. Here are a few ideas to help make your next event more environmentally conscious.
Catering companies, AV firms, floral designers, and everyone in between are adopting environmentally sound business practices. However, it is important to start a dialogue with vendors early on. Let them know you and your client are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of the event. Set clear goals and standards. These can range from using compostable printed materials to using flowers sourced from Fair Trade Alliance growers. Your AV firm can provide LED stage lighting to reduce power consumption and heat emission. Catering companies can source local, seasonal, and organic ingredients to craft your menu. It’s important to note that you should never just accept lip service when it comes to fulfilling your green goals. Vendors who are truly dedicated to doing business that benefits the world will rise to the occasion and help you meet your goals!
The easiest way to reduce the environmental impact of your next event is to choose a venue that is centrally accessible to your core audience. Reducing the distance each of your attendees must travel will reduce your event’s carbon footprint. Many major venues have instituted new environmental standard teams to work with event planners. These teams not only understand the intricacies of planning an event in their venues but understand how to leverage their venue to keep your event green. Major hotels and convention centers have embarked on the LEED certification process for their infrastructure. As a LEED certified building, HVAC systems, power use, and water use are purposefully designed to minimize environmental impacts. Selecting a LEED certified venue is easier than you may think. Most venues proudly advertise their certification as a point of pride.
Just as you communicated your environmental goals to your vendors and venue, you should also clearly advertise these goals to your guests. Printed invitations can be substituted for electronic invitations. Not only will this save a tree or two, but it will make your guest list easier to manage. Once registered, let guests know that the event they are attending is “going green”. Encourage guests to minimize their environmental impact by using public transportation to get to the venue. Make it easy for your guests to get involved by providing access to water refilling stations and let them know to bring their own refillable bottle. Printed collaterals like programs can be substituted for event apps, these apps also allow you to push out notifications and changes as they may be needed. Waste collection should include clearly marked bins that allow guests to compost, recycle plastic, and recycle other products. Post event, follow up with your guests and let them know about the results of the event’s environmental outcomes.
Going green is easy to do! Vendors are ready to work with you, event spaces are boldly showing off their LEED certifications, and guests are ready to be engaged with best practices. Next time you plan an event make sure you invite the environment.