There’s no denying that event sustainability is a trend that is here to stay. It is now more important than ever for event planners to adopt a responsible approach to creating and managing events that seek to reduce, as much as possible, the negative impact that hosting an event - large or small - can have on social, economic and environmental elements.
The process of designing and implementing a sustainable event also gives event planners the opportunity to communicate the sustainability message with their audience and help educate and influence their long-term behaviours.
Although this shift may seem like a challenging task, the reasons for creating a sustainable event are persuasive. Let’s explore some together…
Positive Brand Exposure
Today, there is no escaping the fact that businesses have to be seen to be operating in a socially responsible way, and there is no exception when it comes to the planning and execution of your next event.
Sticking your head in the sand and pretending that event sustainability is something you can ignore, could damage your brand reputation and the way in which stakeholders perceive the ethos of your entire organisation. This could lead to further repercussions such as: loss of custom, reduced profits and visible negative backlash that is hard to shake – all destroying the original positive strategic objectives of your event.
Demonstrating that your company is taking steps to green their events will not only help protect the brand from unwanted attention but can also open up new avenues and opportunities in relation to additional income streams and being able to support wider philanthropic initiatives.
Creating a sustainable event isn’t an easy challenge, but it can certainly be a worthwhile approach. Reassessing the way you plan events can also unveil some great new ways to working, which can help to enhance delegate engagement:
Cutting out paper: going paperless requires the adoption of new and existing technology and can help connect with delegates pre, during and post event in a more personalised way. Think, well thought out email campaigns delivering exclusive and entertaining event content; harnessing social media as a means of widely communicating important event information; in-event apps that give event participants the chance to digitally network before the event, whilst providing real-time event information; considering digital signage as a replacement to paper or card-based signs.
Creating a hybrid event and introducing live-streaming coverage can also help connect your event with those who are geographically too far away to attend. Instead of encouraging them to fly in or commute, offer them the chance to watch from their location. There are digital event solutions available that not only stream but give viewers the opportunity to engage in live Q&As and event polls. As well as helping to contribute to the green credentials of your event, the use of this technology can present a way in which to generate extra revenue through ticket sales for those attending virtually.
Food preferences: look to source locally produced foods for your event, not only can this contribute to the sustainability mission but it can create another unique element of your event that creates a talking point.
Spark conversations with creative serving ideas. Do your research and serve food and drinks in materials that can be reused or recycled rather than just thrown away – it doesn’t have to be boring.
Waste management – develop initiatives and activities that invite delegates to get more involved in the recycling process; giving them the opportunity to feel good about their contribution to sustainability – it always feels good to do good so connect that powerful emotion with your brand.
Managing waste responsibly through every part of your event is a must. Find out how waste will be disposed of after your event ends and make sure all the good work you’ve done during the event won’t be undone by the end method of waste disposal.
Looking After the Planet Can Make Event Savings
Carefully planning every individual element of the event with a sustainable mindset can highlight where there are excesses in resource that aren’t required.
Food and beverages – try to nail down numbers as early as possible to avoid over spending on food and drink. However, it’s not always an easy task to accurately cater for delegates, as drop outs are inevitable and you don’t want to under order and risk there not being enough to go around.
Creating a contingency plan for food and drink overs is therefore a good plan of action. There are many programs now available where food and beverages can be donated; providing the perfect solution – you have food and drink aplenty and get to contribute to the wider community whilst reducing needless waste.
AV – talk to your AV team about the equipment being used and discuss the options available to reduce energy waste without compromising on overall impact.
Sponsorship partnerships – your sustainability attitude may attract potentially lucrative sponsorship partners to your event. Establishing these kinds of relationships may not only save you money but make you money. The right sponsors on-boarded for the right reasons can also help add credibility to your event and your overall brand.
Of course, there are most likely other lines in the budget that can be adapted to suit the sustainability cause, and whilst not all will save budget (in some cases it may add to it) considered in the wider context there’s surely more to gain than to lose by adopting a responsible planning approach…don’t you agree?
Issues pertaining to the premise of sustainability are likely to matter to many of your delegates already, but many will not be as aware or have been educated as to its importance. Without taking a preaching stance, a sustainably run event gives your business a platform to showcase by unique and innovative methods the importance of sustainability; a powerful legacy that can live long after the event ends, filtering out beyond the walls of your venue and into the individual lives of event participants.
Taking some time to understand the positive impact of creating sustainable events is worth doing and can really open your eyes to the multitude of options available when searching for ways of greening your event.
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and create a sustainable event then In2Events can work with you to make your endeavour a reality. We work with your business collaboratively to understand your requirements and provide relevant solutions that don’t compromise on attendee experience or the impact of your brand message. Delivering amazing events that meet and exceed expectations is what we do. Call today on: 02392 320 581 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org