It’s getting easier, being green
Sustainability is a hot topic across all areas of business, and there’s no getting round the fact that that meetings and events have a carbon impact.
With an ever-increasing amount of scrutiny over carbon footprints, running a successful event while remaining “green” might seem like a difficult feat.
But the meetings and events industry is rising to meet this challenge and, thankfully, it’s becoming easier to remain environmentally conscious while running events.
Here’s some top tips to consider when planning a sustainable event…
Businesses are looking for ways to reduce and mitigate their environmental impact, and they are turning to technology to help them do so.
There are a number of ways that technology can be used to make meetings and events more sustainable. For example, businesses can use video conferencing to reduce the need for travel. They can also use green power and recycled materials at their events, and, by using technology to accurately assess any unavoidable carbon impact, can then offset where appropriate.
By taking steps to reduce their environmental impact, businesses can help to protect the planet and make the meetings and events that they run more sustainable.
Of course, aside from its use in helping sustainability, technology plays an increasingly important role across the industry. Businesses are using technology to improve the attendee experience, make events more efficient, and reduce costs.
A good events management partner can also help you understand how to make the best use of tech to reduce and control your carbon impact.
Virtual and hybrid
Virtual and hybrid events have been on the rise in recent years, and along with the pandemic, sustainability is one of the core reasons for this.
Running virtual and hybrid events allows you to reach wider audiences and reduces or removes the need for a number of carbon-hungry resources such as venue space, travel and food & beverage.
However, don’t forget that virtual events also have some disadvantages. They can be less interactive than in-person events, and they can be more difficult to build relationships with other attendees.
Hybrid events bring the two worlds together with the option to attend face to face or online giving full flexiblity to attendees. Of course, they also require a well-structured approach to plan and need particular attention on ensuring a cohesive attendee experience regardless of the preferred form.
Food and beverage
It’s well documented that the things you choose to eat and drink have a direct impact on carbon emissions.
Vegan and vegetarian options often provide less carbon intensive options, thanks to the huge part that intensive animal agriculture plays in the release of damaging greenhouse gases and vegetation decline. In fact, many people who now consider themselves either vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian do so because of their carbon footprint.
If you carry this through into the food & beverage options that you provide for your event, you should look for suppliers who are able to demonstrate their carbon credentials… it’s no good choosing a veggie option that’s actually made up of a range of vegetables that have been flown in from all around the world.
Offering locally sourced produce is probably your best bet in order to keep the carbon impact low, which leads us on to…
Suppliers and materials
Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your environmental impact is only as good as your supply chain.
If you want to truly keep your events’ environmental impact low (or offset it entirely) then you need to know what the impact of your entire supply chain is. That’s everyone from your caterers (see above!) to your entertainment, venue, logistics, stand builders and so on.
Only with all the information in hand can you effectively claim that your events’ carbon impact (or neutrality!)… and people are aware of this fact – so be prepared and don’t try to “get away with it”! Part of this is understanding what materials are used for everything across your event.
As with your F&B, using locally produced and recycled materials will reduce your impact lower and help you meet your sustainability goals.
Regardless of how much effort you put into being as sustainable as possible, you can’t run an event without causing some carbon output. That’s where offsetting can come in.
If you can accurately calculate your carbon impact (including the impact of your suppliers, see above!) then – and only then – can you consider offsetting.
You’ll need to work with a third party to understand how best to approach offsetting the leftover carbon impact. It may be in a number of way such as by planting trees or regenerating areas of peat bog. Of course, this comes at a price and you’ll need to factor this into your overall event cost. But it’s often a cost that many organisations are willing to pay to have a clean carbon conscience.
So there you have it – just some of the things to consider when thinking about running a (truly) sustainable event.
If you need any further support in understanding how to run a green event, then please get in touch. We’d be delighted to help you maintain a sustainable approach.
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