How to Organise Sustainable Events: 6 Easy Tips to Change the Game

Eco-friendly has been all the rage for quite a while now, and for good reason. If you can manage to pull off a favour to the environment while you host a fantastic event, then you’ve got all the more reason for your attendees to appreciate you.

Some reasons as to why you should consider holding a sustainable event:

  • Lowering costs
  • Saving resources
  • Raising awareness for certain Topics
  • Improves the public image of a company/ public person
  • May inspire others to do the same
  • Reduces waste

Have we convinced you that this green stuff is for you yet? We’ve also got five easy, practical tips for how you can make your event or conference sustainable and eco-friendly — plus a bonus one!

1. Hire local people and providers

You might not expect that who you hire plays a role in how eco-friendly your event is, but it does! The reason behind hiring local people is that they’ll have to travel a shorter distance to get to the event, thus saving on all the not-so eco-friendly stuff associated with transportation and moving people about (like CO2 emissions).

Of course, if there’s someone incredible you really can’t do without at your event, invite them. For roles where who does the job isn’t quite as important, try to go local. This is one case where keeping things in the community is a good thing!

2. Order organic food

Organic food simply means that the food has been produced whilst avoiding the use of man-made fertilisers or pesticides, feed additives for livestock or growth regulators (in the UK, at least). The idea behind not using these things is to produce food that’s both economically and environmentally sustainable. The Soil Association has some of the tightest organic labelling guidelines around, so if they’ve OK a product, you can almost certainly feel good about serving it.

how to organise sustainable events

There’s still some debate as to whether organic food is better for you, or if it tastes better, but it certainly is more environmentally friendly. If you can serve organic food at your event, you’ll be in good shape to do your bit for the environment.

Even better: try teaming up with a local food provider that works with organic and eco-friendly products to kill two birds with one stone (we’re advocating killing birds — that is definitely not eco-friendly!).

3. Avoid using paper as much as you can

These days, it’s so easy to send people information via e-mail or the cloud that there’s really not much point in printing out massive stacks of paper leaflets. Some things people do like to have on hand (like maybe a schedule of the event), but in general, passing out paper at an event is just a waste of time, money and valuable resources.

How many times have you been to a conference where the floor was littered with flyers by the end of the day? (Or even by midday!).

Stick to online as much as you can, and you’ll have probably saved an entire forest or two by the end of your event. Don’t quote us on that.

4. Use fair-trade products

We’re going to have to go back to definitions for this one so we’re all clear about what we’re talking about. Fair-trade products are another way you can be pro-environment at your event.

In spite of it being one of Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s favourite things to harp on about insufferably, fair-trade is a good thing. The goal of fair trade is to help people in developing countries have better and fairer trading conditions and working rights, as well as to promote sustainability all around.

fairtrade-logo

You’ll know a product is fair trade when is carries the FAIRTRADE logo, which means that it’s had to comply with certain conditions (including worker rights, coming from small-sized organisations and people being paid a living wage). If you have the choice, they can be a great way to be eco-friendly with your purchases for your event.

5. Use LED lights

While Wikipedia has a whole bunch of technical stuff about what exactly a LED is, there’s a much simpler explanation — a way to save you money for your event! They’re much more efficient than traditional lamps and also don’t give off nearly as much heat as a traditional lightbulb. While the startup costs of buying LED bulbs are usually higher, they save you money over time because they’re just so much more efficient and they last about five times as long when compared to a traditional lighting source.

They used to be much, much more expensive than other lighting options, but today LED lightbulbs won’t cost much more than a regular lightbulb. And, on top of that, regular lightbulbs are slowly being phased out because LEDS are such an improvement.

You can get them just about anywhere, including IKEA. If IKEA sells them, you know they’ve got to be cheap! (No word on whether you have to assemble the lightbulb yourself).

6. BONUS TIP: Have specific bins set out for recycling

It’s pretty unlikely that your event will have zero paper and zero rubbish. No matter how hard you try to put everything online, there are just some things that you’ll need to print off on paper, and some sort of rubbish that will show up by the end of the day, whether that’s napkins or cans from soft drinks or used name tags.

sustainable events

Rather than having everything go into one bin, try setting out containers that help your guests recycle. There are companies that provide cardboard bins that are recyclable themselves and give attendees an easy way to make an eco-friendly decision.

Of course, the catch here is that you have to promise to actually take the recycling to be recycled afterwards rather than just binning it all in the same place. Promise you will?

That rounds up our easy tips for how you can make your next event or conference an eco-friendly affair. Being kind to the environment doesn’t have to mean major changes, and it can actually help you to save some money on your event costs. It’s also a great way to establish your brand values and give your brand a reputation for being one that cares (you know, if you’re into that sort of stuff).

Are you looking for more ways you can make your event a hit? Click on over to our infographic that gives you the 50 Commandments (yes, 50!) of all things related to a modern-day conference and other types of events.

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