The Ultimate Guide to Hosting Sustainable Events

by Akshayaa Rani M, 13 November 2023
by Akshayaa Rani M,  13 November 2023
The Ultimate Guide to Hosting Sustainable Events

In today's rapidly evolving world, sustainability stands as a defining element in event planning. Hosting sustainable events not only showcases a commitment to environmental conservation but also reaps positive benefits for your brand and community.

This comprehensive guide provides in-depth, actionable advice on how to effectively organise an eco-friendly event, enriched with statistics, illustrative examples, and enlightening case studies.

1. Pre-Event Planning

Setting Sustainability Objectives:Begin by clearly defining sustainability objectives for your event. It's worth noting that, according to a 2021 survey by Eventbrite, a staggering 78% of event planners prioritise sustainability when establishing their event goals.

Selecting Eco-Conscious Event Locations: The venue you select plays a pivotal role in your event's environmental impact. For instance, the ExCeL Centre in London transitioned to 100% renewable energy sources, significantly reducing its carbon emissions (ExCeL London, 2021).

Choosing Sustainable Vendors and Suppliers: Collaboration with vendors and suppliers committed to sustainability is paramount. You can find such partners through the Sustainable Events Alliance, a platform that connects event organisers with eco-conscious vendors.

Realistic Budgeting for Sustainable Events: The initial investment in sustainability might seem daunting, but it often leads to substantial cost savings in the long term. Prioritise energy-efficient technology and materials, as these investments yield substantial dividends.

Bonus Advice: Tip for Avoiding Common Event Planning Mistakes

2. Sustainable Event Design and Setup

Embracing Eco-Friendly Event Themes and Concepts:Embed sustainability into your event's theme and concept. Take inspiration from events like the Glastonbury Festival, which introduced a dedicated "Green Fields" area where sustainability is at the forefront (Glastonbury Festival, 2021).

Utilising Sustainable Decor and Materials: Your choice of materials and decor significantly impacts your event's ecological footprint. Opt for sustainable packaging and materials, such as reusable banners and furniture, to reduce waste and resource consumption.

Opting for Energy-Efficient Lighting and Technology:Consider the long-term environmental benefits of LED lighting and energy-efficient technology. The London 2012 Olympics, for example, considerably reduced energy consumption by implementing efficient LED fixtures (Lighting Research Center, 2012).

Implementing Waste Reduction and Recycling Measures:Set up dedicated waste stations to facilitate recycling and composting. The Latitude Festival in Suffolk reached an impressive 50% recycling rate in 2020, setting an example in waste reduction (Latitude Festival, 2020).

Bonus Advice:You can learn even more about The Psychology of Event Design in this ultimate guide.

3. Sustainable Catering and Food Options

Sourcing Locally and Organically: Support local and organic food sources. The Soil Association's research indicates that the organic food and drink market in the UK grew by a notable 12.6% in 2020, demonstrating a robust market for eco-friendly options (Soil Association, 2021).

Minimising Food Waste and Packaging:Strategically reduce food waste and opt for minimal packaging to lessen the event's ecological impact. For instance, the Eden Project in Cornwall diverted a commendable 85% of its food waste from landfills in 2020 (Eden Project, 2020).

Providing Vegan and Vegetarian Menu Options: Cater to diverse dietary preferences by including vegan and vegetarian menu options. The Vegan Society reports that the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019 (The Vegan Society, 2019).

Offering Sustainable Beverage Choices: Enhance your event's eco-credentials by serving sustainably sourced and packaged beverages. The UK has seen a growing trend in sustainable wine production (The Drinks Business, 2021).

4. Transportation and Accessibility

Encouraging the Use of Public Transportation and Carpooling: Actively encourage attendees to use public transport and carpooling to reduce carbon emissions. An Eventbrite study reveals that 76% of event attendees are willing to use public transport for eco-friendly events (Eventbrite, 2021).

Creating Bike and Pedestrian-Friendly Event Layouts:Design your event layout to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. An inspiring example is Bristol's Upfest, which utilises "bike trains" to encourage cycling to the festival (Upfest, 2021).

Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Support electric vehicle users by installing electric vehicle charging stations. The Goodwood Festival of Speed introduced EV charging points for attendees in 2021, paving the way for sustainable transportation options (Goodwood, 2021).

Offsetting Carbon Emissions Through Dedicated Initiatives:Consider carbon offset programmes to mitigate your event's environmental impact. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, for instance, offsets its emissions by planting trees in Scotland, contributing to reforestation efforts (Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2021).

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5. Communication and Marketing

Promoting the Event's Sustainability Agenda:Clearly communicate your event's sustainability initiatives through all available channels. Harness the power of social media, email newsletters, and event websites to raise awareness about your commitment to sustainability.

Leveraging Digital Marketing and Online Registration: Reach a wider audience through effective digital marketing and streamline your registration process by transitioning to an online platform, reducing the use of paper.

Building a Sustainable Event Brand and Promotion Strategy: Establish a compelling, sustainable event brand. The Green Events and Innovations Conference in London is known for its unwavering commitment to sustainability, demonstrating the power of a well-crafted brand (Green Events and Innovations, 2021).

Providing Educational Materials for Attendees: Empower your attendees with information on sustainable practices. Develop educational materials that highlight recycling guidelines, transportation options, and energy conservation tips.

Bonus Advice:Learn more about Event Marketing Strategies to increase your attendance.

6. Waste Management and Recycling

Deploying Effective Waste Diversion Strategies:Waste diversion strategies should be central to your event planning. Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival achieved a remarkable 71% recycling rate in 2021, showing that ambitious waste reduction goals are achievable (Celtic Connections, 2021).

Setting Up Recycling and Composting Programmes:Create structured recycling and composting programmes to ensure the responsible disposal of waste generated during your event. The Brighton Fringe Festival successfully composted 75% of its waste in 2021, setting a compelling example for other events (Brighton Fringe, 2021).

Training Event Staff in Waste Reduction Techniques: Well-trained event staff play a crucial role in the successful implementation of waste reduction initiatives. Ensure your staff are well-versed in waste management practices.

Bonus Advice:Discover even more Tips for Making a Zero Waste Event here.

7. Post-Event Evaluation

Measuring the Event's Environmental Impact:Undertake a comprehensive assessment of your event's environmental impact. Metrics such as carbon emissions, waste diversion rates, and energy consumption should be meticulously measured. The Manchester International Festival consistently measures its carbon footprint and takes active steps to reduce it, showcasing a commitment to accountability (Manchester International Festival, 2021).

Gathering Feedback from Attendees: It is essential to collect feedback from attendees to gauge their satisfaction and obtain insights for improvement. Attendees' feedback often provides valuable insights that can shape future events.

Documenting Lessons Learned and Areas for Improvement: Reflect on the successes and challenges encountered during the event. Document lessons learned and identify areas for improvement that can inform future sustainability efforts.

Reporting on Sustainability Achievements: Transparency is key. Share the results of your sustainability efforts with attendees, stakeholders, and the wider community. Accountability and openness will further strengthen your brand's commitment to sustainability.

Wrapping up

Summing up the Advantages of Hosting Sustainable Events: Reiterate the benefits of hosting sustainable events, from the reduction of carbon footprints to the enhancement of brand reputation and customer loyalty.

Encouraging Event Planners to Adopt Sustainability: Conclude by encouraging event planners to make sustainability a fundamental aspect of their event planning. Stress the pivotal role that sustainable practices play in contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.

And finally, always remember, you can book your entire event in one place, with Eventflare!

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