5 hacks to reduce your event’s carbon footprint - even on a budget.
Fact; sustainable business practices have become something of a non-negotiable today. A survey from consulting firm Bain & Company says that at least 60% of Indians are willing to pay a premium for ‘sustainability products’, while 52% in urban India expect to increase spending on planet-friendly brands in the next 3 years.
These shifting opinions apply to the event industry as well. With environmental awareness and concern on the rise, it's imperative that we understand the impact that events can have on the environment and take steps to make them more sustainable.
But where do we start? How do we reduce our event’s carbon footprint - particularly when we’re working with a limited budget?
At Merakie, we believe that as event organizers, the change starts with us. Even if we can’t implement every eco-friendly alternative we’d like, something is always better than nothing.
Here are 5 sustainability hacks that you can implement in your next event.
1. Select Green Venues
Prioritize spaces with plenty of natural light to cut down on electricity, landscaped venues that are friendly to the environment, and venues that adhere to some, if not all of the below best practices;
Use drought-resistant plants and trees that reduce watering to a minimum
Emphasize renewable energy sources
Have intelligent room temperature controllers & motion-controlled light switches
Have water dispensers and recycling stations in every meeting room.
Implement guidelines for reusable towels and linen
Use sustainable products in bulk dispensers and recycled toilet paper
Even if your selected space doesn’t have official sustainability practices, you can follow these simple, easy-to-implement steps, to organize a green event.
Use lights and AC sparingly during load-in
Set the default for equipment to “sleep” mode when it’s not in use
Avoid plastic water bottles by making glasses and water pitchers easily accessible
Place recycling bins directly next to trash cans
2. Lessen the Impact of Transportation
Consider the proximity of your venue to the airport, public transportation, your guest's hotel (if it’s not a residential conference), nearby restaurants, etc. before booking.
Studies show that about 75% of emissions of large-scale events come from attendee travel alone. If we are mindful of how our vendors and attendees will be traveling to & from the event space – we can make a big impact on our events carbon footprint
Some other best practices to be mindful of are;
Incentivize attendees to walk or use public transport
Use vendors that deploy hybrid vehicles and brief their drivers to switch off their engines while waiting for pickups
Try to get vendors in touch with each other & pool their resources to cut down on the number of deliveries to and from the venue
Give attendees the choice to participate virtually in the event
3. Rethink your Food Choices
Support locally sourced and organic foods whenever possible
If you require packaged food, ensure it is in reusable containers
Arrange to donate excess food to a local food bank or other non-profit or use it for composting
To avoid wastage, implement an RSVP in the invitation and give the venue an accurate head count, ask ahead of time about dietary restrictions, and request smaller plates to lower serving sizes
4. Utilize Digital Tools
Minimize paper waste by using digital platforms and tools to communicate with attendees, including sending out digital invitations and providing information about the event through a dedicated event app.
Ticket sales can be done online and eTickets issued to all attendees.
5. Be Smart about Collaterals
Ensure the venue has a policy to reuse event stationary, if not, donate the same to local shelters, schools, orphanages, etc.
Use name badges made of washable and/or recyclable materials.
Use digital signages or eco-friendly alternatives for branding
Choose items like metal water bottles or reusable totes as event swag, rather than pens or notepads that are more likely to be thrown away
By following these best practices, you can deliver memorable events that also support a sustainable future. The events industry has a responsibility to be a positive force for change and make a difference in the world. By prioritizing sustainability in events, you can not only make a positive impact on the environment, but also demonstrate your organization's commitment to social and environmental responsibility to attendees, stakeholders, and the wider public.