Event planners can take a number of proactive steps to ensure that their event results in positive social and environmental impacts.
Commitment to the development of sustainable meetings may seem challenging, but there are many simple ways to ‘green your event'. Creating a sustainability policy is something that should be considered early in the planning process, with measurable goals set, monitored, and evaluated regularly.
Below is an outline of issues that event planners can consider when creating a sustainability policy and designing their next event.
- Advise all participants, including delegates and speakers, of the sustainability goals of the event in advance.
- Communicate your commitment to deliver a sustainable meeting to event suppliers.
- Establish a policy that gives preference to suppliers with 3rd party sustainability credentials.
- Provide opportunities for event participants to engage in delivering the sustainability goals of the event.
- Encourage attendees to offset their carbon footprint.
- Prioritise digital over print communication to minimise paper use.
- Provide a digital platform for all relevant information, including document submissions, conference registrations and presentations.
- Keep printing to a minimum but when required, use recycled paper.
Travel and transport
- Calculate and offset carbon emissions for event transport.
- Encourage delegates to use public transport, by offering discounted passes.
- Melbourne is the perfect city to navigate on foot or on a bicycle. Educate participants on the environmentally friendly ways they can move around the city and to and from the event venue.
- Choose venues that are within walking distance of most hotels, or that can be easily accessed by public transport or on a bicycle.
- Consider partnering with airlines that offer carbon offset programs.
- Give preference to event venues that have a 3rd party sustainability certification (e.g. Green Star rating) and an environmental policy.
- Choose venues that are centrally located and easily accessible on foot, bike, or via public transport.
- Consider venues that use renewable energy, and have plenty of natural light.
- Ensure the venue has good water use and waste reduction procedures.
- Discuss with the venue how they can assist you in achieving your sustainability goals.
- Ensure the venue has recycling bins on site for delegates to use.
- Aim to hold the event during the day to reduce power consumption.
- Source suitable alternatives to using tropical or cut flowers in displays and theming, where possible, such as fresh herbs or native plants.
- Reduce waste by keeping track of attendance and tailoring suppliers and food accordingly
- Provide delegates with the tools to separate their waste (e.g. recycling bins), and encourage active recycling.
- Reduce the use of gift bags or satchels, but if required, use recyclable materials or seek merchandise from environmentally and socially sustainable suppliers.
- Use local suppliers and products.
- Minimise the use of plastic bottles - partner with venues that can provide you with alternative solutions (e.g. water fountains).
- Use reusable materials.
Food and beverage
- Provide the option for delegates to pre-select meals to avoid food wastage.
- Use local producers.
- Use local rather than imported food and beverage.
- Use seasonal produce.
- Use tap water.
- Encourage use of organic and eco labelled products.
- Ensure any food waste is composted.
- Avoid unnecessary packaging and plastic bags.
- Choose hotels that are environmentally certified, and implement a dedicated sustainability strategy.
- Recommend hotels that are within walking distance of the conference venue.
- Utilise hotels with proactive waste, water, and energy management practices.
- Provide opportunities for delegates to contribute to local charities.
- Organise activities for delegates to actively engage with local community groups that have a focus on social goals such as health and education.
- Offer off-site nature-based activities that may contain a conservation component (e.g. tree planting).
For more information, visit:
Green Business Events - Tourism Australia