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  • Tried and tested tactics to host a successful carbon neutral business event in Melbourne

    April 17, 2023

    It’s easy to host a carbon neutral business event in Melbourne. For starters, the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) produces a comprehensive Sustainability Tool Kit to set you on the right path.

    You can also take a leaf out of CODA22’S playbook. This non-profit healthcare association blazed trails in sustainability at their global conference in Melbourne.

    Their impressive initiatives to become a climate-neutral certified event wouldn’t have been possible without access to innovative Melbourne event suppliers to enable their aspirations.

    Follow CODA’s example to reduce your emissions at every turn in the planning process with these tried and tested tactics.

    Partner with a reputable local organisation to support emission offsetting

    Team up with sustainability service companies such as South Pole. One of the carbon offset projects CODA chose to invest in was the Myamyn conservation project, which protects Victoria’s ancient forests.

    CODA 2022 

    Convert printed sponsor banners into mattress fillings

    CODA printed sponsor banners without the CODA logo, so that sponsors could re-use them at other events. If the sponsors didn’t collect their banners post-event, CODA partnered with a supplier to send them back to be used as mattress fillings.

    Ditch the name band and lanyard for a sustainable wristband

    CODA’s wristbands were made from 100 per cent post-consumer recycled polyester content (R.P.E.T.) sourced from recycled plastic bottles. If delegates didn’t want to keep their wristband, they could be handed into Urban Upcycle to bring to their education centres held in schools, kindergartens and early learning centres. Children are given the opportunity to create their own masterpiece using these materials.

    Create an Eco Café

    All furniture used at the CODA22 Eco Café was supplied by MCB partner Harry the hirer, and made from 100 per cent recycled materials that could be used by the event planner in the future. The range is part of Harry the hirer’s post-industrial and post-consumer ‘closed-loop’ furniture products.

    CODA also served coffee in an edible cup at the Eco Cafe. The Good-Edi cup provides a sustainable and eco-friendly choice when opting for a single-use takeaway cup. Each one is made of 100% edible oats and grains and is 100 per cent vegan friendly. Proudly made in Melbourne, the Good-Edi cup is healthy, nutritious and tasty.

    The Good-Edi cup 

    Introduce eco-friendly device recharging stations

    Eco Renewable Energy allows you to top up your phone and laptop batteries without the need for energy-draining power plugs. Instead, you can charge your device yourself – by pedalling away on their WeWatt energy-generating bikes!

    CODA 2022 

    Choose a 100-mile menu

    Feed your delegates with a delicious menu using ingredients sourced locally. The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), where CODA22 was held, offer a special ‘100 Mile Menu’ featuring dishes that have been sourced from local Victorian farms and markets which are all within 100 miles (161kms) of their venue.

    MCEC sustainability 

    Go 100% organic cotton for your event t-shirts

    All CODA22 t-shirts were made from 100 per cent organic cotton. Etiko prides itself on providing environmentally friendly, organic products which are ethically made. Etiko are B Corp certified, meaning that they meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability in Australia.

    Choose local suppliers, venues and accommodation within walking distance

    CODA made an effort to use local suppliers wherever possible to produce any essential event items. This limited the amount of mileage to be covered to bring supplies to the venue and reduced any need for air or sea travel. In addition, all their accommodation, sessions and social functions were purposely chosen to be within walking distance of each other – which is very easy to do with venues and accommodation in Melbourne!


    image: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

    Cut down on collateral

    CODA asked sponsors to avoid using printed and/or physical collateral, and instead utilise their event app to showcase their amazing services and products. They also avoided printing event collateral, such as programs, and said no to the satchel bag. All information delegates needed could be found on their event app.

    Use kinetic photo booths

    For a bit of fun, CODA used a photo booth that captures kinetic energy from dancing, jumping and walking, to charge it up until it's ready to take a photo.

    CODA 2022 

    Choose an event venue with a strong sustainability track record

    The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre was the first convention centre in the world to be awarded the 6-Star Green Star environmental rating by the Green Building Council of Australia. They are just one of many Melbourne venues proudly championing impressive sustainability initiatives.

    Choose an accommodation supplier with a strong sustainability track record

    Consider getting quotes from accommodation venues such as MCB partner Accor, which recently entered into a strategic partnership with Ecotourism Australia to certify all Accor hotels, apartments and resorts across Australia and the Pacific as Sustainable Tourism certified businesses.

    Novotel South Wharf Melbourne 

    Image: Novotel South Wharf Melbourne

    Choose a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) with a strong sustainability track record

    Partner with the likes Arinex Pty Ltd – an event organiser that became carbon-neutral certified in 2022.

    Enjoy a smoothie with Bike n’ Blend

    A pop up events activation by Melbourne's Bike n' Blend that promotes cycling, sustainability, health and happiness using Australian-made blender bikes. Delegates can make their own smoother using pedal power, served up in washable or biodegradable cups.

    CODA 2022 

    Decorate your conference with plants instead of printed signage

    To style your event in a more sustainable way, consider the power of plants to bring the vibes.

    Donate your leftover food.

    Food rescue organisations such as OzHarvest rescue leftover food from many Melbourne hospitality event partners, including the MCEC.


    Use Harry the hirer for your exhibition build or furniture hire

    Harry the Hirer supplies everything from sponsor booths, to carpet, to lighting and furniture and are an industry leader for their sustainability practices. They wrap all their hire furniture in chair bags and stretch wrap made from 100 per cent landfill biodegradable plastic which contains 30-50% post-industrial recycled content. They also use a paper-based alternative to Celair (protective foam packaging), made from recycled Kraft paper that is 100 per cent recyclable and completely biodegradable.

    Get free support and advice from the Melbourne Convention Bureau

    We are here to help. Ask the Melbourne Convention Bureau for assistance in sourcing business event suppliers with strong sustainability initiatives, such as those used by CODA.

    Or download MCB’s free Sustainability Tool Kit to support your event planning in Melbourne.